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Entertainment Weekly

Movies

Emma Thompson departs Skydance's Luck over John Lasseter hiring

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The ripple effect from Skydance Animation’s hiring of John Lasseter continues.

Emma Thompson, who had been cast in a voice role for the upcoming animated film Luck, dropped out of the project over concerns about working with Lasseter, EW can confirm.

The cast for the film, directed by Alessandro Carloni, isn’t public knowledge yet. But, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is scheduled for 2021 and tracks a battle between two organizations representing good and bad luck, respectively. Thompson had been set as the head of good luck.

Skydance Animation had no comment.

Formerly the head of Pixar Animation at Disney, Lasseter stepped down over several allegations of sexual misconduct that reportedly involved unwanted hugging and touching. He acknowledged certain “missteps” in taking an initial leave of absence that eventually became a full ousting, and he apologized “to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form.”

After his exit, Lasseter was courted by multiple studios until he was hired to lead animation at Skydance, a decision that caused concern from employees within the company.

Skydance CEO David Ellison held multiple town halls to address the decision internally. In a memo to workers, he said, “We employed outside counsel to thoroughly investigate the allegations, which we considered serious and have warranted our full attention as we made this important decision.”

“While we would never minimize anyone’s subjective views on behavior, we are confident after many substantive conversations with John, and as the investigation has affirmed, that his mistakes have been recognized,” he added. “We are certain that John has learned valuable lessons and is ready to prove his capabilities as a leader and a colleague. And he has given his assurance that he will comport himself in a wholly professional manner that is the expectation of every Skydance colleague and partner.”

In February, Holly Edwards, an alum from DreamWorks Animation, was promoted from head of production at Skydance Animation to work alongside Lasseter as president. A source claimed to THR it was “no doubt a reaction to the backlash on hiring Lasseter last month.”

Aside from Luck, Skydance Animation had also begun developing Split from Shrek director Vicky Jenson and Maleficent writer Linda Woolverton.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated Thompson already began recording her voice role, but EW received additional confirmation that she did not begin recording. 

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