Skydance Animation has nabbed one of the biggest names in family entertainment to compose the music and score for an upcoming feature. Alan Menken, best-known for creating such classic songs as “Under the Sea” and “Be Our Guest,” will bring his melodic talents to “Spellbound.” The film, which will likely be re-titled, centers on a young girl who must break a spell that has split her kingdom in two.
Menken’s list of credits includes “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Enchanted,” “Pocahontas” and “Tangled”… or basically every movie from Disney’s animation renaissance. He cooked up the music for “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Newsies,” two live-action favorites, for good measure.
Menken’s hire is welcome news for Skydance Animation, which has been the subject of controversy since it tapped John Lasseter in 2019 to head the division alongside Holly Edwards. Lasseter is one of the preeminent figures in animation, having guided Pixar and Disney Animation for decades. However, he was ousted from the studio in 2018 in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations, and Skydance’s decision to hire him afterwards inspired blowback. Emma Thompson, for instance, dropped out of the voice cast of Skydance Animation’s upcoming film “Luck,” and in a scathing letter, wrote, “If a man has been touching women inappropriately for decades, why would a woman want to work for him?”
Menken, an eight-time Oscar winner, will be joined by lyricist and frequent collaborator Glenn Slater (“Tangled”) and music producer Chris Montan (“The Little Mermaid,” “Frozen”). The animated feature will be directed by Vicky Jenson (“Shrek”) and written by Lauren Hynek & Elizabeth Martin (“Mulan”) and Linda Woolverton (“Beauty and the Beast”).
“I’m thrilled to be united with so many talented collaborators and very much look forward to working with Vicky Jenson, Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin,” said Menken in a statement. “’Spellbound’ promises to be quite unique and inspiring.”