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'Hakuna Matata!' Animator Tony Bancroft Talks About the Return of 'The Lion King'

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by , 09-17-2011 at 10:24 AM
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It's tough to make an ugly, smelly creature with spindly legs into a funny animated character that audiences love. Tony Bancroft managed to do that when he was the supervising animator for the flatulent, fun-loving warthog Pumbaa in [I]The Lion King[/I]. The 1994 animated classic begins a two week theatrical run this weekend in an "enhanced" 3D version (for purists like me, the movie is being show in 2D as well) and will be released on Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on October 4.

Bancroft attended CalArts beginning in 1987 and eventually spent 12 years at Disney, animating films including [I]Beauty and the Beast[/I], [I]Aladdin[/I]and [I]The Emperor's New Groove[/I]. He also co-directed [I]Mulan [/I]with Barry Cook. Even with that diverse resume, Pumbaa keeps a special place in Bancroft's heart. "I think it was because he was my first character to supervise as an animator," he says. "Also, he and I have so much in common. We're both overweight and enjoy a good bug every once in awhile!"

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