Disney’s “The One and Only Ivan” is getting a Free the Animals Award from PETA. The animal-rights group is once again awarding Disney’s use of animal-friendly computer-generated imagery (CGI) to tell the story of Ivan and Ruby, a gorilla and an elephant held captive at a shopping mall. “The One and Only Ivan” is slated to premiere on Disney+ this Friday.
“This is a story about liberation—you can’t tell that story by exploiting real animals,” The One and Only Ivan screenwriter and longtime PETA pal Mike White exclusively tells PETA. “CGI is the only humane way to depict animals, and one look at Ivan’s face proves that we didn’t lose an ounce of realism.”
You can find Katherine Applegate’s bestselling book, which won the Newbery Medal and is the source material for the story, right here on Amazon.
“Countless wild animals just like Ivan and Ruby are trapped behind bars in Hollywood training compounds, in circuses, and at roadside zoos across the country,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA thanks Disney for shining a spotlight on their suffering and showing filmmakers how to tell important stories about animals without exploiting them.”
In the announcement, PETA added, “Wild animals used by the entertainment industry are separated from their mothers shortly after birth and denied everything that’s natural and important to them. PETA investigations and law enforcement probes into animal suppliers for the film and TV industries have revealed deplorable conditions, whippings, and deaths. And at roadside zoos and other facilities like the shopping mall in The One and Only Ivan, animals are put on display in cramped, barren enclosures; denied adequate veterinary care; and forced to perform tricks or endure excessive handling for photo ops. Many show signs of extreme psychological distress, such as endlessly pacing or swaying back and forth.”
“The One and Only Ivan” is directed by Thea Sharrock, working from a screenplay by Mike White. The movie was produced by the late Allison Shearmur, Angelina Jolie, and Brigham Taylor. Sue Baden-Powell and Thea Sharrock served as executive producers on the project.
The description reads, “Disney’s The One and Only Ivan is an unforgettable tale about the beauty of friendship, the power of visualization and the significance of the place one calls home. Ivan is a 400-pound silverback gorilla who shares a communal habitat in a suburban shopping mall with Stella the elephant, Bob the dog, and various other animals. He has few memories of the jungle where he was captured, but when a baby elephant named Ruby arrives, it touches something deep within him. Ruby is recently separated from her family in the wild, which causes him to question his life, where he comes from and where he ultimately wants to be.”
The film features Sam Rockwell as the voice of Ivan; Angelina Jolie as the voice of Stella; Danny DeVito as the voice of Bob the dog; Helen Mirren as the voice of Snickers the poodle; Brooklynn Prince as the voice of Ruby; Ramon Rodriquez as the mall employee George; Ariana Greenblatt as George’s daughter Julia; and Chaka Khan as the voice of Henrietta the chicken.
The voice cast also includes Mike White as the voice of Frankie the seal; Ron Funches as the voice of Murphy the rabbit; Phillipa Soo as the voice of Thelma the parrot; and Bryan Cranston as Mack, the mall’s owner.
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