John Lasseter wows London crowd with clips

'Toy Story 3' sneak, hours of other footage delights audience

LONDON -- Timothy Dalton, a former James Bond and a Shakespearean actor to boot, will voice a worthy thespian hedgehog named Mr. Pricklepants in Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story 3."

Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Animation Studios chief creative officer John Lasseter on Thursday showed a five-second clip of the newly created character as part of a two-hour presentation at Odeon Leicester Square. The footage was greeted with hoots of laughter.

He promised the 1,500-plus audience he would reveal several world firsts and confirmed THR's report of the casting of Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi the lead voices in the big-screen Disney animated adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale "Rapunzel."

Lasseter also revealed that the voices of Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson and Julie Walters will ring out alongside Reese Witherspoon in Pixar's "first fairy tale" outing. "The Bear and the Bow," set in Scotland, features a feisty princess and is "more about girl power" than princes, Lasseter said.

Lasseter also recounted the story line for his summer 2011 sequel to "Cars," which takes his U.S. autos on a tour of the globe, stopping off in Japan, France, Germany and Italy before hitting London for its climax. Lasseter, who directed the 2006 original, also showed artwork and storyboards from the movie.

Asking the audience to don 3D glasses, he showed trailers for the new, reformatted versions of "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2." After unspooling the 3D-opening sequence of "Toy Story 2," Lasseter solicited the audience's reaction. "Awesome!" someone in the crowd shouted.

Lasseter also screened the first 30 minutes of "The Princess and the Frog," a return to hand-drawn animation at Disney. Set in New Orleans with a score by Randy Newman, Lasseter said the picture promises a return to the quality and classic filmmaking techniques first employed by Walt Disney.

Lasseter also unveiled drawings for the big-screen outing of "Winnie the Pooh," first made as a mini-feature in the 1960s. Lasseter said Disney veteran animator, writer, director and producer Burny Mattinson, who worked on the first adaptations of A.A. Milne's books 35 years ago, is aboard as lead story artist.

Other highlights included the screening of two of four new Lasseter-directed cartoons in his "Cars Toon" series and the story line for what will be the fifth outing in the "Tinker Bell" direct-to-DVD franchise.
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