Tony and Tom Bancroft Interview | Director and Animator of Mulan | #DisneyOzEvent #Mulan

Tony and Tom Bancroft Interview | Director and Animator of Mulan


After a fun filled morning at Disney Animation Studios, all 25 bloggers were lead to the Disney’s Hyperion Bungalow for a Chinese lunch buffet. Talk about an appropriate setting, as not long after we were all seated Tom and Tony Bancroft, the Director and Animation Supervisor for Mulan,  introduced themselves and began to tell us a little bit about themselves and their background as well as about the creation of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion Kind, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Emperor’s New Groove. But mostly, we got to hear some fun tidbits about the creation of Mulan.


It was fun to hear that Tom and Tony are identical twin brothers with a bit of a competitive streak. They both attended the California Institute of the Arts and then began working at Disney Animation Studio. They have both been in the animation field for 30 years and have 7 daughters between the two of them. I loved how they explained that each child has a “special movie” that they claim as their own because their Dad worked on it while they were very little. Another fun fact about the creation of Mulan was that because they had seven daughters between them, creating a strong female role model with incredibly important to them. There were plenty of damsels in distress, this time they wanted a girl that empowers herself to help her family.


As they spoke they sketched, bringing beloved animated characters to life before our eyes. Pumba from the Lion King and Mushu with the lucky cricket from Mulan. They seriously made it look so easy!

As Tom brought Mushu to life before our eyes he told us a little bit about his creation and finally his animation. Tom was looking for something a little different from the typical dragon. Dragons typically appear more like an alligator.  Another option were Chinese dragons but they are created to look more like a snake than an alligator. They also have whiskers like a cat fish does which you do not see in your typical dragon. Mushu took on a unique morphed dragon look that totally fit the personality of Eddie Murphy, who did Mushu’s voice.


Tom apparently really wanted Mushu to be purple and would bring that point up often. Obviously Mushu ended up the bright red color that we know and love today. A fun trivia fact for you though… if you look closely at the scene where Mushu is on the back of the horse right after Mulan, Kahn the horse, Mushu and Kri-Kee have fallen off the cliff… where the soldiers pulled them back up you will see a flash of purple on the tip of Mushu’s tail through that entire scene! This little flash of purple was put in as a nod to Tom and his persistence to purple.


Before we left all 25 of us were surprised with an original (and all different) sketch of Mushu and the lucky cricket to take home. I was incredibly excited to tell my oldest daughter, a graphic design major and serious Disney fanatic, that I was able to get it autographed as well for her to frame for her wall.

It was an incredible honor to experience this glimpse into the creation of Mulan and specifically the thoughts on the final look of Mushu the dragon.





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Disclaimer: I attended this press trip as a guest of Disney. All opinions are 100% my own.


  1. Christina Jackson says

    I love that the story came from a really special place for both of them- inspired by their daughters.

    and the little flash of purple is hilarious lol – gotta love disney.

  2. Michelle Feliciano says

    loved that movie

  3. Amy Green says

    This was a fun adventure movie. I really liked Donny Osmond’s singing. I wish there had been more of Eddie Murphy-I really miss his comedy!

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