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John Musker



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John Musker born November 8, 1953. He is an American animation director. Along with Ron Clements, he makes up the duo of one of the Disney animation studio’s leading director teams. He attended Loyola Academy in Illinois and then graduated from Northwestern University, where he majored in English and drew cartoons for the Daily Northwestern. Musker met Ron Clements during the production of The Fox and the Hound in 1981, where he worked as a character animator under Clements and Cliff Nordberg. Musker teamed up with Clements as story artists on The Black Cauldron before they were removed from the project.

Following the green-lighting of Clements’s pitch for an adaptation of the children’s book series Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus into an animated feature, Musker and fellow story artist Burny Mattinson were assigned as the original directors while Dave Michener was brought in as an additional director. Due to a shortened production schedule and multiple story rewrites, Roy E. Disney assigned Mattinson to serve as director/producer while Ron Clements was brought in as another director.
Howard Ashman was instrumental during production of The Little Mermaid.

While working on The Great Mouse Detective, newly appointed Disney CEO and chairman Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg issued invitations to the animation staff for their first held “gong show” session. Demanding only five new ideas, Clements pitched an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid and a high-concept idea of Treasure Island in Space, which were both rejected by Katzenberg and Eisner. The next morning, Katzenberg approached Clements and asked him to expand his initial treatment.

With Mermaid in production in 1986, Musker joined Clements in expanding the original treatment into a twenty-page rough script, eliminating the role of the mermaid’s grandmother and expanding the roles of the Merman King and the sea witch, and were later joined by Off-Broadway musical composers Howard Ashman and Alan Menken who collaborated on the song and musical score. Released in November 1989, The Little Mermaid was praised as a milestone in rebirth of Disney animation by film critics and collected a domestic gross of $84 million, cumulatively receiving $184.2 million worldwide.

When work on Mermaid was wrapped, Clements and Musker re-developed their idea for Treasure Planet, but the studio still expressed disinterest. Instead, the two directors were offered three projects in development: Swan Lake, King of the Jungle, and Aladdin. The directors eventually choice the latter desiring a wacky, faster-paced, and more contemporary mood separate from the previous Disney animated films.

In July 2013, it was revealed that the film, titled Moana, would be “a Polynesian tale involving the island folk and the idols made famous the world over”. On November 10, 2014, Disney confirmed Moana would be released on November 23, 2016.

Director (5 Movies)

Writer (4 Movies)

Feb 25, 2016 (ID: 17934) By Sandi

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