Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season

Director Brenda Chapman Says Disney Animation Hired Her Because She Was A Woman

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist October 20, 2012 at 1:28PM

Animation fans were shocked when, a year-and-a-half before the film’s release, animation giant Pixar fired Brenda Chapman, an animation vet and the studio’s first female director (she was also the only female member of the studio’s vaunted Brain Trust creative committee), from her deeply personal first project, “Brave.” While Pixar maintained that she was still on staff, the writing was on the wall, and earlier this year it was announced she had decamped for an unspecified role at LucasFilm Animation. As one animation vet told me yesterday, “Pixar definitely has a glass ceiling.” A recent blog post by Chapman, who has become more outspoken about how she was treated on the film, claims that the only reason she was hired at Disney Animation, back during the studio’s upswing, was because she was a woman.
7
Brenda Chapman

Animation fans were shocked when, a year-and-a-half before the film’s release, animation giant Pixar fired Brenda Chapman, an animation vet and the studio’s first female director (she was also the only female member of the studio’s vaunted Brain Trust creative committee), from her deeply personal first project, “Brave.” While Pixar maintained that she was still on staff, the writing was on the wall, and earlier this year it was announced she had decamped for an unspecified role at LucasFilm Animation. As one animation vet told me yesterday, “Pixar definitely has a glass ceiling.” A recent blog post by Chapman, who has become more outspoken about how she was treated on the film, claims that the only reason she was hired at Disney Animation, back during the studio’s upswing, was because she was a woman.

In a beautifully written post that is well worth a full read, Chapman says that, when she was hired for Disney Animation’s story department, back in 1987, she was there because, in her words “they didn’t have enough women in creative positions.” In fact, they had no women. When the executive hired her, he said (according to Chapman), “We need a woman. And you’re the right price.”

She says that even though she was labeled the “first female story artist at Disney” (a claim that she actually denies – she just thinks she was the first female story artist at Disney in a long time), a title that had a certain amount of burdensome import, once she got into the system she loved every second of it. While she doesn’t take direct credit for any of the more adventurous choices made in those movies, she carries a certain amount of pride in the fact that Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” and Belle in “Beauty and the Beast,” were outspoken, independent women who didn’t wait around for a prince to save them but instead took matters into their own hands. Chapman worked closely on both films.

(What’s strange is that Chapman doesn’t ever mention Linda Woolverton, a Disney writer who was responsible for co-writing “Beauty and the Beast,” which earned her an Oscar nomination and had her in close working proximity to Chapman. She also worked on “Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” and Disney’s most outwardly feminist animated feature, “Mulan.”)

Chapman is careful not to equate her hiring experience at Disney to Pixar, but the connection is fairly clear. At the time she was hired at Pixar, the studio was increasingly coming under fire for its lack of female creative principles (and female characters). With Chapman, they got both – a female director, beloved in the community (since leaving Disney she had directed “The Prince of Egypt” for DreamWorks Animation), and a film that had a female protagonist in “Brave” (which, at the time, was a much darker and more atypical princess story). What’s interesting, too, is that this post was made the day after the announcement that Pixar had hired Marti Noxon, a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Mad Men” vet, to write an unspecified project for the studio (from what we understand, Disney is high on hiring anyone who came from the Joss Whedon academy, after “The Avengers” record-breaking run for the studio this past summer). The glass ceiling at Pixar might still remain, but at least there are some cracks in it now.  

This article is related to: Pixar , Brenda Chapman, Brave


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates