Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken will reunite with animation legend John Lasseter for the upcoming feature “Spellbound.”
Menken, the award-winning composer and Oscar winner for some of the most popular animated films of all time will compose original music for the feature, which is slated for release in 2024.
For Alan Menken and John Lasseter, it’s the return to a partnership that has long reaped exceptional award-winning work. In 2010, their work on “Tangled,” which Lasseter executive-produced, resulted in an Academy Award for Menken for Best Song for “I See the Light.”
Lasseter is the head of animation for Skydance Animation, the studio responsible for “Spellbound.” Lasseter is the multi-Oscar-winning director and producer who led animation at both Pixar and Disney.
His work has created some of the most memorable and popular animated works of all time. They include “A Bug’s Life,” “Cars,” “Cars 2,” “Frozen,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Monsters University” “Ratatouille,” “Toy Story,” “Toy Story 2,” and “WALL-E.”
“Spellbound” director Vicky Jenson unveiled several of Menken’s songs for the movie at the recent Annecy International Film Festival. Menken is working with lyricist Glen Slater on the new feature.
The pieces shared at the festival include the movie’s rousing opening ensemble number along with a heart-tugging ballad sung by star Rachel Zegler, who achieved acclaim in the recently updated version of “West Side Story,” co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg.
Zegler, who played Maria in the production, here voices the princess who must mend her beloved kingdom after a mysterious spell changes it in horrific ways, perhaps forever.
The star-studded cast includes Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem, along with John Lithgow, Nathan Lane, Tituss Burgess, and Jenifer Lewis.
At the helm is Jenson, who won an Oscar herself for “Best Animated Feature” for her work on “Shrek” in 2001. She also directed the animated movie “Shark Tale” in 2004.
Menken announced in 2020 that he was working with Skydance Animation and John Lasseter on a new collaboration, which became “Spellbound.”
Lasseter and Menken are familiar with each other, having worked on several projects at Pixar and Disney, including “Tangled,” which Lasseter executive-produced and for which Menken was nominated for an Oscar.
About Alan Menken
Alan Menken is one of the most acclaimed composers of our time. He has won an astonishing eight Academy Awards. He won “Best Original Score” for “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin.” He won “Best Original Musical or Comedy Score” for “Pocahontas.”
In addition, Menken won “Best Original Song” Oscars for “Under the Sea” from “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” from the movie of the same name, “A Whole New World” from “Aladdin,” and “Colors of the Wind” from “Pocahontas.”
Menken has also won 112 Grammy Awards, a Tony Award, and a Daytime Emmy Award. That makes him one of only 18 people to have attained the coveted EGOT status, which is the name for those few who have won all four: an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.
Menken graduated from New York University and worked a variety of musical jobs, including as an accompanist for ballet, an arranger, a composer for “Sesame Street,” a commercial jingles composer, and a vocal coach.
His interest in Broadway began early when he joined the Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) Musical Theatre Workshop. His big break came when he composed the music for “Little Shop of Horrors,” which became a smash hit on stage and a 1986 movie.
On the heels of that work, he caught the attention of Disney, which hired him to write the music for “The Little Mermaid.” That collaboration led to multiple movie scores for Disney, including the Oscar winners, along with “Newsies,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Hercules.”
About Skydance Animation
Skydance Animation launched in 2017 and premiered its first feature, “Luck” on Apple TV+ in 2022. John Lasseter joined in 2019 as head of animation.
“Spellbound” will be released in 2024 on Apple TV+.