Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. We just got a tipoff from someone in the know at Disney that Glen Keane is stepping down as director of the upcoming Disney animation film RAPUNZEL. Keane is most known as a great animator having worked on Disney's animated films starting with THE RESCUERS. He's had his hand in everything from PETE'S DRAGON (one of my favorites), THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE, THE LITTLE MERMAID, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, ALADDIN, POCAHONTAS and TARZAN (the latter two he also helped write). Unfortunately, he's had some health problems, according to this source and a memo distributed in-house (copied below). I hope the memo is correct and that Keane's problems are non-life threatening. Looks like BOLT director Byron Howard and BOLT's storyboard director Nathan Greno will team up to take Kean and Dean Wellins' responsibilities directing RAPUNZEL. I've copied the in-house memo below, but what isn't in the memo, coming from a source wishing to be kept anonymous, is that Keane and Wellins' version of RAPUNZEL just wasn't working. If that's the case, then this isn't the first time Byron Howard came in to take the reins on an out of control project at Disney. All accounts I have heard about Chris Sanders' early work on BOLT lead me to believe that he didn't have a film and there was a reason Lasseter had to step in. The overall feeling I get at Disney right now is that they don't want to make stuff that only half-works and aren't afraid of shaking up the creative teams in order to save the project. No matter what ends up being the reality, we do know that Keane will be still have Producer input as well as a hand in the animation. Hopefully we'll get official word from Disney commenting on the story soon, but here's what we have right now.
For nearly two years, Glen Keane and Dean Wellins have been directing partners on Rapunzel. As Glen lessens his directorial responsibilities to attend to some non-life threatening health issues, their involvement on the project will shift. Glen will step back as a Director but stay attached to Rapunzel as an Executive Producer and Directing Animator. At the same time, Dean will move into development to pitch three new ideas for one of our future feature projects and focus on directing one of his CG shorts. We are happy to announce that Nathan Greno and Byron Howard have accepted to partner as directors on Rapunzel as we continue to hone the story in anticipation of our Holiday 2010 release. We want to welcome Nathan and Byron to the project and thank Glen and Dean for their great contributions to date on Rapunzel. Thanks Ed