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Pumping out hit after hit – ranging from Wreck-It Ralph to Frozen – Walt Disney Animation seems primed to continue their success with the upcoming Zootopia. Already boasting a star-studded cast – including Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman – Disney has just announced a new, exotic addition to the anthropomorphic ensemble.
Attendees of the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California were treated to a video announcement from Grammy winner – and all-around international music goddess – Shakira announcing that she would not only lend her voice to the cast, but her vocal talents to Zootopia’s soundtrack. Shakira’s Zootopia character seems incredibly fitting; she will portray a gazelle named…. Gazelle: a larger than life pop star and icon adored by the anthropomorphic animals of Zootopia. Known for her hit pop songs such as "Whenever, Wherever," and "She Wolf" -- as well as generally having hips that do not lie, Shakira has made appearances on television before -- but Zootopia marks Shakira's first foray into the realm of animated features.
Zootopia’s story revolves around a law-abiding rabbit named Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) as she butts heads with a sly fox/ con artist named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) in the city of Zootopia – a city inhabited exclusively by animals, but you probably guessed that already.
Excitedly tweeting about her involvement in the project, Shakira revealed a picture of Gazelle to the world that looks remarkably similar to the real-life pop star. This feels very much within Shakira’s wheelhouse; no stranger to playing herself, she has appeared in television shows such as Ugly Betty and Wizards of Waverly Place.
Although not unveiled in its entirety, Shakira’s addition to the soundtrack: "Try Everything" – written by pop star Sia and songwriting duo Stargate – was sampled to the D23 audience. Given the track record of recent Disney animated films for stellar original music such as Fall Out Boy’s "Immortals" in Big Hero 6 and Idina Menzel’s "Let it Go" from Frozen, we have reason enough to set our expectations high for Shakira’s performance. Given the contradictory nature of the film’s headlining characters – Hopps and Wilde – Shakira’s Gazelle could act as a binding presence, using "Try Everything" as a means of seeing past differences, and quite literally trying everything before one judges others.
Zootopia will open March 4, 2016 and will be co-directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore who helmed the hits Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph, respectively.