LAKELAND ― Disney’s hybrid CGI and live-action movie The One and Only Ivan premieres Aug. 14 on Disney+ with a star-studded cast — and nearby surroundings.
Sam Rockwell provides the voice for title character Ivan, a gorilla who uses his ability to paint and draw to convince the world that he needs to be freed from captivity in a mall.
Angelina Jolie is the voice of an elephant named Stella, and Danny DeVito voices a dog named Bob. Bryan Cranston plays Mack, the mall owner who uses the animals for a show.
Lakeland also has a co-starring role as a backdrop.
The production was in Polk County in June 2018 and filmed exterior scenes at Southgate Shopping Center, the Silver Moon Drive-In and Dobbins Park. Each can be spotted in the movie’s trailer, but the shopping center in the film is named “Big Top Mall.”
Southgate and its 70-foot steel arch were also featured in the film Edward Scissorhands.
In 2018, Maureen Peter, client services coordinator for Visit Central Florida, said Disney spent $134,365 filming The One and Only Ivan in Polk County.
The movie is based on the novel of the same name by K.A. Applegate.
The book was inspired by a real-life gorilla who could paint and lived in a mall in Tacoma, Wash., until he was moved to Zoo Atlanta.