Antz (1998) - Trivia - IMDb
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Antz (1998) Poster

(1998)

Trivia

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Christopher Walken's voicework was so excellent that Cutter's role was expanded. He was originally a faceless lackey to General Mandible, but Walken brought some unexpected depths to the character.
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DreamWorks Animation's 1st feature film.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally offered the part of Weaver. When Schwarzenegger wanted to be paid for the role, it went to Sylvester Stallone, who was willing to do it for free.
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This is the first computer-animated film to be rated PG by the MPAA and only one released in the 20th century to do so. All the other PG rated fully CGI films were released in the 21st century, with there being one or more in every year with the exception of 2003.
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Some of the characters are named after types of ants: Bala is the name that people in Costa Rica give to bullet ants ("Paraponera clavata" species), Barbatus is named after "Pogonomyrmex barbatus" (red harvester ant) species, Azteca is named after "Azteca andreae" species, Weaver is named after weaver or green ant (genus Oecophylla), and Cutter is named after leaf-cutter ants (genera Atta and Acromyrmex). Also, General Mandible is named after mandibles - ant jaws.
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Ants and termites really do go to war with each other. But in reality, ants would emerge the victors, because they would easily outnumber a termite nest.
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A reason why the movie has a PG rating is because of casual swearing, an unusual thing to hear in an animated film. This is often omitted whenever the film is shown on television.
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Z's full name (or number) in the script is Z-4195.
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Sarah Jessica Parker had recorded dialogue for this movie, but was later fired for unspecified reasons. She was replaced by Sharon Stone.
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In the scene at the bar, Z says he doesn't drink from the anus of another creature. In the trailer, the word "anus" is replaced with "caboose".
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Woody Allen was offered accompaniment to sing "Almost Like Being In Love", but he refused, preferring to sing it a capella, and did so.
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Bala was a lot nastier in the early days of defining the character. Sharon Stone's reading helped to change that, by balancing sass with spoiled, without ever becoming too bratty.
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Woody Allen recorded his part as "Z" in only five days.
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Woody Allen had uncredited input on the finished screenplay.
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60,000 ants made up General Mandible's army.
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Woody Allen's first appearance in an animated film. Though he didn't particularly enjoy the experience, Antz (1998) went on to become the most successful film with which he'd ever been involved.
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The main characters share facial similarities with the actors voicing them, but according to the DVD commentary, they were designed before the cast was hired, particularly Weaver's lips based on Sylvester Stallone's. Z was also going to wear thick glasses like Woody Allen's, but this idea was scrapped.
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One of the motivational signs in the ant colony, "Free Time Is For Training", is a real motivational sign at PDI DreamWorks.
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In the original development, the ants had six limbs, some of them wore clothes, gloves, and lightbulbs appeared whenever they had an idea. None of these made it into the finished film. Also, General Mandible looked more visibly sinister in early drafts, but they toned it down for the final result.
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Shares a similar plot with the Pixar cartoon A Bug's Life (1998), which was released the same year. In both stories, a common worker ant, who's known for his unorthodox thinking, sparks a chain of events that affect his entire colony, and lands him a romance with the Princess.
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Woody Allen felt uncomfortable watching Z, because he was reminded so much of himself. This is why he can never watch any of the films he makes in which he has a role.
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Although there are humans in the film, we never see any faces. This may have been because DreamWorks didn't want to incur the same criticisms that Pixar received when Toy Story (1995) came out. The humans in the film looked grotesque, and not at all plausible, because they hadn't perfected a computer animated human face yet.
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Apparently Woody Allen nailed every reading he did for Z. But he also got very physical in the recordings, ruining some of the takes because the animators couldn't keep up with him.
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Although often cited as the second computer animated film (after Toy Story (1995)), this was actually the third. The second was Cassiopéia (1996).
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The General's name was originally Formica, instead of Mandible. His original plan would have included tying Bala up, and abandoning her in the tunnel with the workers, instead of isolating her in safety, and his original fate would have been drowning before rescuers could reach him.
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John Mahoney plays one of the ants in the film. In a peculiar coincidence, David Hyde Pierce, Mahoney's co-star on Frasier (1993) played a regular insect in Pixar's A Bug's Life (1998), a similar film about an ant colony, both in the same year. Additionally both of these films featured Phil Proctor, Jim Ward, Bob Bergen, Jan Rabson, Experienced voice actor Carlos Alazraqui, and Frank Welker.
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Originally, this film was going to be composed by Hans Zimmer and David Newman but they were busy with a few films of 1997 and 1998 so this film was instead composed by Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell.
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Many actors from the cast appeared in several films directed by Woody Allen: Sylvester Stallone was in Bananas (1971), Christopher Walken in Annie Hall (1977), Sharon Stone in Stardust Memories (1980), Gene Hackman in Another Woman (1988), Dan Aykroyd in The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001), and Paul Mazursky directed Allen in Scenes from a Mall (1991).
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Loosely based on the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
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It could be argued that the film has always had two simultaneous titles. "Antz" is obviously a play on Ants (plural), but with the lopsided Z in the title graphic, it can also be read as "Ant Z" as in the lead hero, Ant Z-4195, known in his short version of his name as "Z".
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Woody Allen and Sylvester Stallone also appeared in Bananas (1971).
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Is the one of the only two Fully CGI films that released in the 20th Century to not be from Pixar the other was Cassiopeia (1996).
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In an early draft, Cutter was meant to have a worker girlfriend who was Bala's sole friend. The idea was dropped to focus more on Z's and Bala's, and Weaver's and Azteca's relationships.
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There are several subtle shout outs in dialogue to Star Wars: "I hope you know what you're doing." "Yeah, me too." "The Colonel is not as understanding as I am." "You're a little short for a war hero?" "Who's the bigger idiot, the idiot or the idiot who gets kidnapped by the idiot?"
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Any resemblance to Starship Troopers during the termite battle scene is a coincidence according to the directors.
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Z's line "I was going to include you in my erotic fantasies" was originally "I was going to include you in my most erotic sexual fantasies", but was shortened to retain a PG rating. In the German dubbed version the "sexual" is included. The line was from a spider sketch called "What Causes Homosexuality?" which was cut from Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972). Woody Allen was going to use that line as Louise Lasser was about to eat him - the sketch was never used, because Allen couldn't think of a way to end the scene. Since the sketch was not used, the writers got a hold of the line and, realizing the irony (spiders, ants), had Allen's character (Z) state it.
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One of two animated films that Danny Glover would appear in for DreamWorks. The other is The Prince of Egypt (1998).
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The film also has strong elements from The Red Badge of Courage (1951).
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While often compared to Disney's A Bug's Life (1998), the plot bears some similarity to the novella "Anthem" by Ayn Rand. Both "Anthem" and "Antz" follow a single character (Equality 7-2521 in Anthem and Z in Antz), disaffected with his assigned position in a mechanized collectivist society, breaks free from the collective and makes a startling discovery about the world.
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When the kid with the magnifying glass vaporizes a dumb soldier ant who thinks the light is beautiful, is similar to Independence Day (1996) a take-off on a similar dialogue. The sound effects are directly from the original War of the Worlds.
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The computer graphics imagery that makes up the film, would later become the dominant form of animation at DreamWorks, replacing 2-D animation as of 2003.
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In the original script, the giant human wearing the shoes was a young woman, but half of the script, and some sketches were changed for the final draft of the film. In the final storyboard, and in the film's picnic scene, the human wearing the shoes is an unseen teenage boy.
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Starting with this film, computer-animated films are being released theatrically every year, which would eventually decrease the amount of traditionally animated films (which as of the 2010s are only ever films based off already existing animated media).
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The plot of Antz (1998) is an ironic twist. In the movie, Mandible wants to flood the ant colony, wiping out all the ants, so he can start anew. In the James Bond movie A View to a Kill (1985), the antagonist, Max Zorin, wanted to wipe out Silicon Valley by flooding the San Andreas fault by digging under San Andreas Lake. Max Zorin was played by Christopher Walken, who was also in Antz.
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The film cast includes four Oscar winners: Woody Allen, Anne Bancroft, Christopher Walken, and Gene Hackman; and four Oscar nominees: Dan Aykroyd, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, and Paul Mazursky.
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Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson did cameo voice-work in the film.
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James Earl Jones were considered the role of Barbatus.
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Stephen Root were considered the role of Colonel Cutter.
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Christopher Walken (the role of Colonel Cutter) were considered the role of General Mandible.
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Matthew Broderick were considered the role of Z.
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Jim Varney were a deleted role of Buddy.
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Robin Williams were a deleted role of Samson.
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Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong were deleted roles of Bart and Benny.
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R. Lee Ermey were a deleted role of Captain Myrmecia.
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This is the first DreamWorks Animation film to not become a franchise.
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Christopher Walken's first voice acting performance in a theatrical film. Later he'd go onto voice Sal the Kangaroo in Kangaroo Jack (2003) and King Louie the Gigantopithecus (a huge extinct ape that closely resembles a modern day Orangutan) in The Jungle Book (2016).
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First Theatrically released animated film to star Danny Glover. Later he'd go onto voice Jethro in The Prince of Egypt (1998), Miles the Mule in Barnyard (2006), President Chen in Battle for Terra (2007), and Winston the Wolf in Alpha and Omega (2010).
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This film and The Prince of Egypt (1998) are the only Dreamworks Animation Films released in the 20th Century.
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Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin, the wasp couple, were regulars together on Saturday Night Live (1975) and played a couple on Coneheads (1993).
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When Z and Princess Bala arrive at the picnic blanket, Pepsi and Mountain Dew sodas can be seen.
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The first computer-animated film to be rated PG by the ACB (Australian Classification Board).
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Dan Aykroyd's first time voice acting in a theatrically released film. Later he'd go onto voice the titular character of Yogi Bear (2010) and the Scarecrow in Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return (2013).
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John Mahoney's first time voice acting in a theatrical film. Later he'd go onto voice General Rogard in The Iron Giant (1999) and Preston Whitmore in Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001). Of the only 3 theatrically released animated films he ever had, this is his only one to be shot in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio and his only one to be computer-animated.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

During the flooding scene, no ants were drowned, because the animators thought it was too cruel.
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Z gets saved twice from death by two ants, first Barbatus saves him from being eaten by a termite, second was Cutter, who saves him from drowning near the end, basically redeeming himself in doing so.
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The setting of the movie is Central Park in the city of New York in the state of New York (the most filmed public park on record).
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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