Jon Favreau encouraged The Lion King team to make visuals ‘uglier’   

Jon Favreau looked to David Attenborough nature documentaries for inspiration.   

Jon Favreau encouraged The Lion King team to make the visual effects “uglier” so they would seem more realistic.

Following on from the success of his 2016 remake of The Jungle Book, the Iron Man actor and director was picked to helm the photorealistic reboot of the 1994 Disney classic.    

Favreau was determined to make the scenes look as realistic as possible, like they were shot by a camera in the traditional way rather than made in a studio, and so he made sure none of the scenes being created looked too perfect.    

“You evaluate shots differently from the days before CGI (computer generated imagery),” he told Britain’s Daily Telegraph. “Nowadays, the minute you reach the VFX (visual effects) machine, you instinctually think, ‘Let’s put a perfect sky behind that perfectly lit close-up.’ But though everyone might gasp at the result in the edit, it doesn’t look like something you’d ever be able to shoot.”    

Accordingly, he urged the team to “make it uglier… have the fast-moving characters go a little out of focus, cast awkward shadows, muddy the clouds up a bit.”   

The 52-year-old looked to nature documentaries made by British broadcaster David Attenborough for inspiration about how the animals should behave onscreen.    

“There’s a common acceptance that this is how nature looks,” Favreau explained. “So, we’re trying to import that sense of realism by borrowing their techniques.”   

While the audiences will be watching the antics of Simba and Nala, voiced by Donald Glover and Beyonce, Favreau insisted the background details are just as important as the characters when it comes to maintaining the film’s realism.    

“You’d be amazed by how much the boring things matter,” he continued. “The way different-sized rocks are scattered in canyons, the paths carved by water, the light on fur. When you get all these things right at once, it’s like seeing a really good magic trick. Your brain can’t process what’s actually going on, so emotion takes over.”   

The Lion King hits cinemas from 12 July.  

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