‘Big Hero 6’ Filmmaker Don Hall Decamps Disney for Skydance Animation

The director’s Disney career also includes “Raya and the Last Dragon,” “The Princess and the Frog” and “Strange World”

Don Hall
Getty Images

Skydance Animation has closed a deal with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Don Hall, who directed “Big Hero 6,” “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Strange World” for Disney, to join the studio. According to the announcement, Hall will create, develop and produce an original animated feature for Skydance, but no project details are available at this time.

Hall began his career at Disney in the late 1990s, working as a story artist on projects like “Tarzan,” “The Emperor’s New Groove” and “Brother Bear.” He had a screenplay credit on “Meet the Robinsons” and was the artistic supervisor (story) on 2009’s “The Princess and the Frog.” In 2011 he made his directorial debut, alongside Stephen Anderson, on “Winnie the Pooh,” a hidden gem of an animated feature that had the misfortune of opening the same weekend as the final “Harry Potter” movie.

Hall went on to direct 2014’s “Big Hero 6,” with frequent creative partner Chris Williams, was a co-director (again with Williams) on “Moana” and later directed “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Strange World” back-to-back, an almost unheard-of accomplishment in the slow and steady world of animation.

With the move to Skydance Animation, Hall’s project joins a growing roster of exciting upcoming features from some of the industry’s biggest talents. Later this year “Spellbound” will be released through Skydance’s partnership with Netflix. The movie hails from “Shrek” director Vicky Jensen and features a script by Disney veteran Linda Woolverton and new music from Alan Menken. That will be followed by “Pookoo,” from Hall’s contemporary Nathan Greno, and Brad Bird’s sci-fi noir “Ray Gunn.” There is also an untitled Jack and the Beanstalk project from “Zootopia” director Rich Moore in the works. Skydance’s first feature, “Luck,” was released in 2022 on Apple TV+. All of their upcoming features will come out on Netflix.

Skydance Animation has outposts in Los Angeles, California; East Hartford, Connecticut; and Madrid, Spain, where the bulk of animation is completed (formerly Ilion Animation Studios).

The division is run by former Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios exec John Lasseter.

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