pp. 16-17

After a decade of lackluster Disney productions and the failed promise of Don Bluth, the success of THE LITTLE MERMAID has started an animation renaissance, the like of which hasn't been seen since SNOW WHITE, and Disney craftsmen are now trying to double Walt's original dream of an animated feature per year, with such projects as POCAHONTAS and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME in prep.

This June, Disney releases its 32nd animated feature, THE LION KING, produced by Don Hahn and directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minikoff. The story follows Simba, the Lion King's son, from childhood through self-imposed exile to his eventual return to reclaim the throne from his uncle Scar, who murdered the Lion King and usurped the title.

Charlie Fink developed the premise, a sort of riff on HAMLET, which Jeffrey Katzenberg quickly envisioned as a coming-of-age story with lions in Africa. Put in charge of the project was Don Hahn, who had worked with the legendary Woolie Reitherman for several years as a production manager before turning producer with BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, which garnered him an Academy Award nomination. "What excited everyone about this," he says, "was that we had never done a story based in Africa; we never did a story that was completely allegorical. About two-and-a-half years ago, when Elton John was suggested, we all thought that if he did songs this movie would be really unique."
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