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 The Lion King. 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 Beauty and the Beast, Aladdinand The Emperor's New Groove. He also co-directed Mulan 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!"
Full Story at 'Hakuna Matata!' Animator Tony Bancroft Talks About the Return of 'The Lion King'.