In fact, this maturation will serve Howard well on his next project, the equally painterly Rapunzel
which he is co-directing with Nathan Greno (head of story Bolt
). They have replaced Glen Keane and Dean Wellins. Keane suffered a "personal, non-threatening health issue," but will stay on as exec producer.
"It's been going very good so far -- the same kind of schedule that we faced with Bolt
, maybe a little longer," Howard offers. "There's been a lot of development work done already. It's exciting for us because we're given an opportunity to work on a fairy tale. Again, John is here and he loves Disney more than anything else and you want to raise the bar every time and live up to expectations for a Disney fairy tale: it has to sit next to those other classic films. When I was being trained in CG animation, it's so different from drawing. And I gravitated toward story because I wanted to stay as a hand-drawn artist. I miss that immediacy of pencil and paper even though I use a tablet now. But with Glen's help, I think we can make the toolset more user- friendly.
"There are masters that now exist in CG animation: people that have become so facile, so fluid with their style and their command of the tools and it's great to see. So there are stars out there at Pixar and Disney and DreamWorks as well. I see stuff that feels like a great drawing; it feels well composed and it feels like a controlled performance, and it's great to see that kind of maturity happening."