I talk a lot about my Disney Bucket List – it’s a pretty big list and I recently crossed another item of my list – to meet a Disney animator.
On my recent trip to California, I had the opportunity to meet former Disney animators (and twin brothers) Tom and Tony Bancroft. Tony served as the co-director of Mulan and Tom was the supervising animator of Mushu – Mulan’s dragon sidekick.
It was fascinating to hear how they both started their careers at the California Institute of the Arts and made their way to Florida for a Walt Disney Feature Animation internship in 1988 – during the making of The Little Mermaid. It’s cool enough to have that experience, but to share it with your twin brother?! That’s just amazing!
Tom and Tony explained the process of creating Mushu, involving an enormous amount of time studying ancient Chinese dragons. From their outward appearance, all the way to the coloring of the character – every single detail was studied in creating Mushu. I thought it was interesting that once it was decided that Eddie Murphy would be the voice of Mushu, the character himself slowly molded into place.
The Bancroft brothers surprised all of us when they presented each of us with our very own sketch of Mushu and Mulan’s lucky cricket Cri-Kee. I’ve got mine proudly displayed at my desk – with Mushu peering over from behind my computer. It’s a fantastic memento that I’ll treasure forever.
There’s nothing better than learning about the steps it takes to make a movie than from Disney animators themselves.
Mulan, a story of great power, family and honor is one my family’s favorite Disney films. This fantastic movie is available today – order the Mulan and Mulan II Combo Pack now!
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**** Walt Disney Pictures invited me on this all-expenses paid trip as their guest . Thoughts and opinions here are 100% my own and not influenced by others. This post contains affiliate links.**