Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Disney/Lucasfilm Animated Feature To Be Directed by Gary Rydstrom

Brenda Chapman
In an interview with Animation Magazine, Brave Co-Director and Lucasfilm consultant Brenda Chapman revealed some minor details about a project she worked on for Lucasfilm and who else was and is involved in the project.

"You are working for DreamWorks and consulting for Lucasfilm. Could you reveal your current project?
My plans are to develop a project at DreamWorks. Right now, I am at the beginning of writing on that project – adapting a children’s book- with my longtime friend Irene Mecchi, with whom I worked on The Lion King and Brave; and on a Lucasfilm project. I can’t tell you which book it is. The project is very different than Brave, but yet has a strong female protagonist. It’s funny with magic and heart."

"Tell us about your consultation plans at Lucasfilm.
I have been working on a project with Lucas for quite some time — about six months. When Lucasfilm was handed over to Kathleen Kennedy, she asked me to consult on the film to help solve its story problems. It was an opportunity for me to work with her. I felt honored to be asked by her, after what happened at Pixar. DreamWorks was very generous to me in postponing my start date with them so that I could work with Kathleen, also. My work on the project is done. My good friend, Gary Rydstrom, is directing it now."
It is interesting to note that while we don't know the subject of the animated feature we do get a good bit of info on the creative team behind it.
Irene Mecchi
It sounds like a movie project that Kennedy is taking a very leading role in and presumably will serve as executive producer on. We know Chapman was a "consultant" on the project and she mentions her friend Irene Mecchi who has written a ton for Disney (The Lion King, Hercules, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Brave). Whether Mecchi is the primary script writer on the film or is also in a consultant-type role is not clear. I would note that Mecchi is a San Francisco native and there may be more connections and personal and professional relationships between her and the folks at Lucasfilm and Disney.  
Gary Rydstrom
Chapman goes on to reveal that Gary Rydstrom who comes from a sound design background and has directed a couple Pixar animated shorts, Lifted (2006) and Hawaiian Vacation (2011) will be directing the project. It is interesting to note that Rydstrom has worked for Skywalker Sound on various Lucasfilm projects in the past, including Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Willow, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, Star Tours and Episodes I and II. He also worked on the ultimate Star Wars spoof, Spaceballs. So he has all that going for him.  

Untitled Lucasfilm Animation Feature (201?)
Director: Gary Rydstrom
Writer: Irene Mecchi (?)
Executive Producer: Kathleen Kennedy
Consultants: George Lucas (?) and Brenda Chapman

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