The Original Version of The Emperor’s New Groove with Owen Wilson | Pretty Reel

According to David Spade and original director Roger Allers, Disney’s original version of The Emperor’s New Groove would have starred Owen Wilson as the peasant Pasha. The 2000 Walt Disney animated feature starred Spade alongside John Goodman, Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton. The Emperor’s New Groove centers on Spade’s self-centered Inca Emperor Kuzco, who is turned into a llama following a failed assassination attempt and sent on a journey that will alter his worldview.

Speaking to Vulture about the extended and troubled production of The Emperor’s New Groove, the film’s original director Allers revealed that there was a different actor other than John Goodman who was slated to play the role of the character who would become Pasha. . Allers revealed that Owen Wilson was originally cast as playing the peasant, with Spade later revealing that he and Kuzco would swap places in the original versions of the film. Check out Jump and Spade’s full explanation below:

Roger Allers (director, Kingdom of the Sun): Owen Wilson was the ringleader, the llama breeder, Pacha. I think he had just done Bottle Rocket, so no one really knew him, but he had this kind of slow, drawling way of speaking, which sounded like the equivalent of someone from the outside. And of course, we knew David Spade from Saturday Night Live. They were a fun contrast.

David Spade (Kuzco): It was me and Owen Wilson. We were going to change jobs. I was an emperor and he was a peasant, and Carla Gugino was a princess. The first time I did my voice, I said naively: “What do you want? This kind of guy? A deep voice? Or an emperor like, ‘Ooh,’ some highfalutin guy? And they said, “No, just your nasal, normal, annoying, sarcastic voice. »

Why The Emperor’s New Groove Is Still So Popular Today

Production began on The Emperor’s New Groove after The Lion King was released in 1994, although it was not finally released until after the “Disney Renaissance” period of the studios’ history. Originally titled Kingdom of the Sun, the original film would have followed a story inspired by Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper between an emperor and a peasant, though the character who would become Eartha Kitt’s Yzma would try to manipulate the two into a plan to obtain eternal youth. When Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame fell short of studio expectations, the film was reworked to be more comedic after test screenings. Allers left the project following major studio interference and would let Mark Dindal revamp the production into what it would eventually become, but the film’s box office would only recoup its $100 million budget and be considered as a financial failure.

Despite a disappointing release for Disney, The Emperor’s New Groove characters endeared themselves to the fan base. Although a far cry from the film’s original plans, the film’s comedy and slapstick characters were some of the elements that became often referenced over time, notably Patrick Warburton’s Kronk, whose slow-moving but dedicated nature made him a standout among the cast. Moments, such as Kronk pulling the lever of a trap door under Yzma’s feet and her carefully gathering evidence for himself, have become memes online via forums and screenshots. As such, The Emperor’s New Groove was given a new lease of life through memes on social media, introducing new audiences to the film.

Whether through memes centered around fan-favorite character Kronk or growing through the Disney animated film and its subsequent spinoffs, The Emperor’s New Groove has remained a beloved film despite its disappointing original release. As such, while the story inspired by Go The Prince and the Pauper never saw the screen, there is no doubt that the final film has found its place among Disney’s other successful feature films. Even so, it’s about what might have been had Wilson and Spade had the chance to play the Emperor and his peasant doppelganger, and how the two actors would have worked together to convey the unique dynamic.

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The Original Version of The Emperor’s New Groove with Owen Wilson | Pretty Reel

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