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Idris Elba may be one of the most in-demand actors in the game right now, but for his latest role, he had to approach the character in a completely unprecedented manner.

In the animated flick Zootopia, Idris lends his signature sexy voice to the character Chief Bogo, a buffalo on a mission to protect the animal metropolis. But being his first animated film, he tells HelloBeautiful that he looked to fellow actor Tom Hanks for inspiration.

“I’m a big fan Toy Story fan, and you know, Tom Hanks’ Woody was just incredible. You know, just brilliant. The animators are incredible of course, but the way Tom used his voice, that was pretty special. So I was really inspired by that.”

So keeping that inspiration in mind, Idris tells us that through a combination of a physical performance and some “movie magic” from the animators, Chief Bogo was brought to life on screen.

“You’re imagining what a buffalo must look like when he raises his eyebrows and you’re trying to implement that into your voice. I’d come in and do my voice and then the animators would go and create an animated version (of me) and then I’d go back and tweak that with my voice. It was quite an interesting way to work.”

And with his most important role in life being a dad, Idris tells us that he was definitely motivated by his children to do a family-friendly film.

“Having children definitely makes you want to do films that are relatable for them,” he said. “But also it’s fun. It’s great to play dramatic roles but it’s also fun to do roles that are so much more creative and off-the-beaten-path.”

Zootopia opens nationwide March 4.


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You’ll Never Guess Which Animated Character Inspired Idris Elba’s Role In ‘Zootopia’  was originally published on