Trivia / The Emperor's New Groove

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Yzma is voiced by Eartha Kitt, who is well known for portraying one version of Catwoman. She displays an example of To the Batpole! and later gets transformed into a cat. A cute, but still demonic cat.
    • Kuzco's "Bubye!" to Pacha on the bridge. Apparently, he used to work for Total Bastard Airlines.
    • At one point, Kuzco tricks Pacha into carrying him due to low blood sugar, something David Spade actually suffers from.
  • Casting Gag: Eartha Kitt becomes a cat.
  • Celebrity Voice Actor: In the Japanese dub, Kuzco is voiced by actor Tatsuya Fujiwara, aka Shuya Nanahara and Light Yagami in the Death Note's live-action films.
    • In the Italian dub, professional comedians Luca Bizzarri and Paolo Kessisoglu dub Kuzco and Kronk respectively, and Yzma is dubbed by none other than the late Anna Marchesini, an Italian comedy legend.
    • In the Brazilian dub, Kuzco is voiced by Selton Mello (who ironically initally started his carrer as voice actor, providing voices for the Brazilian dub of movies like The Breakfast Club and The Goonies and even voiced Doofus Drake in DuckTales (1987)), Pacha is voiced by Humberto Martins, Yzma is voiced by Marieta Severo and Theme Song Guy is voiced by famous musician Ed Motta (who previously worked with Disney in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, singing the brazilian version of Someday, and the brazilian version of the songs from Tarzan).
  • Completely Different Title:
    • In Norway, the title is "A Kingdom for a Llama", because the word "groove" doesn't really have a good equivalent. Some merchandise does name it after its original title however (with "style" replacing "groove"), though the former mentioned remains the most known.
    • The German title translates the same as the Norwegian one, probably because translating the original title would have sounded extremely forced.
    • The Hungarian title can be roughly translated as "Mindless Empire" or "The Empire Gone Crazy".
    • The French title translates as "Kuzco, The Egotistical Emperor" (albeit with a very familiar term for 'egotistical').
  • Creator Cameo: According to animator Nik Ranieri (who animated the opening scene), he provided Kuzco's sobbing in the opening in place of David Spade during the ADR process of the film.
  • Cut Song:
    • Just about every song was cut from the movie, except for one, with another played over the end credits. They're still on the soundtrack, though. There's a whole documentary, The Sweatbox, about the film's troubled production (see Troubled Production below) which puts a great deal of focus on these songs (which were written by Sting).
    • The most notable of which was Yzma's Villain Song, "Snuff Out the Light", which, while a fantastic song, was actually a necessary cut, because the plot of the movie changed and made the motivation and ultimate goal described by the song irrelevant.
  • Descended Creator: Writer and director Mark Dindal has an uncredited role as Kitty Yzma.
  • Development Gag:
    • The candle-holder in the dinner-scene depicts a character who got cut in the movie's overhaul.
    • Yzma was originally intended to be obsessed with youth. In the sequel, her scheme involves getting rich by selling (fake) youth potions.
  • Dueling Movies: With The Road to El Dorado from DreamWorks; this is one of two thematically similar Disney films in this time period, the other being the next film, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, to go up against that film. The Emperor's New Groove did win since it got better reviews, plus El Dorado bombed and sunk that franchise immediately.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • The film started out as a Prince and Pauper movie called Kingdom of the Sun in 1994, described by Lion King co-director Roger Allers as an "epic picture mixing elements of adventure, comedy, romance and mysticism". It would have been in the traditional style of Aladdin & Beauty and the Beast. The plot would've involved a greedy, selfish emperor who finds a peasant who looks just like him, so the emperor swaps places with the peasant for fun. Meanwhile, the evil witch Yzma has plans to summon the evil god Supai and capture the sun so that she may retain her youth forever. Discovering the switch between the prince and the peasant, Yzma turns the emperor into a llama and threatens to reveal the pauper's identity unless he obeys her. The emperor learns An Aesop about humility, and ends up loving a llama herder named Mata. Together, she & the emperor set out to stop Yzma's evil plans. Sting was signed on as the song composer. Disney execs thought that due to the poor critical & commercial reception of Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, both of which were serious dramatic musicals in the vein of Kingdom of the Sun, the film would be unsuccessful. Compounding this was the fact that the release date had been firmly set at the year 2000, and by 1998 it was clear that production would not wrap up in time. Disney execs ordered production on Sun to be halted. Almost all the original plot points and characters were scrapped. Most of Sting's compositions were cut as well. The movie became transformed into a Looney Tunes-style slapstick buddy comedy. While the end result was warmly received by critics, who found it a breath of fresh air compared to most of Disney's fare, animator Andreas Deja, who supervised animation on Yzma during Sun, was displeased with what the film was reworked into, and left to work on Lilo & Stitch before the retool. Allers was also disappointed with the final film, calling it a "simple slapstick comedy", and saying that if he had had more time, he could've made the film according to his original visions.
    • On the DVD commentary, director Mark Dindal grumbles about a minor example, claiming an executive at Disney forced him to include a particular The Wizard of Oz Shout-Out.
    • Also, Composer Meddling: Sting, who was already annoyed about having to stay on a project for which he'd already exhausted all of the time he'd set aside, nearly left the project when he objected to the original ending where Kuzco spared Pacha's village, but still built his water park on the hill next to his. He wrote to the producers that this meant that Kuzco hadn't learned anything, not to mention went against his personal beliefs about the environment, to which they agreed and had the necessary changes made.
  • Image Source:
  • Irony as She Is Cast: When called upon to sing the theme song for Kuzco that he had written, Sting said that a then-50-year-old wouldn't do that song justice and that it was suited for someone younger and hipper. The filmmakers went with Tom Jones, who is ten years older than Sting.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • For the brazilian dub of Kronk's New Groove, Peterson Adriano replaces Selton Mello as the voice of Kuzco, Mauro Ramos replaces Humberto Martins as the voice of Pacha and Geisa Vidal replaces Marieta Severo as the voice of Yzma. Peterson, Mauro and Geisa would later reprise the roles for the dub of The Emperor's New School, with Peterson later in the series being replaced by Marcos Souza as the voice of Kuzco.
  • Playing Against Type: Wendie Malick, usually known for playing deadpan snarkers, plays a sweet (though still somewhat sarcastic) housewife and mother of two.
  • Trope Namer: For Kiss of Life.
  • Troubled Production:
    • This is one of the biggest perpetrators of these tropes in the Disney canon. Originally, it was going to be a more traditional Disney epic called Kingdom of the Sun, with a typical Prince and Pauper storyline. After a Writer Revolt, Executive Meddling, and a Re Tool (as the two directors were going in opposite directions, and the film had only a short span of two years to get completed), they scrapped the idea of doing a serious epic, and the resultant film was completed in an entirely different style at great expense and at the last minute. Several animators, such as Andreas Deja who wanted to work on "a great film," left in a huffnote , as well as many other staff members who just left Disney entirely.
    • There's a rumor that, at one point, the production got so out of hand that Michael Eisner stormed into a story room, got in the director's face, held his thumb and forefinger an inch apart and yelled "You are THIS close to getting canceled!" before storming out.
    • Related to Troubled Production: Mrs. "Sting", Trudie Styler, filmed a (slightly unfinished) documentary on the film's production, The Sweatbox. It was screened once, but since Disney owns this document of chaos, they make sure it never gets released (very likely due to there being a large amount of swearing in it), though it was briefly leaked on the internet in March 2012. A review can be found here.
    • Related to What Could Have Been: Owen Wilson was originally cast as Pachanote . He recorded all his dialogue but when the film was retooled, his voice work was thrown out. There also used to be a short talking Incan statue sidekick to be voiced by Harvey Feinstein. Kronk was nowhere in the story. Yzma's original carnation was creepier, less neurotic, far more threatening, and obsessed with becoming young and beautiful again.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Kuzco was originally named Manco until someone realized that it was also the Japanese word for "vagina".
    • In the original Kingdom of the Sun, Pacha would've been voiced by Owen Wilson, who would later go on to voice Lightning McQueen.
    • Marc Shaiman originally scored the film but had his work rejected after a test screening and was replaced by John Debney. Shaiman's work can be heard in The Sweatbox (the making-of documentary on the film and its Troubled Production). He describes his take as having too much Mickey Mousing.
    • Yzma was going to be a more traditional Disney villainess, being a Vain Sorceress whose plot was to summon Supay, the Incan god of death to extinguish the sun so she won't get wrinkles anymore. Oh, and to unleash Hell on Earth. She also had an epic Villain Song called "Snuff Out the Light".
    • Originally, Kuzco was going to have a love interest named Mata. For the finished film, the character was scrapped and her name was given to the waitress.
    • The movie as made was supposed to end with Kuzco building his mansion on a hill further away from Pacha's village and inviting Pacha and his family to stay in it, before Sting pointed out that if Kuzco still built his mansion after all his experiences he wouldn't really have learned anything.
    • A smaller one: Kuzco's insults to his potential brides were originally much nastier ("Moo." "Needs a human head." etc), but the filmmakers realized that it made him much more unlikable than they needed him to be.
  • The Wiki Rule: Has one called The Emperor's New Wiki.
  • Writer Revolt:
    • Changing the typical Disney Renaissance-era epic into a screwball comedy was nothing but this. Disney's staff was sick of doing blockbuster musicals and fought for a smaller, more experimental film when Kingdom of The Sun was rejected. In turn, a number of the original team who weren't fired willingly left, believing that the retool would trivialize their work.
    • In the Mexican Spanish dub, Kuzco was originally planned to be dubbed by a soap opera actor (Arath de la Torre), and while he did finished the dub and was payed for it, it was never used because Walt Disney's Mexican branch didn't like his performance and, probably to avoid another sub-par performance with the main character just like they did with the dub of Hercules, he was replaced with Jesús Barrero, who originally only dubbed him in the trailers.
  • Write What You Know: When the gag of baby Kuzco was added to the beginning of the film, Nik Ranieri, his lead animator, begged the directors to let him animate it because of how much it reminded him of his two toddlers and newborn at home and wanted to apply his observation of them to animation. Every frame of that gag is based on his kids. The design was specifically based on his daughter Belinda.

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