Corporations often leak contentious news during the holiday season when no one is paying attention, which could be why it was revealed yesterday that Disney has added a new co-director, Chris Williams, to its upcoming Marvel-based Big Hero 6. Williams (above), who co-directed and co-wrote Bolt, joins previously announced director Don Hall on the animation actioner that will be released in just 10 months.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film also has a new producer, Roy Conli (Tangled). The original producer of Big Hero 6 was Kristina Reed (Paperman), and it is unclear from the news reports whether she will still be involved with the film.
At another studio, this kind of a shake-up might be cause for alarm, but Disney Animation’s chief creative officer, John Lasseter, has made late-in-the-game directorial shake-ups a key feature of his management style. The late addition of Jennifer Lee as a director of Frozen was, by some insider accounts, due to issues with Chris Buck’s creative approach to the film. That film’s murky character development and arbitrary plot points reflected the absence of a clear vision at the helm, but its massive box office success has quieted the film’s critics and validated Lasseter’s style of mixing and matching directors to achieve a viable commercial product. There’s no reason to believe at this point that he won’t be able to pull off another hat trick with Big Hero 6.
(Chris Williams photo: Stuttgart Animated Film Festival)