Magical creatures, colorful locations, and one epic adventure awaits in Disney's Strange World. Harkening back to classic adventure tales, this world feels both new and familiar. There is a good reason for that too according to the directors who wanted to pay homage to the genre while letting the artists' imaginations run wild.
Strange World Directors On What Inspired The Look Of The Film
Strange World follows Searcher Clade (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White) as they attempt to navigate an uncharted world they suddenly find themselves in. Searcher, a farmer and the son of the legendary explorer Jaeger (Dennis Quaid), may be more than a little out of his depth but he must shoulder on to save his family. Alongside a motley crew that includes a mischievous blob named Splat and Legend, a three-legged dog, they face ravenous creatures and chaotic terrain on a quest to discover what is happening to their world and this strange new one.
As fantastical as the film feels it also seems familiar. Director Don Hall, co-director and writer Qui Nguyen revealed why and what inspired them when it came to creating the gorgeous, out-of-this-world place that the story takes place in.
For Don it was about going back and revisiting some of his favorite novels and films. “I re-read a lot of Jules Verne and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a lot of those early adventure novels. We watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, one of my favorite movies of all time. King Kong, is a really good example of this particular genre where a group of explorers find a hidden world with creatures and monsters. It was a joyous bit of research going back into that.”
While adventure is the name of the game, Qui was drawn into the family aspect of the film and drew on other adventure flicks where the focus wasn't just on the quests. “For me it was more of the family stuff that attracted me [like] National Lampoon's Vacation, Little Miss Sunshine. The adventure is great but at the heart of it you fall in love with this family and these characters, and their relationships with one another. To have something that was so anchored in humor and humanity was something that was really important to give a little bit more depth to the monster and things like that which were already amazing.”
As far as the environment and the creature designs, they mostly left it up to the artist. “I left the ‘Strange World' part wide open. I liked the idea of going to our artists and letting their imaginations run wild and not really send them down any path,” Don shared. “They based everything on research but their research was here's some weird stuff I found and I made some drawings that reflect that.”
Strange World is in theaters November 23, 2022.