Jane was a tough one. All we knew at the beginning was, that we didn't wanted to do just another one of those Disney-high-school-chicks, like Arielle, a kind of behavoiur and speech that is, forgive me, very American. But we had no clear idea, what to replace it with, only thing we knew was : She should be very british. Kevin Lima had the rough suggestion to look at Julia Ormand in "Sabrina" as a guideline, but just for the character, not for the design.
My first step into the character, designwise, came from a nice, little movie, called "Picnic at Hanging Rock" by Peter Weir. I had always loved the contrast of these young girls in their white dresses and the hot, glowing sun. It immedeatly came to my mind, when I started with Jane. So, I used that as a door and I began with my sketches.
Jane's dress reminded me of Sluefoot Sue and that fantastic Milt Kahl -walk in "Pecoos Bill"
We wanted her dress, as she herself too, to adept very quickly to the jungle. Less and less Victorian, or is it Edwardian, in a short time.
Some very early sketches....
A big step forward occured, when a young and until then unknown actress appeared on the screen, Gwyneth Paltrow, in "Emma". Not only was the setting the correct one, but also the character was kind of spot on, at least, for the stage, that we were in.
Some sketches inspired by Gwyneth...
The directors liked the turned up nose very much and also the overbite. That was considered something new and refreshing.
Minnie Driver, - I had the pleasure to give her a studio-tour- , added a completly new attitude to Jane. She was very helpful and brought a lot of character to the ..... ahm, character. Just imagine an american actress doing a cockney impression instead,that would have been horrible !!!!
But the real breakthrough came with Jane Goodall and a lecture she was giving at the studio about her apes and their family life. What a charming, interesting, warm person. Not at all like in that Simpson-episode !!!! From that moment on, it was clear, that Jane had to be based on her, a young Jane Goodall, my God, even the name was right.
So I got myself a lot of National Geographic tapes and magazines and tried to find a mix of what we had till then and young Miss Goodall...
Kent Melton's fantastic Maquette. Can't praise him enough .
Heres the nose again.
Some pictures from the final film.