As the top guru for Skydance Animation, John Lasseter appears success-bound again with the release of his highly anticipated second animated feature film, Spellbound. Lasseter is noted for the extraordinary skills that engineered the tremendous success of Pixar Animation Studios through his fusion of classic storytelling with avant-garde computer animation,
IMBD reports that at age 6, Lasseter, after spending $.49 to watch the animated film The Sword in the Stone, decided to become an animator. He followed through on his ambition. In a 1979 LA Times interview with Disney animator, Mel Shaw, he discussed Lasseter’s instinctive feel for movement and character, which gave a sneak preview of the then-young Lasseter’s coming success at Walt Disney.
In 1988, he won an Oscar for Best Short Animated Film and was subsequently nominated for five more Oscars. In 2010, Lasseter won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program. In 2011, he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program.
As one of the first innovators in computer graphic imagery (CGI) Lasseter harnessed his experience as the former art director and chief creative director for Pixar Studios and Walt Disney Animation to successfully capture animated story to thrill the audiences.
Skydance launched in 2010 and quickly rose to fame for its high-budget” tentpole” film franchises, all of which achieved commercial success. Among its many success stories are Mission Impossible, Terminator, and Star Trek. Skydance television franchises included the popular Grace and Frankie, Dietland on AMC, Jack Ryan on Amazon, and Altered Carbon, viewable on Netflix. When Lasseter came along, he was already a distinguished presence in the animated film industry.
In April 2020, composer Alan Menken announced that he was working with John Lasseter on a project for Skydance Animation, with the working title, Split, which was subsequently renamed twice. The idea originated with the original screenplay written by Elizabeth Martin, Lauren Hynek, and Linda Woolverton. By July of the same year, Paramount Pictures announced that it would be releasing the film, but without the Paramount Animation brand. However, that changed when Apple TV+ acquired distribution rights for the film in December 2020. This was part of a larger deal with Skydance Animation. Apple Original Films then replaced Paramount as its primary production company with distribution by Apple Studios.
Following Lasseter’s, Luck, Spellbound was predicted to be a breakthrough film for Skydance Animation, a studio that specializes in distinctive and imaginative projects. It is the tale of a teenager, Elian, who possesses magical powers that she wields to protect her family against the opposing forces of light and darkness that set out to divide her kingdom. Elian is played by Rachel Zegle, of West Side Story fame.
The name for Split was changed to The Unbreakable Spell and finally, Spellbound. The film is thought to be one that will appeal to all audience types. Its story is centered on a fantasy realm that has been threatened by downfall before being defended by the teenage daughter of the kingdom’s ruling king and queen. The lines are delivered by an all-star cast, with Nicole Kidman playing the role of Queen Elismere opposite Javier Bardem as her husband, King Solon. Minister Bolinar is played by John Lithgow, and Minister Nazara Prone is played by Jenifer Lewis. Nathan Lane plays The Oracle of the Sun and Andre De Shields plays the Oracle of the moon. The part of Callan is played by Jordan Fisher. The talent lineup is a recipe for success.
The film is directed by Vicky Jenson, who also directed Shrek, and it was written by Elizabeth Martin, Lauren Hynek, and Linda Woolverton. Alan Menken composed the original score, with Glenn Slater penning the lyrics, all under the guidance of executive music producer, Chris Montan. In addition to John Lasseter, the film was co-produced by David Lipman, David Ellison, and Dana Goldberg.
Spellbound follows the film Blush, which was released in September of 2021, and Luck, the inaugural film from Skydance Animation, Lasseter’s first with the company. It is due for release by Apple TV+ in 2023.