It’s not terribly surprising, but John Lasseter is stepping down at Disney/Pixar at the end of the year. After some allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct with some female employees, Lasseter had previously been on a leave of absence. Then, just recently, rumors swirled that Disney was trying to figure out just how to keep the Pixar creative mastermind on board. Well, apparently, that didn’t work out.
According to THR, Lasseter is stepping down and in his place is the combined force of Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee, who will become co-chief creative officers. If those two names sound familiar, they should. Docter is the creative mind behind “Up,” “Inside Out,” and “Monsters, Inc.” Those are quite the credits, don’t you think? Lee has been co-writer of “Wreck-It Ralph” and writer-director of a little film called “Frozen.” If you needed two people to help run the creative side of Pixar, you probably couldn’t pick two better candidates.
Disney chairman Alan Horn said, “Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter are two of the most gifted filmmakers and storytellers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Pete, the genius creative force behind ‘Up,’ ‘Inside Out,’ and ‘Monsters, Inc.,’ has been an integral part of Pixar almost since the beginning and is a huge part of its industry-leading success. Jenn, in bringing her bold vision to the boundary-breaking ‘Frozen,’ has helped infuse Disney Animation with a new and exciting perspective. Each of them embodies the unique spirit, culture, and values of these renowned animation studios, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have them to lead us into the future.”
“I am deeply grateful to everyone at Walt Disney Animation Studios and The Walt Disney Company for this opportunity,” Jennifer Lee said. “Animation is the most collaborative art form in the world, and it is with the partnership of my fellow filmmakers, artists, and innovators that we look ahead to the future. My hope is to support the incredible talent we have, find new voices, and work together to tell original stories. The great films of Disney Animation – the films I loved as a kid and my daughter has grown up loving – are magical, timeless, and full of heart, and it is our goal to create films that carry on and grow this 95-year legacy for future generations.”
“I am excited and humbled to be asked to take on this role. It is not something I take lightly; making films at Pixar has been my chronic obsession since I started here 28 years ago. I am fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented people on the planet, and together we will keep pushing animation in new directions, using the latest technology to tell stories we hope will surprise and delight audiences around the world,” said Docter.
The two will take over at the beginning of the year. Any thoughts that Pixar might be in trouble with Lasseter leaving should be answered with these two taking over. Pixar seems to be in good hands.