Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter have been tasked with heading Disney’s animation division and Pixar Animation Studios, respectively. They will replace John Lasseter, who will be stepping down from his role as chief creative officer of both Disney and Pixar following allegations of sexual harrassment.
Both Lee and Docter have experience in their respective studios. Lee wrote and co-directed Frozen (she also wrote the screenplay for Disney’s A Wrinkle in Timefilm adaptation), while Docter has directed films like Up and Inside Out. Their work has met with both critical and commercial success.
Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said of the announcement (via THR): “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.”
Lee, who first began her collaboration with Disney Animation in 2011 when she co-wrote Wreck It Ralph, said of the appointment: “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.”
Docter has been working for Pixar since 1990. He has worked as a supervising animator on Toy Story and an executive producer on both Brave and Monsters University.
“I am excited and humbled to be asked to take on this role,” said Docter in a statement. “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.”
Lasseter is slated to leave Disney and Pixar by the year’s end.