It’s About Time!

Animation Magazine - - Features -

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.”

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