One of the many columnists who make LaughingPlace.com the best all around Disney fan site on the web is Rhett Wickham. He has his finger on the pulse of the animation community like no other. His most recent column is a who’s who in terms of character leads, aka supervising animator, working on Disney’s The Princess and The Frog.
These pencil on paper animators were the stars of Walt Disney Feature Animation for many decades.
After a measurable and considerable absence from feature animated films, audiences will be re-introduced to the talents of ten amazing actors who are supervising the animation on Ron Clements’ and John Musker’s “The Princess and the Frog”. These accomplished film performers may render their characters with pencil on paper, but they are powerful, accomplished, and capable actors who have impressive resumes, and very specific career paths like any other fine film thespians. They are each passionate about the traditions that made Disney animation great. Their skills have not been dampened by time or dulled by working in service of keystroke driven dalliances on CG animated projects. Their collective skills are as impressive, if not more so, than any star-studded mega hit Hollywood could tout. To see these ten stars back in action, and all together again, is enough to raise the rafters on any multiplex.
It’s about time.
Here’s the list: Mark Tenn – Princess Tiana, Ruben Aquino – Princess Tiana’s family, Randy Haycock – Prince Naveen, Tony DeRosa – Lawrence, Nik Ranieri – Charlotte LaBouff, Duncan Marjoribanks – Big Daddy LaBouff, Bruce Smith – Doctor Facilier, Mike Surrey – Ray (the firefly), Eric Goldberg – Louis, and Andreas Deja – Mama Odie.
When you’re done reading Rhett’s re-introduction, goto the new DisneyAnimation.com and see the concept art they’ve just released. With the two together you really get a great feel for some of the depth and feeling that will be present in this new American Fairy Tale – The Princess and The Frog.
One thing that stands out for that list is that they are all men. There’s a serious dearth of women animators, both at Disney and Pixar. It especially shows in Pixar’s movies, which are very male-centric.
I love both Disney and Pixar, but they really need to work to address this issue. There are plenty of talented women out there – the glass ceiling shouldn’t still be a problem.