Cartoon Brew TV #22: Disney’s The Princess and the Frog

This week on Cartoon Brew TV, we offer an exclusive behind-the-scenes clip, courtesy of the Walt Disney Company, from their forthcoming hand-drawn feature, The Princess and the Frog.

In the video, supervising animator Bruce Smith (Bebe’s Kids, The Proud Family) discusses the character of Dr. Facilier, the villain of the film, and how voice actor Keith David influences the animators work and the character’s performance. David is shown performing and being directed by John Musker and Ron Clements. There are also some brief bits of pencil tests and color footage that hasn’t appeared anywhere else on the web.

After witnessing Disney abandon their hand-drawn films several years ago, and watching the rest of Hollywood consumed by CG, it’s incredibly exciting seeing classical character animation being produced on this scale. Sometimes you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. The Princess and the Frog marks the return of a beloved moviegoing tradition: the classic Disney fairy tale, and no one is rooting harder for this film to be a success than I. Based on this preview, and clips screened at Comic-Con, I’m convinced the studio is on the right track.

We thank the Walt Disney Company for allowing Brew readers this early peak at their film. The Princess and The Frog opens in LA and NY on November 25, 2009, and nationwide on December 11, 2009.


  • Autumn

    Oooh I got chills. CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THIS MOVIE

  • Didier Ghez

    The more I see of this movie, the greater my feeling that it is stunning from a visual standpoint. If the story works well this is bound to be a very, very good movie. Of course I am biased as I can’t wait for the day when the audience at large will believe again in the sentence “Long live 2D!”

  • http://blissfulignorance551.deviantart.com/ A.J.

    It looooks good, i am certainly hoping this is as successful as it looks it will be :)

  • Seni Oyewole

    I truly hope this film becomes a success. It will prove that the studio’s ass won’t have to be saved by PIXAR.

  • Adam Oliver

    Looks exciting!

  • http://jessicaplummer.blogspot.com Jessica Plummer

    Creepy voodoo culture = fun and refreshing! That mid-drift on Dr. Facilier = kinda weird.

    But most importantly, Keith David’s voice = absolute WIN.

  • Viridis

    Interesting! That just pushed my enthusiasm for this movie up a notch, in a way that the frog and the princess clips couldn’t. The frog seemed kind of generic, and we didn’t see enough of the princess to get a good feel for her character, but this guy is SLICK and evil and I want to see more of him and his shenanigans.

    Not bad. Not bad at all.

  • http://segaltoons.com Steve Segal

    This is the best stuff I’ve seen from this film so far. I’m a Bruce Smith fan from way back.

  • The Obvious

    As someone who has been on the fence about this film, in terms of whether it will recapture the greatness of the studio, I must admit that I am overwhelmed by feelings of nostalgia watching this behind-the-scenes clip.

    It really looks promising.

  • http://www.pantoufledeverre.blogspot.com wd_kimmy

    That’s it!!! NOW i am excited!

  • http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/ Nina Paley

    That’s some good animation there.

  • http://twitter.com/jsidhom Jonah Sidhom

    can’t wait! Dr. Facilier is the most interesting character in the film from what I can tell.

    I hope this brings back hand-drawn films, and we can have a healthy mix of hand-drawn and CG. I never saw the point of Disney Animation doing CG when they already had Pixar.

    Hopefully their break from 2D did them some good, and made them appreciate hand-drawn all the more.

  • http://highlyrecommended.blogspot.com Satorical

    Someone should score an interview with Geoffrey Holder (villain in Live and Let Die) regarding this version of the Baron Samedi voodoo loa.

  • EHH

    I’m right there with you, Jerry. I know there will be people here complaining about the tiniest things they see in this clip, but I will ignore them and support this film.

  • TEE

    BRUCE SMITH, HE’S A BAD MOTHA….SHUT YO MOUTH, I’M TALKIN’ ‘BOUT BRUCE. WE CAN DIG IT!

  • http://www.inkandpixelclub.com Sara

    Awesome! I do like me some Keith David and he is among the reasons that I’m looking forward to this film. Thanks for bringing us this peek at the production process.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3125612 Edward R. Cox

    Exquisite!
    My love of Traditional Disney Feature Animation and my love of my home town New Orleans have been teased for now with this great clip!
    Thanks so much for sharing it Jerry and Amid!
    Can not wait for this film to be released and I pray it’s the success that it deserves to be.
    All my very best to everyone involved and keep the faith!
    L’aissez le Bon Temps Rouler, y’all!

  • http://www.cannedgeek.com/ Kyle

    This excites me. The caricature on the opening shot there is very appealing and from the looks of it they’re going to play with shadow and art direction in some very exciting ways (if only for that one villian’s song.)

  • Katella Gate

    I’m delighted that Disney’s abandoning its abandonment of traditional animation. It’s only snippets but it looks fantastic.

    BTW, the tag says the release is projected for “Holiday 2009″. Which holiday exactly? Kinda vague, huh? I wonder why?

  • http://doubleben.blogspot.com Emmett Goodman

    I really can’t wait. I’m going to see it right away once it opens in New York. The animation looks fantastic, and its great to see it in pencil form as well. The character already appears to have a lot of charisma and a potential charm. I’m really impressed by Bruce Smith’s work, and Keith David’s performance sounds great so far.

    I just hope in the actual movie, there’s a little more meat to this villain, rather than just being a malicious bastard.

  • http://amymebberson.blogspot.com Amy Mebberson

    I notice that everyone in this clip avoids using ‘voodoo’ in their descriptions of Facilier, even though anyone who knows ANYTHING about Creole culture knows that’s what he is.

    Keeping the more Christian side of the audience in blissful ignorance?

    This will look STUNNING, no doubt about that. Oh PLEASE let the story be good too. This movie deserves it.

  • http://www.rudyagrestaartandmusic.moonfruit.com Rudy Agresta

    No one does it better…..than Disney!

  • AaronSch

    It gets so tiresome when people continue to inject their own blind predjudice into a totally unrelated discussion. Yeah Amy, all Christians are woefully uneducated and intolerant. Do you also believe all Jews are venal and all Muslims are prone to violence? Please, who is being ignorant now? You need to get out more.

    Getting back to a non-Christian bashing discussion, I too see striking similarities between the character of Dr. Facilier and the sinister Baron Samedi played by the great character actor, Geoffrey Holder in the James Bond film, “Live and Let Die.” Mr. Holder’s characterization must have been the inspiration for the newest villian in Disney’s rogues’ gallery. Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” is on my must-see list this fall. I can’t wait to gather an “ecumenical group of friends” to see it together. I really enjoyed this preview.

  • http://www.mariyakalachova.com Mariya

    This looks brilliant! I can’t wait. Delicious looking 2d back in town, yes please! :)

  • http://www.inkandpixelclub.com Sara

    I’m not sure what good would come of calling it voodoo outright. Are modern day practitioners of voodoo really going to want to embrace a Disney villain as a positive amabassador?

    Back on topic, it used to be that any other animator or studio getting a nod of approval from Disney would have seemed like the highest compliment in the world to me. And now I’m thinking “Wow, Nina Paley is complimenting the new Disney film! That’s a great vote of confidence for them.” I don’t know if that says more about how how the animation landscape has changed or just my animation viewing habits these days.

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    Looks pretty good.

    I predict picket lines at strategic theaters and concerned and indignant talking heads on cable news channels.

  • http://www.taberanimation.com Taber Dunipace

    I was able to get a tour of the studio some months back. As soon as I saw this villain up on the wall I thought “Oooh, he’ll be really cool even if the movie sucks.”

    It’s looking promising!

  • Loose Leaf

    Wow.

    Somebody turned on the lights and and all the haters disappeared.

    For months I’ve seen people complaining about the quality of the film, comparing it to DTV (which is absurd)…and you finally see the VILLAIN, and all the sudden you jump on the bandwagon??

    Not all of you mind you…but, I’m just making an observation.

  • http://dayuse.wordpress.com Dayuse

    I think the fact alone that Keith David’s on the cast list is enough to have me excited for the movie.

  • http://tekena1200.deviantart.com/ Niki

    He looks pretty good! but it’s some way about how they presented this that has me a little unsettled. I hope it’s just me being cynical.

  • http://www.wardjenkins.com Ward

    Niki, it’s obviously “Making Of” material, usually found on HBO Behind THe Scenes and/or bonus supplements for the DVD. I’m fine with that.

    I just want to SEE MORE!

    I think everyone wants to see this film succeed, Jerry. I’m with you on that one.

  • http://www.frankrause.com/franimation/ Fran Krause

    Excellent sweater at 0:34.

  • Matt

    Now I’m even more pumped for this movie.
    Dr. Facilier is gonna be AWESOME.

  • http://anotherstinkincartoonblog.blogspot.com/ Jack G.

    I like what I see.

    Here’s hoping that it’s the beginning of another Disney animation renaissance.

  • tom

    He’s going to steal this movie. He already has stolen this movie. The new Cruella de Vil, for sure.

    I’ve always thought that Keith David would make a great voice actor. He’s amazing.

  • Mesterius

    This made me smile. My hopes for this movie is really raised now… at least when it comes to Dr. Facilier’s scenes! :)

  • Tom Minton

    The first animation voiceover job Keith David ever did (as the Saxophone narrator in “Christmas in Tattertown”) was for Ralph Bakshi in 1988. Ralph always had an eye for young talent.

  • joecab

    Damn! Not bad at all! I feel lots better about it now.

  • Anna

    Was it just me or did that guy on the street look a little like Prince Eric? A cameo perhaps ;) I love those expressive hands on Facilier!

  • http://jazimated.blogspot.com Janelle Smith

    I can’t wait for this movie to come out. Disney’s villains are definitely some of the best.

  • http://oddballcomics.com Scott Shaw!

    Keith David has been a favorite actor of mine for a long time. The man’s not only very talented, but he’s got a killer smile.

    It was an inspired choice to cast him as this “delicious” bad guy and I’m glad to see that the directors have taken inspiration from his physical performance during recording.

  • http://pittsburghartistregistry.org/jeffreymcandrew Jeffrey T. McAndrew

    The first time I ever saw Keith David was in There’s Something About Mary when he helped Ben Stiller with his zipper. To me he’ll always be the guy who asked “is it the frank or the beans?”. I also noticed that Oprah has a role is this movie. Has she done any films since The Color Purple?

  • Sam Filstrup

    Keith David frick ya, that’s enough reason to buy my ticket stub.

  • Mac

    Wasn’t expecting to see something as mainstream as a preview for the next Disney movie on Brew T.V, but it was a pleasant surprise! At first glance I thought it was going to be a full clip (like the preview for “Sita Sings the Blues”), rather than a behind-the-scenes fluff piece, but the glimpses of the film within have really got me looking forward to it. Here in the UK, “Up” hasn’t even been released yet, anyone know when we’re likely to see “Princess and the Frog”?

  • Daniel

    OMG This is beyond amazing! I always knew the character Dr. Filicilier(Keith David) would be good but I didn’t know he would be THIS GOOD! I just friggin’ love EVERY character, and I haven’t even seen the movie yet!

    If the footage shown here is any indication of the quality of the finished product, then I’m sure we’ll have ourselves another great disney classic! And we will!

    Gosh this movie just can’t come sooner!

  • Paul N

    Keith David’s got a long voiceover resume, including Goliath in “Gargoyles.”

  • AdrianC.

    I saw the clips at Comic-Con and the Dr. Facilier musical number gave me chills. It feels like I haven’t seen animation like that in a modern animated feature in a while.

    I’m still skeptical that it will be a great film but, make no mistake, I am definitely seeing this one.

  • http://gregoriehoward.com Gregorie Howard

    seeing this clip for the first time today – very impressive.
    Dr. Facilier sent it to me himself.What a switch,the reverese is usually the case.Dr.Facilier would approve of Mr.Toe-Jams sneaky ways & of Mr. Gorsky’s good fortune (thanks Neil Armstrong) !
    Coded to the good Dr.—————— Keith
    As a Louisiana native and New Orleans trumpet player and general
    miscreant,I give my approval to this projects nasty, DR. FACILIER

  • Oluseyi

    I love Kieth David – voice, face and performance – and I’m looking forward to The Princess and the Frog. I know the animation in this snippet mostly wasn’t finished, but I’ll just come out and say that even the “finished” bits didn’t look as polished as I expected. Probably due to resizing and other compression artifacts.

    Thanks, Brew!

  • Josh

    Is it possible to have an animation orgasm?

    CG to me is beginning to looks stale after SOOO much usage recently. 2D has that soft glow about it.

    Plus its a musical! Call me gay but I ADORE disney animated musicals!

    If this film does well financially we may see more disney 2d musicals soon! I’m going to see this movie several times!

  • acetate

    Josh, I’m with you on the musical thing. If the songs are good I’ll be listening to the soundtrack for years.

  • Dan

    Is this another gay Disney villian, as John K. would say?

  • Lloyd

    Its still shiny and all..i don’t like shiny 2d cartoons…the last non shiny Disney carton was Lilo and Stich..i prefer the xeroxed type e.g. 101 Dalmatioans and Aristocats .it brings out the best of the original pencil tests on the characters..which is sadly lost in the ink and paint.

  • Victor

    He looks like Jafar from aladdin. good to see the ol’ disney up and running.

  • Gerard de Souza

    “I too see striking similarities between the character of Dr. Facilier and the sinister Baron Samedi played by the great character actor, Geoffrey Holder in the James Bond film, “Live and Let Die.”” -Aaronsch

    Yes! Iwas was going to say that…but I didn’t know the actor’s name…only knew him as the “uncola nut” guy from the 70s’ 7-up commercials. :)

  • http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=052C631F61EE2838 Iain

    *Crossing his fingers harder until no tomorrow (for a success at least)*

  • hogarth

    @Lloyd – The animation in Frog was scannned directly from cleanup drawings into the computer. The lines from these pencil drawings were then digitally “painted”, so what you see onscreen are literally the cleanup drawings, painted and inked digitally, and composited into the layout elements. There is very little modification to the scanned lines being done digitally, other than a thinning or thickening pass to match other elements in the scene.
    While there is something to be said for the visual interest of looking at rough animation, almost all of the animation in Disney features has been cleaned up before going to ink and paint, the xeroxed features notwithstanding.

  • Kathryn Newton

    Wow!! I Can’t Wait to see this movie Disney always comes out with the best!!!

  • Daniel

    I don’t think the animation looks “shiny” or “unpolished” as some people suggested earlier. If anything, the animation and the character design remind me of a lot of Aladdin, which was (and still is) a masterpiece in terms of technicality IMHO. And I can see the style is actually very close to Aladdin and The Lion King as well, in which the color palette is more bright and dynamic (in other words “less soft”). I think I like it better this way because it makes the film look more energetic and magical.

  • http://www.cheekypress.com Craig Clark

    Now that’s what I’m talking about! Top notch!

  • http://unclesilasblogspot.com davef
  • RODAN

    OOOOOOOOOOOOH THE EXCITEMENT!!!!!! HURRY HURRY FROGGY!!!!HURRY!!!

  • Betsy

    Holy cow…that was amazing. Dr. Facilier will definitely be a fun and interesting character to watch and definitely has the makings of a classic and great disney baddie. I got chills just watching this….I really can’t wait for this film now. I’m so glad to see 2D Disney animation come back with this one and from what i’ve seen here…its coming back with a big bang!

  • Rashida

    Yes Bruce Smith is a genius. He’s an inspiration. I can’t wait for this movie!! Ugh it seems so far away.

  • http://christianscartooncorner.blogspot.com Christian

    Great stuff.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    I was not in love with the character design, but the animation, voice acting and what we heard of his song totally sold me out. This and the jazz singing alligator seem the more interesting characters in the picture.

  • Emma

    I was pretty hopeful when I first heard about The Princess and the Frog. Now, with Keith “Goliath” David’s voice, the song and the animation I can’t wait to see the movie! I want to see more of Dr. Facilier, he seems awesome.

  • http://www.animatress.com Ashanti

    SPOOOOOKY! He’s going to scare the cotton outta me when I see this flick!

  • Donomator

    Terrific! It’s interesting to see Keith David play that kind of part. From what I have previously seen(and heard), Keith’s characters are much more serious and reserved(if that’s the word I’m looking for). He’s also has a great singing voice.
    I also instantly recognized Bruce Smith’s style in Dr. Facilier. The character looks a bit like Uncle Bobby (Oscar Proud’s brother), from “The Proud Family”, a TV show that Bruce created for Disney Channel.
    I don’t know if someone already commented something like I did on this post, but I just thought I should share something here.

  • rab smith

    CGI features are so commonplace now, I find it different to tell a lot of the big-budget films apart. [even from differnt studios in some cases!] …..possibly this is why HOLLYWOOD is plying ever-more absurd storylines onto cinemagoers…..’MEATBALLS’ and ‘UP’ exhibit refreshingly manic themes—presumably this is an attempt to stand out—–but at this rate, they will go the route of the TOHO ‘GODZILLA’ films.

    Paradoxically, hand-drawn animation stands out in contrast, and hopefully this will kick-start a full-blown renaissance of traditional big budget animation.

  • Majorg

    These are excellent comments indeed, but has anyone noticed how Dr. Faciliers pants don’t fit?

  • Tom

    I’ve seen the trailer, and this does look promising. Here’s hoping that this not only marks a return to 2D animation, but also to another Renaissance. Films like Emperor’s New Groove and Fantasia 2000 bring glimmers of hope, but most movies just don’t compare to the greats like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, or The Lion King. Storytelling quality has gone way down, Disney- hopefully this raises expectations.

    On a side note, Keith David has a powerful voice, right up there with James Earl Jones. It’ll be interesting to have him on as a villain.

  • http://www.animationsource.org/princess_frog/en/ Louie

    This is going to be the best Disney film of this decade, hands down :)

    Yeah for Princess & The Frog!

  • Ange

    Looking back on this now, and seeing the movie, I wish they had explored this character more. Sadly, he was a little one sided, and I wanted so much to know more about him.

    However, the exploration on Naveen and Tiana is still wonerful, and even on Lawrence (though, they probably could have done even better with him too).

    I think the problem was that they gave Naveen and Tiana so much time, and the other characters less time.

    Blah, blah, I have a lot to say.