Frozen writer/co-director Jennifer Lee and Inside Out writer/director Pete Docter will be splitting John Lasseter’s duties as the creative head of Disney-Pixar animation studios following his ouster from the company due to allegations of inappropriate conduct. Both Lee and Docter will report to Disney chairman Alan Horn in their new roles.
“Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter are two of the most gifted filmmakers and storytellers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with,” said Horn in the announcement. “Pete, the genius creative force behind Up, Inside Out and Monsters, Inc., has been an integral part of Pixar almost since the beginning and is a huge part of its industry-leading success. Jenn, in bringing her bold vision to the boundary-breaking Frozen, has helped infuse Disney Animation with a new and exciting perspective. Each of them embodies the unique spirit, culture, and values of these renowned animation studios, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have them to lead us into the future.”
Pixar’s President Jim Morris and Disney Animation’s President Andrew Millstein will remain in their roles, reporting to Disney & Pixar Animation Studios President Ed Catmull, who also reports to Horn.
Jennifer Lee, currently working on Frozen 2, has been named Chief Creative Officer for Walt Disney Animation Studios. Her credits also include story for Zootopia and screenplay for Wreck-It Ralph. She joined the studio in 2011 on Ralph, and earned a Best Animated Feature Oscar for Frozen as well as three BAFTAs and two Annie Awards.
“Animation is the most collaborative art form in the world, and it is with the partnership of my fellow filmmakers, artists, and innovators that we look ahead to the future. My hope is to support the incredible talent we have, find new voices, and work together to tell original stories.” – Lee
Pete Docter will now be Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios. A member of Pixar’s legendary “Brain Trust,” he has been with the studio since its break-out film Toy Story, on which he served as a writer. Docter earned Oscars for directing Inside Out and Up and has received several additional nominations.
“I started here 28 years ago. I am fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented people on the planet, and together we will keep pushing animation in new directions, using the latest technology to tell stories we hope will surprise and delight audiences around the world.” – Docter
Despite the turmoil caused by the accusations against Lasseter, the animation division’s latest release The Incredibles 2 opened with a box-office-record-smashing $182.7 million.
[Sources: Variety, Hollywood Reporter]