Thursday, July 5, 2007
Disney Finds A Doctor...
Walt Disney Animation Studios announced that Keith David has been cast as the voice of the villain in "The Princess and the Frog".
David will play Dr. Facilier, a character originally known as Dr. Duvalier. The character was described as African-American, mid-thirties, probably Creole with a smooth charisma and sinister personality. No word yet if anything other than the name has changed. Sounds like David's distinctive voice will be a very good fit for the Witch Doctor/Voodoo Magician. I'm a particular fan of his voice-work in the "Spawn" animated series.
This is the third name change known for Disney's 2009 release. First was the title: "The Frog Princess" which became "The Princess and the Frog" because some felt it would offend the French(is this really a problem?). Then the lead character Maddy was changed to Tiana because the name sounded too close to Mammy, a derogatory. racist term(uhm... a little too PC here?). It's not known if Tiana's character has been changed from a chamber maid... afterall, we wouldn't want to offend anyone else. Would we?
One hopes that the wish not to offend doesn't handicap the story. I trust Lasseter on these matters but I find it troubling when they've become so sensitive to complaints that they change the American name of the film simply because it "might, possibly, maybe, conceivably" offend French people? If this is truly a problem for them, then how about they change the foriengn release of the film in... uhm, I don't know... France? I have faith in Uncle John, but none what-so-ever in political correctness. It's wrong, it's fascistic and un-American...
Still, I greatly look forward to this film as the return of classic animation. May it herald a new 2D rebirth. After the 2010 release "Rapunzel" the emphasis will go back on Disney being a hand drawn animation company. This will not be mandated. We know that John Lasseter believes the studio should be "director driven", but I beleive that it will be strongly encouraged so as to differentiate the Disney brand from everything else out there.