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Jason Bateman on why ‘Zootopia’ is a Good Parenting Tool to Broach Important Issues with Children

Jason Bateman in Zootopia

In anticipation of the upcoming film “Zootopia,” we sat down with Jason Bateman to talk about his role in the film as the “sly fox” Nick Wilde. It is the first animated feature film that Bateman has done. While he has dabbled in some cartoon work, this was a new adventure for the actor to undertake. “It’s an interesting process because as an actor you say your lines, and then you’ve got your face and body language to contribute to the whole thing. With this, you just have your voice to use, and then you hope that the animators are going to make the character do something that supports what you’ve done,” said Bateman.

Jason Bateman as Nick Wilde in Zootopia

Bateman isn’t just a talented actor, but also a fantastic father of two little girls ages nine and four. “Knowing that they are going to see ‘Zootopia’ gives me pride,” said Bateman. Just like many parents who are worried about whether the next animated film they are taking their child to see is going to be good, Bateman feels the same way, and said, “When a kid movie comes out, you have to take the kids and just hope that it’s good. If it’s not good, you are still buying a ticket to it. You still have to sit there. You just might catch a little nap, but with this one, there won’t be any napping because there’s this company that is so good at braiding some stuff in there for us. Whether it be thematic or just with the jokes, there’s always kind of that parallel line of satisfaction for adults.”

Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps in Zootopia

The film isn’t just about entertaining children and adults but also addresses many important issues of today in a beautiful way. “It’s a nice tool for me as a dad to talk about like in this film racism or xenophobia or fear mongering or bullying. I don’t know if my nine-year-old really picks up on some of the nuance and sophistication of these heady, highbrow issues in here yet, but I’ll bet you some of it kind of permeates. When the coin finally does drop maybe when she’s another year older or something when we’re watching it for the 20th time at home, as we all buy it again when it comes out,” said Bateman.

shakira in zootopia

Bateman has shared the film with his nine-year-old, and the screenings he attended were too late for his younger daughter to attend. What did his daughter think of “Zootopia?” “I didn’t really get a lot of specific like ‘Oh dad you were great when you did this.’ She was kind of focused on Shakira, and, of course, Judy Hopps, who is really the star of the movie,” said Bateman.

The parents in Zootopia

The characters in the film are very relatable, especially the parents who have a hard time letting their little girl leave home, and Bateman said with intensity, “Oh, can I relate to those parents!” He continued to say, “If you’re like me, you hope and pray that you’re not going to be the kind of parent that when they are allowed to and should leave the house that you are going to be paralyzed with this fear that, ugh. I have another nine years left, at least with Francesca, to get myself ready to be confident that she’s got a good enough decision maker on her shoulders to go out there and navigate, the inevitable challenges. I’m really trying to be okay with the fact that I can’t keep her in a bubble, and I can’t control her whole life. And so, the only kind of peace that I can give myself is that I’m confident that she knows how to make good decisions, so that’s my job. So, I will keep working hard to build her as good a car as possible so she can drive through life.”

The Sloth Scene in Zootopia

Bateman still has to share the film with his youngest daughter when it comes out in theaters on March 4th, and he said, “I’m really excited to be sitting next to her in a movie theater, and see how many minutes into the movie she’s going to hear that familiar, you know, sound.”

zootopia March 4th

Don’t miss seeing Jason Bateman as the “sly fox” Nick Wilde in “Zootopia” on March 4th. Learn more about Zootopia online, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Photos courtesy of Louise (MomStart) & Disney. We attended the interview as a guest of Disney

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