Disney-Pixar Chief John Lasseter Promises to Prioritize Diversity and Representation
Following the Cannes premiere of Inside Out, Disney-Pixar’s John Lasseter was asked if Pixar anticipated making its first film with a black protagonist in the near future. Although Lasseter couldn’t provide specific details, he did promise reporters that representation and diversity would be a priority moving forward:
It’s very important to us – both at Pixar and at Disney – to have female and ethnic characters. It’s grown in importance over time. As you’ll see in future films, we’re really paying attention to that… We have been seeing more and more women, and more and more people from all over the world starting to work with it. That’s exciting. I think it will get reflected in the characters.
[…] Animation, when we got started, by and large was mostly guys. But we have seen more and more women and more people from all over the world starting to work in it, which is very exciting.
Lasseter also addressed Disney’s upcoming Polynesian princess movie Moana, saying “[Moana is] pretty spectacular. I guess most people think of fairy tales as European fairy tales. We’re trying to reach out and find origins of legends all over the world.”
ScreenRant points out that Lasseter has so far put his money where his mouth is, at least as far as female protagonists are concerned; Inside Out features multiple female characters and was penned by soon-to-be Captain Marvel scribe Meg LeFauve, and Toy Story 4 will be co-written by Rashida Jones and feature what Lasseter describes as a “strong female voice.”
Despite these considerable recent improvements, Pixar and Disney also have a long way to go in terms of positive representation–many POC won’t be represented in Moana, and I’m wary of that film just being the exception to the norm. In the past year, Pixar/Disney has also been criticized by fans for a long history of animating female characters with nearly identical physical characteristics while giving male characters diverse body types and facial features.
Hopefully as Lasseter continues to bring on more diverse creators, Pixar and Disney’s representation will grow more nuanced and positive overall. What do you think, gang?
(via The Guardian)
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