Why Shakira Was Immediately On Board To Join Zootopia

If there’s one thing that Disney does as well as animation, it’s music. While Zootopia, the newest feature from Disney Animation, is not a traditional musical, they still had a need for a top pop star to lend their voice to the film, and they went to Shakira to play the part of Zootopia’s number one musical talent, Gazelle. The "Hips Don’t Lie" singer did not hesitate to agree to join the cast, as the film’s story spoke to her on a personal level.

CinemaBlend was lucky enough to attend an early screening of Zootopia, which featured a Q-and-A session with co-directors Rich Moore and Byron Howard. They told us that when they met with Shakira to discuss a role in Zootopia she immediately loved the idea. She was very interested and hoped that Moore and Howard kept her in mind for the part. At this point, the directors had to inform her that she was the only person on their list for Gazelle. They didn’t want anybody else. Once Shakira understood the situation, the deal was made. According to Rich Moore, the reason that Shakira wanted to be part of Zootopia so much was because she related very closely with the film’s protagonist, Judy Hopps.

The one thing that really got her was, we explained the story to her, she said ‘You know what, when I was a little girl, growing in Colombia, where she’s from, I wanted to be a cop, just like Judy, because I didn’t like bullies, and I didn’t like bad people doing bad things to good people. So, this story really speaks to my heart, I’m in.'

In Zootopia, Judy Hopps is a bunny who wants to be a police officer, a position normally held by larger, fearsome animals. She also has a couple of run-ins with bully characters and tries to protect her friends from them. It’s easy to see how Shakira felt a kinship with the character if she felt the same way growing up. While Judy Hopps is voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin, Shakira gets to play a role much closer to the person she actually grew up to be, a pop singer, who happens to be a personal favorite of Officer Hopps. In addition to voicing the character, Shakira also recorded the film’s main song, "Try Everything."

Zootopia is one of the best movies that we’ve seen so far this year. Check out our full review for more details, and go see it when it hits theaters on Friday.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.