The John Lasseter-led Skydance Animation feature slate is coming together more than a year after he left Disney/Pixar amid workplace sexual harassment allegations, with director Vicky Jenson (“Shrek”) helming a musical fantasy titled “Spellbound” (working title), about a young girl breaking the spell that has split her kingdom in two. Disney musical legend Alan Menken (“Beauty and the Beast”) has just been signed to compose the score and original songs, with a script by Lauren Hynek & Elizabeth Martin (“Mulan”) and Linda Woolverton (“Beauty and the Beast”). Joining Menken is celebrated lyricist and frequent collaborator Glenn Slater (“Tangled”) and lauded music producer Chris Montan (former head of Walt Disney Music).
“Alan Menken’s music defines a generation and is loved by audiences around the world,” said Jenson. “From day one, we knew this magical world would be full of music, and we knew only Alan could bring it to life. With Glenn and Chris onboard, their combined creativity adds so much depth and complexity to the emotions of our characters and this very unique story. It is a true honor to collaborate with this team.”
“I’m thrilled to be united with so many talented collaborators and very much look forward to working with Vicky Jenson, Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin,” added Menken. “‘Spellbound’ promises to be quite unique and inspiring.”
With last month’s acquisition of Madrid-based Ilion Animation Studios, and rebranded as Skydance Animation Madrid, the tarnished Lasseter now has a full-fledged studio from which to launch his post Disney/Pixar comeback alongside Skydance Animation President Edwards. Skydance, which is owned by CEO David Ellison’s Skydance Media, now has more than 350 creatives in LA and Spain, and oversight of all production aspects. Their slate will be distributed by Paramount.
In addition to “Spellbound,” Skydance Animation is also making the female-driven “Luck,” about the unluckiest girl alive who must unite the forces of good and back luck, helmed by Peggy Holmes (“Secret of the Wings“). She replaced director Alessandro Carloni (“Kung Fu Panda 3”), who exited over creative differences. Emma Thompson previously left the project as a voice actor in protest of Lasseter joining Skydance.
A third feature in development is titled “Pookoo” (working title), written and directed by Nathan Greno (“Tangled”) and produced by Jennifer Magee-Cook (“The Princess and the Frog”).