Pocahontas: 5 things to know about the Disney animated film

As the film Pocahontas, an Indian legend turns 25 this year, let’s take a look at 5 things to know about the Disney cartoon.

  • The animated film Pocahontas is available on Disney +

Naomi Campbell as inspiration

Like Aladdin, whose animated traits were inspired by Tom Cruise, Pocahontas is also based on a famous personality. The creators of the heroine Disney were inspired by the famous British model Naomi Campbell to draw the Indian princess. The hosts also used another ’90s super model to polish Pocahontas’ features: American supermodel Christy Turlington.

Mel Gibson pushes the song

Pocahontas is the first appearance in an animated film for Mel Gibson. The actor lends his voice to the hero John Smith in the original version but that’s not all since it is also he who pushes the song during the sung sequences of his character. His partner Irene Bedard, who plays Pocahontas, has given way to Judy Kuhn for the vocals scenes. Nevertheless, Mel Gibson was supported by Jess Harnell for a few sequences where the actor had pronunciation issues with some lyrics during one of the songs in the film.

The Walt Disney Pictures

Grandmother Feuillage must have been a grandfather originally

In the first draft of the screenplay, the character of Grand-Mère Feuillage was written as a male character supposed to represent the spirit of the river. He was called Grand-Père Rivière and the song “Au detour de la rivière” was written and composed for him. It is the actor Gregory Peck who was to play it but he refused even if he would have liked to interpret it. He felt that Pocahontas needed a mother figure to turn to for advice and therefore this character should be female. After discussion, the producers and designers of the film came to an agreement with Gregory Peck and the character of Grand-Père Rivière became Grand-Mère Feuillage.

Pocahontas vs. The Lion King

After the nomination of Beauty and the Beast for the Oscar for best picture, Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former president of Walt Disney Pictures, had high hopes for Pocahontas, which he considered more prestigious than The Lion King or even Aladdin. , in production at the same time. Much of the talent at the animation studio preferred to work on Pocahontas rather than The Lion King. But Pocahontas was less successful at the box office than The Lion King because the film dealt with more adult and serious subjects and won over younger audiences less. That didn’t stop Pocahontas from making a nice box office score, receiving great reviews, and winning a few awards. Contrary to Disney’s expectations, Pocahontas was not nominated for an Oscar for best picture.

The Walt Disney Pictures

Between realism and fiction

Although inspired by the legend of Pocahontas, significant changes have been made to the history of Indian heroine. The real Pocahontas was 12 when she met John Smith, who was in his thirties. She died of tuberculosis in 1617, after having been the darling of the British court. Released in the United States on June 23, 1995, the 400th anniversary of the birth of Pocahontas, the Disney film is considered one of the most difficult films produced by the studio but also the most realistic thanks to its complex color combinations. , its facial expressions and realistic fluid movements thanks to rotoscoping. In addition, the studios called on native American actors to play the Indians in the film and spoke with a real shaman to learn about the customs and traditions of the Powhatan culture. Despite these efforts, Pocahontas was deemed offensive by some members of the Native American community.

Did you notice? The little hidden details of Pocahontas:

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