Hollywood star Angelina Jolie says The One and Only Ivan, the upcoming Disney live action film deals with “heavy issues” in a charming way. Jolie is on board as a producer and voices the ageing elephant Stella in the Thea Sharrock directorial.
It is an adaptation of the Newbery Medal-winning book written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Patricia Castelao.
The film centers on a silverback gorilla named Ivan (voiced by Sam Rockwell) who lives in a cage in a shopping mall along with an elephant named Stella (Jolie) and a stray dog called Bob (Danny DeVito).
Jolie revealed it was one of her children who brought the “special” book to her attention, reported Digital Spy.
That was when she started to look into whether it was being made as a movie.
The actor also praised writer Mike White for developing the movie, which focuses on treatment meted out to animals by humans.
“Disney, Mike and everybody involved really (understood) it has its heart. It’s not a light film, it deals with heavy issues, but it is charming, fun and full of life. But it’s deceptive in the packaging,” she said.
Jolie, 45, said she wanted to be involved with the project as she liked the “messages” in the film.
“I know this young generation is really very aware of what is happening in the world to our natural habitats, to these animals.
“They’re angry and they want to really be clear about what kind of treatment is appropriate. This represents them. Ariana (Greenblatt)’s character represents them and that’s strong for them to see today that their actions can make change,” she said.
Greenblatt plays Julia, daughter of George (Ramon Rodriguez) who is a janitor at the Big Top Mall, owned by Bryan Cranston’s Mack.
Helen Mirren, Brooklynn Prince, Chaka Khan, Ron Funches, Phillipa Soo and Mike White also round the voice cast.
The One and Only Ivan will start streaming on Disney+ from Friday.