EXCLUSIVE: Director Don Hall Reveals Word That Defines ‘Strange World’ Design

Strange World, the upcoming 61st film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, looks like it will deliver on its pulpy title. Trailers for the film, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead role, have promised a grand adventure through an unknown landscape, with plenty of gorgeous visuals to aid in the excitement. Of course, designing a brand-new world is not easy work, and the visual development team likely went through several iterations before landing on the final product. During an exclusive interview with Murphy’s Multiverse, co-director Don Hall was asked how the creatives decided upon their look for the “Strange World” presented in the film, and his response was far funnier than anticipated:

It’s a very broad aesthetic, which is just organic and round. There’s just not a lot of hard edges or straight lines. Everything’s very organic and kind of goopy. One term that kept coming up, and it became a term for all of the vis dev, but it started with the Venture. When the Venture was being designed, it was like you took an air ship and just went [mimics squishing]. It kind of made it ‘chonky’, and so that became our word for everything in the strange world. ‘Just make it chonkier’. ‘Can you up the chonky?’. “A little bit more chonky’. It’s like everybody knew what you were talking about.

Don Hall

“Chonky” might not be a word in the English dictionary, but it’s certainly one everybody understands. Adorably plump cats come to mind, as well as large babies and, apparently, fictional airships flown by an animated Gabrielle Union. Hopefully, the film’s “chonky” aesthetic lands with audiences when Strange World hits theaters on November 23rd.

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