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SYFY WIRE Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson breaks silence on leaving John Lasseter animation project

By Josh Weiss
Emma Thompson

A week ago, Emma Thompson parted ways with Skydance Animation after the hiring of Pixar founder John Lasseter, who departed Disney following allegations of inappropriate conduct. At the time, she had already been recording her lines for Luck, an animated project about the forces that control both good and bad fortune.

Now, Thompson (who was meant to voice the leader of the "good luck" faction) is breaking her silence with an open letter to Skydance addressing her reasons for quitting the film.

Published by The Los Angeles Times, the letter opens with:

"It feels very odd to me that you and your company would consider hiring someone with Mr. Lasseter’s pattern of misconduct given the present climate in which people with the kind of power that you have can reasonably be expected to step up to the plate."

The letter also includes a number of bullet-pointed questions posed by the Oscar-winning actress, who states that if Lasseter had founded his own company, things would have been different. However, she adds that since he has an alleged history of sexual misbehavior, it is not fair he is presumably being paid millions for his "second chance" at an established studio while Skydance employees (who had no say in the matter) are made to feel uncomfortable or even lose their jobs.

"I hope these queries make the level of my discomfort understandable," Thompson wrote near the end of the letter. "I regret having to step away because I love [director Alessandro Carloni] so much and think he is an incredibly creative director. But I can only do what feels right during these difficult times of transition and collective consciousness raising."

Last winter, Pixar announced that Lasseter would be taking a leave of absence after allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior were leveled against him. Once that period neared its end, Disney (which officially bought the animation studio in 2006) revealed that the famed animator would leave the company by the end of 2018.

Early last month, Lasseter was brought on to spearhead Skydance's animation department. While CEO David Ellison stood firm on his decision to bring Lasseter aboard, the hiring sparked a backlash.

Luck does not have a release date yet, and observers speculate the film may end up being pushed back as Skydance searches for someone to replace Thompson.