Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Head Cut Off: Lauren Faust Removed from Sony Animation's 'Medusa'

A couple years ago, Sony Pictures Animation announced a project called Medusa.

It was a fun new take on the familiar Greek gorgon, one that would be about her trying to reverse a curse put on her by a jealous goddess. The one thing that had me sold on this particular project was the fact that Lauren Faust was directing.

For those who don't know... Faust, after her tenure at Warner Animation in the 90s, worked on the Cartoon Network shows The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, and she's also married to the creator of those two shows: Craig McCracken. He also created Disney TV Animation's current hit Wander Over Yonder, and of course she's a big force behind that show as well. After Foster's ended, she went on to launch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. So yes, she is a big name, and she's notable for being a woman who has made it big in the American animation industry.

Given her talent and experience, I was actually quite hyped for Medusa... Unfortunately, she is no longer directing. This is what she told Cartoon Brew today...

“I very much enjoyed my time at Sony Pictures Animation and was extremely excited about the progress our amazing team was making on Medusa. But, as it happens at so many studios with so many projects, we ultimately ran into creative differences on the direction of the project. I do not know if Medusa has been shelved, but I am no longer working on it or at Sony.

Creative differences, the nicer term for these kinds of things, is quite common in the world of feature animation... And film and media in general. It's a shame, because I assumed - rather foolishly - that Sony Animation's poor decision-making (i.e. rejecting Genndy Tartakovsky's respectful take on Popeye) wouldn't continue. At the same time, I'm not surprised. Sony Animation's management saw some changes after the hack last year, and the infamously filmmaker-unfriendly Tom Rothman became the Sony Pictures chairman afterwards.

According to the Brew, the film is still going to happen and SPA President Kristine Belson is still enthusiastic about it. All I can say is, bad move on their part, but if they get a great director to take over, I won't fret too much. I just feel bad for Faust, for she deserved a feature-length directorial debut.

Hopefully another animation studio lets Faust direct a film some time in the future.

What say you?

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