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A New Animated Project At Disney!

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.

Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 5, 1998, 5:22 a.m. CST

    Could It Be?

    by DwDunphy

    Leilo And Stitch, huh? Fine, okay, so it reads on the bizarre 'influenced by Tim Burton' side, but if they actually did this in the traditional animation style, MAN, it could really swing, baby. Finally, the possible end to the spate of formulaic 'teen who sings wants to see the world has great destiny and a comic-relief sidekick'movies... No more dreadful songs trying to match up to the Mermaid-Lion King era! I diggit!

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 5:57 a.m. CST


    by Brian

    This news is obviously bullshit.Back when The Rescuers Downunder flopped,Disney made a decision that all animated features from them on are to be musicals.They have been ever since and They have been extremely successful.Disney is not a company Known to take unnecccessary risks with their animated features.Furthermore,this half-ass plot sounds dreamt up by a second grader.And lastly,if Disney bought the rights to several Elvis tunes that alone would probably cost more than the entire feature's budget.Stop telling stories.

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 7:54 a.m. CST

    New Disney movie? no?

    by marco

    I think Brain is wright this doesn`t sound like an Disney movie as we know them. Marco

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 9:07 a.m. CST

    deja vu all over again

    by maniacalmichael

    This story reminds me of the "When Aliens Collide' episode of Disney's "Darkwing Duck."

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 9:07 a.m. CST


    by JR

    Surely some mistake, a Disney movie w/ no songs? I'm sick to death of the increasingly crap songs Disney insist on including in their films. Disney are without a doubt the cutting edge in animation but I feel that the slushy songs are starting to detract from this. Nowadays I cannot bring myself to walk into a cinema and pay to watch the likes of Mulan or Hercules, I have to wait until my little sister gets the video. Jungle Book and Aristocats had cool music but Elton John or fucking Phil Collins are all we get now. Hope this report is true.

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 9:17 a.m. CST


    by TeKn0MeSSiaH

    Ok, MAYBE this sounds a bit bizzare for a Disney flick, but now they have competition. Usually, they knew they could just release sappy CRAP and every kid in an industrialized society would go and see it. But now, Prince of Egypt, Antz, and other projects by various studios trying to get a piece of the big animation pie. With chocolate on top. So now Disney has to find an edge, a nitch it can go in to stay original. So they go psycho. Either that, or the animation clinic guy forgot his medication and was experiencing a hallucinogenic episode while everyone else was thinking he was talking about the new Disney movie.

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 12:49 p.m. CST

    I dont know

    by Tavis Bickle

    Chris Sanders is a great story teller, but a non-musical with aliens and Elvis tunes? I thought they were making 'Treasure Planet', why more aliens? Article sounds false but Disney can write off a couple of nay-sayers and enemies if they have the balls to make it.

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 1:17 p.m. CST

    What's happening?

    by Bob

    I don't understand this project from Disney.The Hawaiian girl is okay but why not show more Hawaiians.Who thought up this story.I can do better than that.They need to get the police squad on Disney and their animators and ramsack and destroy everything in their way and demand that they start something new.What's the problem is they have no Katzenberg over them like Walt Disney was to Disney to help them anymore.Sure for four years it can last but after that Disney's projects have shown.Plain and simple.I'm not expecting anything from Disney until Fantasia comes out.

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 4:47 p.m. CST

    Andreas Deja @ ASIFA

    by RaamDaamTiki

    Although the concept is a bit strange, Sir Col-erase is not making this up, his/her post IS accurate. This is what Andreas Deja himself said in a presentation for ASIFA in Glendale the other night. Also, Chris Sanders did in fact come up with the story. With the excitement over more story-driven animated features, such as POE & Antz, it makes sense that Disney would develop content of this nature.

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 6:03 p.m. CST

    Disney movies

    by Greg

    Hi, I've tempted at Feature Animation Southside in Burbank and I have friends who work there. Specifically, I can tell you YES--DISNEY IS PLANNING MOVIES WITHOUT MUSIC! The first no-musical "Atlantis" was suppose to come out after "Kingdom" but since they scrapped "Kingdom" and are starting all over again, I assume it will be coming out after their next animated feature, "Tarzan." After "Atlantis" comes another no-musical from Ron and John (directors or "Aladdin" and "Herc") called "Treasure Planet" which is essentially Treasure Island in space. Beyond that I know they were considering a western and also a pygmalian story called "Wild Life." Also in the works is a "Don Quixote" project. As for the western, "Wild Life" and "Don Q." projects I have no idea if they will have music or not. Tarzan has songs written by Phil Collins.

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 8:45 p.m. CST

    Animators at Disney...

    by Tylamack

    Are, despite what some (most) disgruntled ex-employees may tell you, in my experience free to design new projects, especially at the Florida studio. They make lots and lots of demo reels, sample movie posters, etc. Take it with a grain of salt, for now, though it does sound interesting.

  • Nov. 5, 1998, 10:18 p.m. CST

    Hawaiian Disney

    by mpyre

    I like the idea of the new film. Think of how cool the vibe will be-- Hawaii, tropical colors, new animals. I work in the surf apparel business and this vibe would be cool on film.

  • Nov. 6, 1998, 8:51 p.m. CST


    by BrerFox81

    What? a new disney movie? whats the topic..the presidential Scandal?? yeah thats about as realistic as this stich and lielo all are starting a bunch of frigging rumors...or course so did linda tripp....hmmm

  • Nov. 7, 1998, 5:52 p.m. CST

    Leilo and Stich is TRUE!

    by theartist

  • Dec. 3, 2002, 8:34 p.m. CST

    from the future with the dvd

    by cyber

    Just got the Lilo and Stitch dvd. This movie is THE single best disney movie from the last ten years. Not even Atlantis was this good. BTW Treasure Planet didnt do as well as Disney thought.