Disney/Pixar's Lasseter wows London crowd with clips

Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:15am EDT
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By Stuart Kemp

LONDON (Hollywood Reporter) - Timothy Dalton, a former James Bond and a Shakespearean actor to boot, will voice a worthy thespian hedgehog named Mr Pricklepants in Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story 3."

Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Animation Studios chief creative officer John Lasseter on Thursday showed a five-second clip of the newly created character as part of a two-hour presentation at Odeon Leicester Square, the biggest cinema in the U.K. The footage was greeted with hoots of appreciative laughter.

Lasseter also revealed that the voices of Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson and Julie Walters will ring out alongside Reese Witherspoon's in Pixar's "first fairy tale" outing. "The Bear and the Bow," set in Scotland, features a feisty princess and is "more about girl power" than princes, Lasseter said.

Addressing an audience of 1,500-plus journalists and Disney staff, Lasseter revealed the storyline for his sequel to "Cars," which takes the U.S. automobiles on a tour of the globe, stopping off in Japan, France, Germany and Italy before hitting the roads of London at the film's climax. The Hawaiian-shirted Lasseter also showed artwork and storyboards from the upcoming movie, due to roll out around the world in the summer of 2011.

Lasseter also introduced and screened the first 30 minutes of "The Princess and the Frog," a return to hand-drawn animation at Disney. Lasseter said the picture, set in New Orleans with a score by Randy Newman, promises to return to the quality and classic filmmaking techniques first employed by Walt Disney.

In another return to classic Disney territory, Lasseter unveiled drawings for the big-screen outing of "Winnie the Pooh," first made as a mini-feature in the 1960s. Lasseter said Disney veteran animator, writer, director and producer Burny Mattinson, who worked on the first adaptations of A.A. Milne's books 35 years ago, is aboard as lead story artist.

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)