A new movie is on the way to Disney+ and while the name Flora and Ulysses may not explain much about what to expect, how about we told you that it was a film about a super-powered squirrel? Interested?
The movie, based on the hit book of the same name, is coming later this month and features some well-known faces opposite the unusual squirrel. The film is one of many new shows and films on the way to Disney+ in February with the inclusion of Star on Disney Plus and all the Disney+ Star content that it will bring. So it's a good time to be a subscriber.
But when is Flora & Ulysses being released and how do you watch it? Here's all you need to know.
When is the Flora & Ulysses release date?
It's already happened! We're pleased to say that Flora & Ulysses arrived on Disney Plus on 19th February 2021, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. More on how to get set up Disney Plus below.
How to watch and stream Flora & Ulysses in the UK
On February 19th, just search for the movie on the Disney+ app and it will be there for your viewing pleasure. And if you're not already subscribed, here's the link.
What is Flora & Ulysses about?
Did we mention the squirrel with superpowers? If that isn't enough to sell this to you, here is a bit more detail. The squirrel in question is found by a girl named Flora Buckman and she gets quite the shock when she learns what this particular squirrel is able to do.
The movie is based on the original children's novel by Kate DiCamillo that was released in 2013.
Flora & Ulysses cast
Starring as Flora in the Disney film is 12-year-old Matilda Lawler, who is best known for playing a young Kirsten on HBO Max series Station Eleven. Matilda began her career in the theatre, originating the role of Honor Carney in Jez Butterworth's The Ferryman on Broadway in 2018.
On finding the right Flora for the film, director Lena Khan said the casting process was "brutally hard".
"She has to be able to do that sort of dry humour, which is actually kind of difficult so we went through more than 1000 girls and at the end, we found one, the one that worked," she told RadioTimes.com.
"The studio asked me who works and I was like, 'I can't see this movie without Matilda.' We went to the UK, we went to the United States. We tried like schools and she was the only one who could give that realism and the humour."
How I Met Your Mother's Alyson Hannigan plays Flora's mother Phyllis, while Parks and Recreation's Ben Schwartz plays George, Flora's father.
Rounding out the cast are The West Wing's Anna Deavere Smith (Dr. Meescham), Community's Danny Pudi (Miller), The Haunting of Bly Manor's Benjamin Evan Ainsworth (William), Younger's Janeane Garofolo (Marissa) and The Big Bang Theory's Kate Micucci (Rita).
Flora & Ulysses trailer
Get a first look at Flora & Ulysses below.
How did they film Ulysses the squirrel?
Ulysses – the film's titular squirrel – was rendered using CGI technology, however the actors had to perform their lines to several different stand-ins when shooting scenes.
"It was a very big learning curve," director Lena Khan told RadioTimes.com "With a squirrel, the first thing you do is you're helping Matilda act with nothing.
"Sometimes there would be like this weird grey lump and then sometimes there would be nothing. So I would puppet the squirrel and then I'd do it a couple of times for her and then I've have to leave and she'd have to remember what I puppeted.
"Sometimes I'd be off camera and I'd be like, 'Matilda, I'm so hungry, can you please help me!' I'd be the voice and then when we were in post [production], you still are editing with nothing so it's just a process of imagining it in your head until at the end you're like, 'Oh my God, there's a squirrel there, where did he come from?'"
Khan added that when designing what Ulysses would look like and how he would act, she took inspiration from a classic Marvel superhero.
"The CGI people actually asked, 'Well, how can you describe him as a character', so you have to think of him in human references. So I was like, 'Okay, he's a little bit like Chris Pratt from Parks and Recreation, and he's also got his Guardians of the Galaxy superhero side, so you know – use that,' and they did."
- For the latest news and expert tips on getting the best deals this year, take a look at our Black Friday 2021 and Cyber Monday 2021 guides.
What else is new to Disney+?
With the inclusion of all the new content on February 23rd - quite a lot. On the original slate, there is Marvel's Helstrom, Love Victor, a spin-off of the movie Love, Simon, the drama Big Sky and Solar Opposites. There are also old favourites including Lost, Family Guy, 24 and The X-Files.