It’s About Time!
Jennifer Lee on being the first woman to direct an animated feature in n the studio’s 90-year history: “When John [Lasseter] asked me to come on board as director, he’d seen through our Wreck-It Ralph experience that that we work very well together. We had a pretty tight schedule and he knew that Chris [Buck] could trust me, that I would keep the story going.
“Of course, I said wow, it was a dream come true, and we started to work away, and it wasn’t until a couple of months later—we didn’t announce it for a few months, onths, but I was already doing the job—that I found out that I was the first woman to direct ect a Disney animated movie…and I said, ‘ What!?’
“I have only been in the animation industry for a couple of years, and I am surrounded by both men and women. I see that there are more and more women going into animation, half our storyboard team on Wreck-It Ralph were women, so it wasn’t something I was aware of. I was just busy. But I will say that I am really excited about how the crew completely embraced it as if there was nothing about it. The only thing that ever came out of it, were some funny things, like when I would say can we give him [a male character] bigger thighs? I was pushing a little more on the male characters for once to make them more interesting for a woman’s taste. And thanks to the encouragement I got from John and Chris and everyone on the team, I was allowed to do some really fabulous stuff with these gals.
“I am so proud of the fact that, as we showed this movie to audiences, the boys and the men loved it as much as the women did, because Anna was allowed to be funny and flawed and not managed: She was just a really raw, great character. And Elsa was pretty bad-ass. We could have great balance of male and female characters, and nobody ever thought of is a girl movie or a boy movie: That never came into play. I do think that as a woman director, I was allowed to go for it more, and to push even harder. We had a lot of fun exploring some of the boundaries that we didn’t even realize had been there before.”