EXCLUSIVE: Director Don Hall on Casting ‘Strange World’

Strange World, the next entry in Disney’s long history of animated projects, features an absolutely stellar voice cast. Brokeback Mountain star Jake Gyllenhaal headlines a group of performers that also includes Twitter icon Jaboukie Young-White, former Jaws 3-D actor Dennis Quaid, one-time Love & Basketball breakout Gabrielle Union, and Charlie’s Angels standout Lucy Liu. With such an insanely talented cast, one would likely not be alone in asking the simple question – “how did they pull that off?“.

During a recent interview, Murphy’s Multiverse got the chance to question co-director Don Hall on just that. The veteran filmmaker, known for previous works Big Hero 6 and Winnie the Pooh, began his answer by crediting casting director Amy Roberts, revealing she had these specific casting choices in mind from the very beginning of the creative process:

We had an amazing casting director named Amy Roberts who, after reading – I think – the first draft of the script…it could have just been the treatment, probably, kind of suggested these actors and we were blown away. Y’know, of course. We’re fans of all their work, we love all of their films and everything.

Don Hall

Hall continued to explain how the team locked Gyllenhaal and company in, allowing them a real chance to impact their characters and the film’s final product:

We just fell in love with that idea, pursued that idea, met with them, tried to give them an insight of what we were trying to do, and then open up a real collaboration. So that it wasn’t just, they’re coming in and reading some lines and leaving. It was about investing in the character and letting them shape their character as well.

Don Hall

Strange World hits theaters on November 23rd, and is set to follow the Clade family of adventurers as they traverse an unknown landscape in search of something that may save their home. Hall and co-director Qui Nguyen have promised character relationships are central to the story, so it sounds like the cast will have plenty of room to flex their creative muscle along the way.

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