These last few months have caused us to make a lot of adjustments with how we work, go to school, and interact with others. Next up on the new experiences during these strange times is a virtual press conference with the cast from the latest Disney movie. In the past I’ve had incredible opportunities to interview cast like Oprah from her role in Wrinkle in Time, Steven Spielburg while he directed The BFG, and Dwayne Johnson in Moana.

A virtual press conference is quite different but the nice thing was I didn’t have to change out of my PJs, and the cast was just as sweet and casual in their own homes. 

The One and Only Ivan is now on Disney+ (it’s really cute, you can read our review here), and it’s packed with a talented cast. From Angelina Jolie, to Dany DeVito, Chaka Khan, and more.  

The One and Only Ivan disney movie review gorilla
Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2020 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The one thing I’ve been kicking myself about since watching the movie was not reading the book first. That’s my rule and well… I didn’t even realize it was based on a book until it was too late. So I’m adding that to our reading list this school year so we can compare and contrast with my kids. And since my son is such an animal lover, I think he will enjoy hearing the story again.

One thing I loved hearing from the cast was the pull they each felt towards animal conservation. Especially the young actors. 

Ariana Greenblatt as Julia and Bryan Cranston as Mack in Disney’s THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, based on the award-winning book by Katherine Applegate and directed by Thea Sharrock.
Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2020 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Ariana Greenblatt played Julia in the film (my daughter’s favorite character in the movie) and built a close relationship with Ivan. It was inspiring hearing how the story touched her in real life as well.

“Well, I actually read the book before I even started acting,” she said. “I read it in third grade. And when I got the job I was looking through my camera roll and I saw a picture of me reading it to the class. And I was like, no way. Like, that’s crazy.”

She said it was one of her favorite books she had ever read. “Because I’ve always been an animal lover. And I’ve always wanted to help animals in any way I possibly can. So, reading it was very touching to me.”

Ariana Greenblatt and book author Katherine Applegate on the set of Disney’s THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, directed by Thea Sharrock. Photo by Simon Mein. © 2020 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The 12-year-old  said it made her want to do more to help animals, and spread awareness for kids her age to do the same. 

She’s also an artist, and the role gave her a unique opportunity to have some of her work in the film.

“And it was such a cool like opportunity for me to put my own art side into the movie. And it’s something I’ll always remember too.”

An inspiring story on screen, and a beautiful story behind the scenes.

The One and Only Ivan is now streaming on Disney+! When I checked myself, my son saw the image at the top and said “I LOVE that movie!” so there’s a good change your animal-lover will love this movie too.

Go read our review, then check out the movie and let us know what you think!

And if you want to learn more about the cast interviews, particularly what the celebrities said they’ve been up to while stuck at home, check out my friend Carly’s post!

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.

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