A Disney/Pixar film inspired by the life of Marius the giraffe, which Copenhagen Zoo killed on February 9 in accordance with its policy on in-breeding, could hit cinema screens as early as the autumn of 2016, reports Hollywood This Week.
Pixar’s screenwriting team were particularly taken by the extraordinary coincidence that saw a second giraffe named Marius face death in similar circumstances less than one week later at another Danish zoo.
“Reading the reports of the death, it struck us that the spirit of Marius was in some way looking out for his fellow giraffe in Zeeland [sic],” an un-named source told the movie website.
“It might sound peculiar to make a film in which the protagonist dies in the opening minutes, but tragedy is present at the start of most classic Disney films: Bambi’s mother, Dumbo’s mother, the attempted murder of Snow White.”
Film-goers from Denmark can expect to recognise many familiar aspects in the movie. It will be set in Copenhagen and Jutland, and there is even a rumour that Hans Christian Andersen and the Little Mermaid might make appearances. But there will be little factual content.
“Of course, we intend to fictionalise Marius’s death,” the source told Hollywood This Week.
“Often Disney can be dark, but we’re not sure it’s a place to deal with issues like a Dutch [sic] euthanisation of an animal.”
Looking back at the history of Disney reveals that this will not be the first time that a real-life event or person has inspired the creatives.
‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ used actors to inspire the appearance of Snow White (Marge Champion) and the Evil Queen (Eleanor Audley). And Bambi was based on a fawn that Walt Disney himself met at Berlin Zoo. So it would appear that it won’t be the first time that a European zoo has inspired a Disney film.