Disney films movie scenes in Lakeland

A Disney movie based on the children’s novel “The One and Only Ivan,” featuring the experiences of a gorilla living in captivity in a shopping mall, will feature scenes shot in Lakeland.

And while the Lakeland-based scenes for the film will be completed in the coming weeks, the story behind the filming started much earlier. In September 2017, Maureen Peter, film coordinator for Film Central Florida for PCTSM, was contacted by the film’s location manager, Stuart Smith. Smith had been referred to Peter through the Director of the Orlando Film Commission, Lindsey Fuller Sandrin.

“They were looking for an American style late 80s mall,” said Peter. “Nine months later, here they are.”

Locations to be used include a playground scene at Dixieland Elementary, a scene on Palm Drive, scenes at the Silver Moon Drive-In, and scenes at the Southgate Shopping Center, previously used in the 1990 film “Edward Scissorhands.”

“The One and Only Ivan,” won numerous awards when it came out in 2012, including a Newbery Medal, considered one of the most prestigious awards in children’s literature. It was also a New York Times No. 1 bestseller.