Jennifer Lee, Pete Docter Will Succeed John Lasseter As Creative Heads Of Disney And Pixar
The Walt Disney Company announced today that Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter will succeed John Lasseter as creative heads of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, respectively. Both had been widely considered as the leading candidates to take those roles, and Docter was known to be in the running as early as last November.
Lasseter had been chief creative officer of both studios before extensive allegations of physical and sexual harassment forced him into a controversial six-month sabbatical, finally ending with his resignation earlier this month. (Lasseter will remain employed by the Walt Disney Company through the end of 2018.)
Lee, 46, co-director and writer of the smash hit Frozen, will run Disney as chief creative officer. Her fast rise at Disney started in 2011 when she joined the studio as a writer on Wreck-It Ralph. She recently wrote the stageshow Frozen: The Broadway Musical and the screenplay for the vfx-heavy Disney live-action film A Wrinkle in Time, and she is currently co-directing Frozen 2 and executive producing Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.
Docter, 49, who has worked at Pixar for 28 years, will take over that studio’s chief creative officer title. Besides writing and directing some of that studio’s most successful films, he is a member of the studio’s braintrust, which has creative input on all of the company’s releases.
Disney said in an announcement today that Lee and Docter would each “have creative oversight of all films and associated projects of their respective studios,” and they will report directly to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.
Jim Morris, president, Pixar Animation Studios, and Andrew Millstein, president, Walt Disney Animation Studios, will continue to report to Ed Catmull, president, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, who reports to Horn.
“Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter are two of the most gifted filmmakers and storytellers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with,” Horn said in a statement. “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.”
Said Lee in a statement: “I am deeply grateful to everyone at Walt Disney Animation Studios and The Walt Disney Company for this opportunity. 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 said in his statement: “I am excited and humbled to be asked to take on this role. 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.”