An excellent animation with a brilliant plot, Antz was released in by 1998 by Dreamworks. It was voiced by a pool of all-star talent, including Woody Allen, Christopher Walken, Jennifer Lopez, Sharon Stone, Dan Akroyd, Sylvester Stallone and more.
Here are 9 little pieces of trivia about Antz…
1) Christopher Walken’s amazing voicework scored his character a bigger part
Colonel Cutter, who Christopher Walken voices in the film, was only supposed to be a very basic cronie for General mandible, without much character. However, the filmmakers loved Christopher Walken’s readings so much, they decided to expand Cutter’s role, and give him more lines, more character, and more involvement in the plot.
2) Schwarzenegger lost the chance to voice Weaver when Stallone said he’d do it for free
Arnold Schwarzenegger was in talks to voice the muscle-bound soldier ant Weaver. However, he wanted a fee for the part, whereas his buddy Sylvester Stallone said he’d voice the part for free. Dreamworks went with the free option, and Stallone got the role.
3) Sarah Jessica Parker was fired
Sharon Stone wasn’t originally the voice of Princess Bala. The royal ant was initially voiced by Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker. However, something didn’t work out right, and the actor was taken off the project for an undisclosed reason. They brought in Sharon Stone shortly after.
4) Woody Allen was uneasy watching Z
Woody Allen has stated that he feels uneasy watching himself act in any film. Funnily enough, even though he only voiced the character of Z, he feels the same way about the ant – he’s uncomfortable watching the film, because the character has his voice, and closely matches his neurotic personality and mannerisms. Dreamworks originally planned to give Z thick glasses, to make him even more similar to Allen, but the idea was scrapped.
5) Woody Allen’s most commercially successful film
Woody Allen has hinted that he didn’t enjoy the experience of working on the film. Many actors working on animations have said that it’s a very repetitive and strenuous process. Woody Allen recorded his lines in just 5 days, and the film went on to be the most successful movie he’d ever starred in, having acted since 1965.
6) The characters are mostly named after breeds of Antz
Most of the main characters take their names from different breeds of ant from around the world. Colonel Cutter is named after cutter ants, Barbatus is named after red harvester ants (official name Pogonomyrmex barbatus), Bala is the word that locals in Costa Rica use to describe bullet ants. Weaver gets his name from weaver ants.
7) Mandible gets its name from ant anatomy
Whilst many of the characters are named after different types of ant, the evil General Mandible gets his name from a body part instead! On an ant, the mandibles are the jaws that they use to tear through grass and bite or chew in general.
8) The termite war isn’t very far-fetched
In the film, an army of ants marches on a termite mound. This is actually true to nature. Ants will invade termite mounds, but they’re usually looking to eat all the creatures inside, rather than territorial pursuits. Unlike in the film, where the two sides wipe each other out with the exception of Z, ants usually win in the real world, as they enormously outnumber any termite colony.
9) Free time is for training
In the background in one of the scenes, there’s a sign that says, ‘free time is for training.’ This was put in by the animators to amuse each other, as it’s a real motivational poster that hung on the wall in PDI Dreamworks – the animation studio where Antz was created.
There you have it – 9 little pieces of trivia about Antz!
Explore more films, TV and toys from the 1990s in our 90s section.