Here’s an unpopular opinion: Hercules is one of the best Disney movies of all time, and it’s the best of the golden age of Disney movies. There, I said it. The music has a large part to do with it; “Go the Distance” still brings tears to my eyes and the musings of the Muses still rank among my workout tunes.
For anyone who shares this opinion — or just appreciates the film’s music — Disney released never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage from the making of (arguably) its best track, “Zero to Hero,” to commemorate Hercules’ 19th anniversary.
As co-directors John Musker and Ron Clemens pointed out during an interview with OMG Disney, a group of dancers were recorded performing the Muses’ choreography dressed in costumes resembling the animated characters. This type of approach was often used for animators so they had better reference points to craft the film. Frank Gatson choreographed these particular live-action dancers, while Kendra Haaland, associate producer on Hercules, produced the recording.
Disney then cut a side-by-side video comparison to show how the dancers and storyboard art lined up with the final product. Watch the video below:
Muster explained that “Zero to Hero” was meant to emulate MTV “in its heyday” and “the other really big music video at the time,” C+C Music Factory’s “Things That Make You Go Hmmm,” as inspiration.
When we were trying to visualize this I was on a plane, and I was listening to the track and I was watching an NBA highlight reel and hearing the song in my headset and thought, ‘oh we should really do a video where we intercut the great sports exploits of Hercules intercut with a dance number.’
We also have to give it up to the voice actresses behind the Muses: Lillias White, Vanéese Y. Thomas, Cheryl Freeman, LaChanze, and Roz Ryan.
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