Empire recently went to Florence for the DVD & Blu-ray launch of Pinocchio, and while we were there we talked to Disney Research Library head Lella Smith, who let slip a few tidbits about The Princess and the Frog, the next big release from Disney Animation and a return to 2-D animation for the company.
"What John Lasseter is doing is amazing," said Smith. "It's wonderful. But it veers further from the fairytale than any other film we've ever made. If it wasn't for the title you wouldn't know it was the same story."
Set in New Orleans during the Jazz Age, the story focuses on a young girl called Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) who meets a prince. "What happens is that a prince from a far-off land comes to this event, and Tiana is wearing a tiara so he thinks she is a princess and kisses her. And it all goes from there," Smith told us.
As for the return to 2-D, Smith noted, "If Walt were with us today, I'm sure he'd be using computers, because he always embraced the new thing. But I think it would be like what John Lasseter is doing with The Princess and the Frog: he would embrace what's good and then hand drawing would stay alive."
For our current feature on Pinocchio, click here; for more on The Princess and the Frog, watch this space.