NEW YORK - The Walt Disney Co. is in production on "Toy Story 3," via its Pixar Animation Studios, and its first hand-drawn animation project in years, "The Frog Princess," via Disney Animation, John Lasseter, chief creative officer, Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, said Thursday.
In an appearance during Disney's annual shareholder meeting in New Orleans, Lasseter said: "We are finally in production on 'Toy Story 3'," adding the film is scheduled to come out in 2010. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are back on board to voice Buzz Lightyear and Woody.
The screenplay is by Michael Arndt, who just won the original screenplay Academy Award for "Little Miss Sunshine," according to Lasseter, who said: "We got a great story."
He also announced - to much applause - that Disney Animation has started production on "Frog Princess," which goes back to hand-drawn animation and classic Disney fairytales. "Aladdin" and "Little Mermaid" creators Ron Clements and John Musker are the creative forces behind the animated musical, which "takes place entirely in New Orleans," features "the very first African American Disney princess" and includes a "soulful singing alligator," Lasseter said.
In a special surprise, Randy Newman, who spent his childhood in New Orleans and is writing the music for the film, performed a song from "Frog Princess" to big applause.
Discussing other animation projects that his team is currently working on, Lasseter mentioned Pixar's "Wall-E," written and directed by Andrew Stanton, the man behind "Finding Nemo." The film plays 700 years in the future when Wally is a little robot on Earth cleaning the trash-covered planet after the humans evacuated it.
Lasseter also plugged Disney Animation's "American Dog," directed by Chris Williams, about a dog with superpowers who suddenly realizes he is only a TV character and must learn to live in the real world.