Seven years ago, actress Emma Thompson and producer John Lasseter worked together on the Oscar-winning Pixar film “Brave.” Now, Thompson is reportedly exiting an animated film because its studio hired Lasseter.
Thompson was set to record a voice for “Luck,” a Skydance Animation movie scheduled for release in 2021. But she has left the project over “concerns about working with Lasseter,” according to the Hollywood Reporter, which broke the news.
A representative for Thompson confirmed the actress’s exit to The Washington Post.
Lasseter, the former creative chief of Pixar and Disney Animation, began leading Skydance last month, immediately after retiring from Disney/Pixar in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal in which employees accused him of inappropriate contact.
He has admitted to professional “missteps” in his behavior without specifically acknowledging the allegations.
Last month, Skydance Media chief executive David Ellison called Lasseter “a singular creative and executive talent whose impact on the animation industry cannot be overstated” and referred to Lasseter’s past actions as “mistakes.” Ellison told Skydance workers that Lasseter had promised to “comport himself” professionally.
Yet that announcement quickly led to a long town hall meeting between concerned Skydance employees and Lasseter, who reportedly fielded tough questions.
Last week, Skydance Animation production head Holly Edwards was promoted to president — a move that the Hollywood Reporter said might “make for good optics” following the backlash to Lasseter’s hiring as head of the studio’s animation unit. Thompson’s departure, though, has become the most visible sign that Skydance may face ramifications over Lasseter’s hiring.
Lasseter, 62, a digital animation pioneer, co-founded Pixar in the 1980s, directed the first two “Toy Story” films and helped build a Pixar “brain trust” of predominantly male leadership. He began his leave of absence in November 2017, after multiple women claimed they were harassed and inappropriately touched by him.
Thompson will next be heard in the animated film “Missing Link,” due out in April from Oscar-nominated director Chris Butler. She also provides a vocal performance in Universal’s “The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle,” due out next year.
Skydance Animation announced in 2017 that it had hired Alessandro Carloni (“Kung Fu Panda”) to direct “Luck.” No full voice cast has been announced.