Emma Thompson has bowed out of forthcoming animated movie Luck, after its studio, Skydance Animation, hired former Pixar boss John Lasseter.
The British actress is said to have ‘quietly left the project because of concerns about working with Lasseter’, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Lasseter took an extended leave of absence from Pixar last year, following multiple accusations of sexually improper behaviour stretching back over many years.
In extensive reporting from the likes of The Hollywood Reporter, a pattern of alleged behaviour towards women on his staff emerged, including ‘grabbing, kissing, and making comments about physical attributes’.
The 62-year-old director and animator, behind films like Toy Story and the Cars series, later admitted to ‘missteps’ while working for the Disney-owned studio.
In a memo released at the time, Lasseter told Pixar staff: “I especially want to apologise 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.
“No matter how benign my intent, everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and have them respected.”
Lasseter joined Skydance last month to howls of criticism, which lead to a quickly organised town hall meeting for staff at the studio, during which he was grilled over the complaints levelled at him while at Pixar.
According to Variety, the questions Lasseter faced were ‘blunt’, and the tone of the meeting ‘heavy’.
The likes of the Time’s Up movement and advocacy group Women and Hollywood condemned Lasseter’s appointment.
Skydance CEO David Ellison released a statement saying that appointing Lasseter had ‘not been entered into lightly’.
This week Skydance also promoted its former head of production Holly Edwards to president of its animation arm, which would make her Lasseter’s ‘right hand’.
“She did a good job at DreamWorks Animation,” an animation industry source told THR. “The bump up at Skydance is no doubt a reaction to the backlash on hiring Lasseter last month.”
Further casting on Luck has not been announced, with the film, which focusses on two rival organisations in charge of bad luck and good luck, due for release in 2021.