“For some time, Disney animation has come under fire as being the complete opposite of diverse with their animated characters. While films like Pocahontas andThe Princess And The Frog have helped add some much needed weight on the other side of the scales, the canon of Disney characters have been, for the most part, white protagonists. Among those critics is none other than John Lasseter, famed animation director and chief creative officer of the Disney/Pixar family, and he’s vowed that now more than ever the company is working to become more diverse in creating characters.
Variety saw Lasseter speak at a press conference during the Cannes Film Festival recently as he promoted Pixar’s latest film, Inside Out. In the midst of that conference, the attention of the room was turned towards the issue of diversity in Disney/Pixar’s films. Specifically, a reporter had asked Lasseter if a black character would ever be the center of their own Pixar film. It was then that the Toy Storydirector issued a very simple directive of the creative direction the company was aiming its collective talents towards. More specifically, he said,
“It’s very important to us … 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.”
Set to open out of competition next Monday, Inside Out is a very good example of the diversity that John Lasseter is talking about, as it focuses on the mind and emotions of a young girl and her tough time with moving to a new area. Not content to use Pixar’s newest would be blockbuster as the best example of overturning business as usual, Lasseter also mentioned the upcoming film Moana – the first Polynesian princess story to be told by Disney – as an example of the exciting new material that the studio is looking to branch out with…”