The Good Dinosaur asks the generations-old question … Wait, where did the cast go?
According to an unexpected announcement from Pixar, it has gone the way of real dinosaurs, save Fargo’s brilliant Frances McDormand, who remains the lone holdover from The Good Dinosaur’s previously expected cast.
The new cast includes Raymond Ochoa (Arlo the Apatosaurus), Jeffrey Wright (Arlo’s father, Poppa), Steve Zahn (Thunderclap the pterodactyl) and Marcus Scribner (Arlo’s brother, Buck), as well as Anna Paquin, AJ Buckley and Sam Elliott as T-Rexes respectively named Ramsey, Nash and Butch. McDormand remains as Arlo’s mother, while Jack Bright plays Arlo’s feral human pal, Spot.
They replace John Lithgow, Lucas Neff, Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris and Judy Greer, for reasons as yet undisclosed. Good Dinosaur director Peter Sohn subtly alluded to the earlier group of voice actors in a Disney press release announcing the new cast: “We were lucky to work with a number of incredible pros along the way and our story ultimately led us to this amazing and talented group. We’re all taking this journey with Arlo, and it’s been a privilege to see these performers bring our characters to life.”
The casting announcement reveals how extensively the story has changed since summer 2013, when the original cast was announced. Lithgow was still involved in the project in the second half of 2014. “I recorded the entire role in Good Dinosaur,” he told Collider last August. “They have now dismantled it and completely reimagined it, and it is a fantastic new story. So I’m gonna record again on it within the next month. Don’t worry. It’s coming and it’s gonna be better than I ever imagined.”
As we reminded when The Good Dinosaur teaser trailer arrived, Pixar had previously changed the film’s director from Pixar storyman and Up co-director Bob Peterson to Peter Sohn, who seems unafraid of change. Only time will tell whether all of this detailed reshuffling will pay off, as The Good Dinosaur doesn’t arrive until Thanksgiving.