Munro Leaf’s best-selling children’s story Ferdinand is the basis for this animated treat about a flower-sniffing bull, but the book’s brevity challenged director Carlos Saldanha (Rio). “The book gave me great inspiration for how I wanted to start the movie and how I wanted [it] to end,” he says. “But then there’s a whole movie in between that I had to figure out.”
Landing John Cena (Trainwreck) as his beatific bovine helped lift the character off the page. “[John] is this massive person,” Saldanha says. “But he’s so warm and honest and endearing that I felt like, ‘You are Ferdinand!'”
Ferdinand charges into theaters Dec. 15. See an exclusive new photo from the film above.