Everything I Know About Disney's New Secret Animated Film With Jason Bateman

disney hat building animationWhen I chatted with directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard on the publicity trail for Tangled, early in 2011, they told me just a few details of their in-development follow-up.

Greno said:

I will tell you it’s a big action movie. It relates to Tangled in that will have a ton of action but it will have that ton of heart. It will feel like a Disney movie yet feel very different to Tangled. It will be really funny.

While Howard explained:

John looked at [our] six ideas [for movies] and there were two, actually, that he thought were great and he said “Why don’t you combine those two?” and that’s the genius of Lasseter is he can always see things like that. And we thought “Wow, that would be a really wild, different concept of a film, so totally weird and different”.

Greno and Howard had originally pitched this film while Tangled while still in production, which is not the typical Disney way, but I can’t say I blame them – it’s good to keep busy.

And I assume that it’s this same project that has now cast Jason Bateman, though one detail of The Hollywood Reporter‘s story seems to suggest a possible little change: there’s no mention of Nathan Greno.

Jason Bateman is in talks to voice-star in a new Walt Disney Animation feature project that will be directed by Tangled helmer Byron Howard.

Most Disney animated films have more than one director, at least by the time they’re complete. It’s possible that Greno was left out of the report by some kind of accident.

And it’s also possible that Greno isn’t involved any longer. But I’d be very surprised if it’s not the same concept. A Disney toon goes through quite a lot of development before casting begins, and I think it unlikely one that Howard has developed one project all the way up until scrapping point and then another one all the way until casting in just these two years.

The film will apparently be an “animal comedy,” which I assume will mean that the lead characters are animals, as opposed to humans, robots, fairies, dwarves or whatever.

Where this project will slot into Disney’s schedule is anybody’s guess, so here’s mine: we’ll be seeing this around Thanksgiving 2016.

We have Frozen this year, Big Hero 6 next year, and then Finding Dory will take the late 2015 slot.

I’d have to make another shot in the dark as to when Ron Clements and John Musker’s hush-hush next feature will appear, but it’s pretty sunny in nature, I understand, so a summer slot somewhere wouldn’t be out of the question.

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