Now tell me this... does this sound like a veeeeeeerrrrrrrrry strange film or what? I mean... sheesh... Of course I'd go see it on account that I love animation and I see everything. But weeeeeirrrrrd. On to the scoop...
Sir Col-erase here with the latest scoop from deep inside animation land, namely the green hills of Glendale. Yesterday I went to an animation lecture by Disney's Andreas Deja (yeah, the guy who gave us Gaston and Triton and Hercules and Scar and Jafar and a bunch of other great characters). It was pretty interesting, especially what he had to say about the next feature that will come out of the Florida studio (the good people who gave us Mulan). As most people know, Andreas left the Kingdom of the Sun project after working on that troubled film for about a year and a half, and now he's devoting himself to the next movie from Orlando. Hold on to your hats, because this sounds like quite a change of pace for Disney. It's not going to be the usual teen- age/love story/epic/fairy-tale/musical/coming-of-age thingie. It's going to be called Leilo and Stitch (the spelling may be off). Leilo is a 5 year old Hawaiian girl who's a little peculiar. Maybe a lot peculiar. She has an off- beat take on life, and is a little obsessed about taking care of downtrodden animals. For example, she collects cans and bottles to recycle from the beach, and buys fish food with the money she makes, then paddles out in the ocean to feed the fish there! Meanwhile, on a distant planet, alien authorities have captured the most dangerous of all criminals, and are sending him via rocket to a prison planet. This is Stitch. He's a tiny little thing, with 6 legs, and looks a bit like a dog. The rocket crash lands on Earth, Stich escapes, and ends up in an animal shelter. He's a brilliant manipulator, so he figures out that if he can pass for a dog and get adopted, then the alien police dudes will have trouble finding him. Of course Leilo sees him and, since he's obviously the most unusual and needy of all the dogs, she takes him home. He tucks two of his legs up under his fur or whatever so he looks more dog-like to her. While the aliens try to find him, he hangs out with Lielo during her funky little adventures. Would you be surprised to learn that through her innocent and trusting and idiosyncratic treatment of him, Stitch develops a heart? I thought not. This is Disney, after all.
This sounds like a pretty bizarre story for Disney, but Andreas seemed to be on the level. He said it's going to be in a more cartoony style and suggested it would be similar to the animation style of an old Disney animator named Freddie Moore. And it's not a musical, though they're going to try to buy the rights to a couple of Elvis songs, because Lielo likes to hula dance on the beach to Elvis music. The story was cooked up by one of Disney's top story guys, Chris Sanders, who created an illustrated story outline that everyone fell in love with. If you want a sense of what Sanders can do, check out his work in "The Art of the Lion King" book. Andreas called it the best story he's seen since he's been at Disney! Sounds good to me. Andreas said the project had just been announced, and so was okay to talk about, but I haven't seen any mention of it elsewhere yet.
Till later, Harry, keep up the great work.