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‘One and Only Ivan’ movie filmed in Lakeland to premiere on Disney+ this month

Scenes were filmed at Southgate Shopping Center, the Silver Moon Drive-In and Dobbins Park.
Scenes for Disney's "The One and Only Ivan" were filmed in Lakeland. Big Top Mall is actually the Southgate Shopping Center.
Scenes for Disney's "The One and Only Ivan" were filmed in Lakeland. Big Top Mall is actually the Southgate Shopping Center. [ Courtesy of Disney ]
Published Aug. 3, 2020
Updated Aug. 10, 2020

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.