Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
2015 Tribeca Film Festival Line-Up Announced: James Franco’s ‘Adderall Diaries,’ Olivia Wilde In ‘Meadowland’ & More 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Line-Up Announced: James Franco’s ‘Adderall Diaries,’ Olivia Wilde In ‘Meadowland’ & More First Look: Joseph Gordon-Levitt As Edward Snowden In Oliver Stone's 'Snowden' First Look: Joseph Gordon-Levitt As Edward Snowden In Oliver Stone's 'Snowden' Drew Goddard To Write And Direct Sony & Marvel's 'The Spectacular Spider-Man'; 'Sinister Six' Scrapped Drew Goddard To Write And Direct Sony & Marvel's 'The Spectacular Spider-Man'; 'Sinister Six' Scrapped Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2016 Best Picture Contenders Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2016 Best Picture Contenders Watch: Original Short Film Version Of 'Whiplash' Starring Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons Watch: Original Short Film Version Of 'Whiplash' Starring Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons Watch: Nifty Video Examines David Fincher’s Subtle Repetition Of Framing And Blocking In 'Gone Girl' Watch: Nifty Video Examines David Fincher’s Subtle Repetition Of Framing And Blocking In 'Gone Girl' Sigourney Weaver Says She'll Be Playing A New Character In The 'Avatar' Sequels Sigourney Weaver Says She'll Be Playing A New Character In The 'Avatar' Sequels Margot Robbie Says 'Suicide Squad' Is More 'The Dark Knight' Than 'Avengers'; David Ayer Says Joker Is "Majestic" Margot Robbie Says 'Suicide Squad' Is More 'The Dark Knight' Than 'Avengers'; David Ayer Says Joker Is "Majestic" Kristen Stewart Joins Kelly Reichardt’s Untitled Montana Drama With Michelle Williams & More Kristen Stewart Joins Kelly Reichardt’s Untitled Montana Drama With Michelle Williams & More Watch: Paul Thomas Anderson's Sophomore Short 'Cigarettes & Coffee' Watch: Paul Thomas Anderson's Sophomore Short 'Cigarettes & Coffee' Another Oscar? First Look At Eddie Redmayne In Tom Hooper's 'The Danish Girl' Another Oscar? First Look At Eddie Redmayne In Tom Hooper's 'The Danish Girl' 'Prisoners' & 'Enemy' Director Denis Villeneuve To Helm 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Harrison Ford Confirmed To Return 'Prisoners' & 'Enemy' Director Denis Villeneuve To Helm 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Harrison Ford Confirmed To Return The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far "I F*cked It Up": Neill Blomkamp Says He Wants To Go Back To 'Elysium' And "Do It Correctly" "I F*cked It Up": Neill Blomkamp Says He Wants To Go Back To 'Elysium' And "Do It Correctly" New Looks At Daniel Craig, Dave Bautista, And Lea Seydoux In 'Spectre' New Looks At Daniel Craig, Dave Bautista, And Lea Seydoux In 'Spectre' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

Watch: Unreleased Documentary 'The Sweatbox' About The Troubled Production Of Disney's 'The Emperor's New Groove'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist March 23, 2012 at 10:21AM

Though they end up on screen as cheery, bright eyed films for the whole family to enjoy, the truth is that behind the scenes, bringing an animated film to life is an arduous, exhausting journey. Freed from the constraints and demands of live action filmmaking in which you have a set script and a short window of time to make it happen, animation studios will routinely spend months and years developing, tweaking, editing and refining a project before voicework and production begins. But few films faced when Disney went through on 2000's "The Emperor's New Groove."
8
The Emperor's New Groove

Though they end up on screen as cheery, bright eyed films for the whole family to enjoy, the truth is that behind the scenes, bringing an animated film to life is an arduous, exhausting journey. Freed from the constraints and demands of live action filmmaking in which you have a set script and a short window of time to make it happen, animation studios will routinely spend months and years developing, tweaking, editing and refining a project before voicework and production begins. But few films faced when Disney went through on 2000's "The Emperor's New Groove."

You can find a more detailed version of what happened with a quick Google search, but we'll give you the condensed version. Originally planned to be a musical entitled "The Kingdom Of The Sun," the film had Roger Allers ("The Lion King") directing with Sting contributing six songs, in what was an Incan retelling of Mark Twain's "The Prince & The Pauper." However, the film wound up falling behind schedule, and worried about early poor test scores, and fearing the story wasn't original enough, Mark Dindal ("Cats Don't Dance") was brought in to try and liven up the story. With a release date looming, the pressure increased on Allers and when he asked for an extension of six months to year, he was denied, and he quit the picture.

Disney then put the project on hold, temporarily assigned the animations to work on the "Rhapsody In Blue" sequence for "Fantasia 2000," and Dindal along with producer Randy Fullmer and writers Chris Williams and David Reynolds, completely reworked the project and story into the movie you know today. Because Sting had written specific songs for the first version, they all had to be dropped, with only one left that usable (all the songs are available on the soundtrack).

Needless to say it was a dramatic tale, with lots of tension and headbutting between the creative teams and the studio. However, Sting's wife Trudie Styler -- a movie producer and filmmaker -- was there to capture it all from beginning to end, and the result is "The Sweatbox." The feature length documentary has been kept out of site by Disney for years, with no release on home video, though it did screen at TIFF in 2002. And we doubt it will be released any time soon (if ever). However, someone has upload the whole thing to YouTube and it's a pretty fascinating look at what really goes on behind closed doors. Watch it below before it gets yanked. 

This article is related to: Walt Disney Pictures


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates