Little is known about Fenton Harcourt. What is known is that Milo seemingly either reports directly to him or has had numerous encounters with him with regards to his proposals on Atlantis. Harcourt is also familiar with Milo's grandfather, Thaddeus Thatch, and is among many who deemed him crazy. Harcourt is extremely skeptical of the existence of Atlantis due to lack of scientific proof and physical evidence. The insistence of the Thatches of their beliefs of the lost continent has driven the man to the point of having little patience whenever the subject appears to be brought up.
Atlantis: The Lost EmpireEdit
|“||You want to go on an expedition? Here! Take a trolley to the Potomac and jump in! Maybe the cold water will clear your head.||”|
In 1914, Milo manages to get a meeting with the Smithsonian Institute board of directors scheduled to present his latest theory and proposal on Atlantis. Harcourt then deceives Milo by sending him a message at four with a notice saying that his presentation had been moved to three-thirty and immediately after sends a message indicated that due to Milo's supposed no-show means that the presentation was cancelled and the matter was closed.
Milo locates the board members and chases after them, finding Harcourt in particular and following him to his awaiting car outside. Having had enough, Harcourt makes it clear to Milo that the museum only funds expeditions based on fact and not folklore. When he indicates that Milo's needs are needed to continue tending to the boilers through winter, Milo presents his letter of resignation and attempts to quit. Harcourt counters by noting that no one else would consider funding his proposal either and that he should not throw away his potential career as linguist and cartography they way his grandfather did. Harcourt leaves Milo in a disheartened state, although he would not suspect until after the fact that it would be the last time he would ever see him.
Harcourt was developed to be a character that represented that general consensus that Atlantis is a myth and that there never was such an empire. He was further conceived as a figure to illustrate the disapproval of Thaddeus Thatch from experts and financiers as well as an obstacle that Milo faced in his attempts to charter an expedition to finding Atlantis.
The supervising animator of Harcourt was David Pruiksma, who was already the supervising animator of Wilhelmina Packard. Pruiksma considered it a nice challenge to animate two characters who were very different in personality and movement while at the same time trying to adapt to the film's unique art design style that differed from previous features he worked on. Unlike Shawn Keller, whose two characters Cookie Farnsworth and Preston Whitmore shared the same scene together, Packard and Harcourt were never even in the same vicinity of one another.
Providing the voice for the character was David Ogden Stiers, who was coined by co-director Kirk Wise as being a good luck charm for the filmmakers and Disney in general since providing the voice of Cogsworth in Wise and Gary Trousdale's Beauty and the Beast.