Glen Keane, a long time animation veteran of Disney Animation Studios (Elliot from PETE'S DRAGON, Ratigan from GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE, Ariel from THE LITTLE MERMAID, Beast from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, adult TARZAN & much more), has signed on to direct his first full length feature. Keane was the announced director on Disney's RAPUNZEL, but left directing to focus on the character animation of Repunzel herself and the film became TANGLED. Keane will working with China’s studio Pearl Studio to produce a film called OVER THE MOON. The film will be released worldwide exclusively by Netflix, after a 2020 theatrical release in China.
The announcement on Tuesday was made together with Peilin Chou, chief creative officer of Pearl Studio, with Netflix’s vice president of kids and family Melissa Cobb.
I can’t think of too many Chinese animations I am fond of off of the top of my head, I saw THE GUARDIAN BROTHERS recently. The fact that Edward Norton was performing in it had me intrigued, but the dubbing in it just wasn’t working and I lost interest half way through. Perhaps Keane can bring a better eye for animation with his longtime experience in it, and make something that can be enjoyed more universally.
OVER THE MOON is about a girl that builds a rocket ship to go to the moon to meet a legendary Moon Goddess. We don’t have many other details on the story just yet.
Keane has been working in animation with and without Disney since the seventies, as an animator he worked on STAR TREK: THE ANIMATED SERIES, THE RESCUERS, THE FOX AND THE HOUND, TREASURE PLANET, TANGLED….The list goes on and on. In the more recent years he moved onto storyboarding and visual development with WRECK-IT-RALPH.
With this kind of experience, he will definitely have an eye for how to make an animated film look, but will he pull through as a director in a full length film? He has directed a few shorts in the past, so he’s not completely without experience in that department.
Looking forward to bringing you updates on OVER THE MOON!
Here's the full press release:
(Los Angeles, Feb. 6 at 1:00 PM/Shanghai, China, Feb. 7) — Legendary Academy Award® nominated animator Glen Keane will direct Pearl Studio’s OVER THE MOON as a world premiere animated film exclusively for Netflix, it was jointly announced today by Peilin Chou, Chief Creative Officer of Pearl Studio and Melissa Cobb, Vice President of Kids & Family for Netflix.
OVER THE MOON is an animated musical adventure feature film about a girl who builds a rocket ship and blasts off to the moon in hopes of meeting a legendary Moon Goddess. The film will be released in 2020, theatrically in China, and to Netflix members around the world.
Keane most recently directed the acclaimed Academy Award® nominated animated short film DEAR BASKETBALL, which won Best Animated Short this past weekend at the 45th Annual Annie Awards honoring the best in Animation. He is a multi-award winning distinguished veteran of Walt Disney Feature Animation who trained under Walt Disney’s legendary 9 Old Men. He is considered one of the most important creative forces in contemporary animation and was the lead animator who brought to life many of the most beloved modern classic Disney characters, such as Ariel in THE LITTLE MERMAID, the title characters in POCAHONTAS, ALADDIN, and TARZAN, as well as the Beast in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, along with RAPUNZEL and countless others. His debut work as an animator was featured in THE RESCUERS for the characters of Bernard and Penny, alongside the famed Ollie Johnston. He animated Elliott the Dragon in PETE’S DRAGON and was responsible for the climactic bear showdown in THE FOX AND THE HOUND. His career has been both profound and prestigious. In 2012, he left Disney to form Glen Keane Productions as a way to further his artistic explorations in animation, design, and film.
For OVER THE MOON, he will bring his considerable talent, artistry and experience to this modern-day retelling of the classic Chinese myth. The film is written by Audrey Wells (SHALL WE DANCE, UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN), produced by Gennie Rim (DEAR BASKETBALL, DUET) and executive produced by Janet Yang (JOY LUCK CLUB, PEOPLE VS LARRY FLYNT). Songs will be written by Christopher Curtis (CHAPLIN: The Musical), Marjorie Duffield, and Helen Park (KPOP).
“I am powerfully drawn to characters who believe the impossible is possible,” said Keane. “OVER THE MOON has just such a heroine as its centerpiece. The compelling script by Audrey Wells has tremendous heart and humor that called to me and I had to respond. I'm honored to bring this story to life alongside my producer Gennie Rim. We are both looking forward to creating a wonderful film and partnership with Melissa Cobb at Netflix and Peilin Chou at Pearl Studio.”
“Glen Keane is one of the most beloved and respected animation talents in the world,” said Peilin Chou, Chief Creative Officer for Pearl Studio. “His contributions to the art form are legendary and as Pearl Studio launches our operations, I can not imagine a more exciting or important director to bring the enormous scope, truth and soul of OVER THE MOON to life. We are beyond thrilled to be partnering with Glen and Netflix on the creation of this beautiful and enchanting film.”
“We are thrilled to partner with the brilliant Glen Keane, one of the most creative and visionary directors working in animation, and the team at Pearl Studio on the magical OVER THE MOON,” said Cobb. “Full of imagination and adventure, and set against a visually stunning backdrop that only Keane and writer Audrey Wells and their teams could create, we know OVER THE MOON will fascinate and inspire our Netflix members around the world.”
About Pearl Studio
Pearl Studio is one of the world’s leading creators of animated entertainment for the global family market and is currently in production on EVEREST, to be released worldwide through Universal Pictures in 2019. Within China, it will be distributed by Pearl Studio. Headquartered in Shanghai with branches in New York and Los Angeles, the studio is backed by CMC Capital Partners-led consortium. Pearl Studio is focused on Animation Film Production, Copyright Operations, Ancillary Businesses (Merchandising, Joint Promotion, Interactive Entertainment and Location Based Entertainment) and Digital Content. The company was previously operated as a Joint Venture known as Oriental DreamWorks, which co-produced the first American-Chinese animated co-production KUNG FU PANDA 3, which generated more than $500M in Worldwide Box Office revenues and was one of the most successful animated films ever released in China.