The Princess and the Frog | EW.com

News

The Princess and the Frog

STARRING Anika Noni Rose, Terrence Howard, Oprah Winfrey, John Goodman, Keith Howard
WRITTEN BY Ron Clements, John Musker, Rob Edwards
DIRECTED BY Ron Clements, John Musker

Has there ever been so much riding on a single film? Particularly one about singing amphibians? The Princess and the Frog marks Disney’s first traditionally animated feature since the 2004 flop Home on the Range, after which the studio (and its peers) pushed all its chips into computer animation. ”There was a feeling that people didn’t want to watch hand-drawn animation anymore,” says Disney-Pixar honcho John Lasseter. ”That’s ludicrous. When you see Frog, you cannot imagine it in CG.”

Lasseter enlisted directors Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin) to reinvent the Grimm fairy tale ”The Frog Prince.” The film’s twist: When the princess kisses the cursed royal amphibian, she turns into one too. Oh, and the story’s set in 1920s New Orleans and centers on Tiana (Anika Noni Rose), Disney’s first animated African-American heroine. ”We maybe didn’t realize the impact of that,” says Clements. ”But we made every effort to be as sensitive as possible.” Tiana, a tenacious waitress who dreams of owning her own restaurant, is loosely based on New Orleans’ famed chef Leah Chase. ”Leah’s big thing was how food brought people together,” says Musker. With Frog, Disney hopes to do just that. And perhaps sell a doll or two.