'Spellbound': Music Legend Alan Menken to Score a Non-Disney Animated Film

'Spellbound': Music Legend Alan Menken to Score a Non-Disney Animated Film

May 21, 2020

Alan Menken can never take a break from being a Disney Legend, but the Oscar-winning composer and lyricist can take a break from scoring a Disney movie every now and then. Menken is lending his extraordinary talents to Skydance Animation’s upcoming Spellbound, an animated musical fantasy that sounds right up the composer’s wheelhouse.

Deadline reports that Menken is set to pen the music and score for Spellbound, an animated musical fantasy following a young girl who must break the spell splitting her kingdom in two. Sounds like something Menken has done before, right? But there’s one thing setting this apart from most of Menken’s most famous works: It’s not for Disney.

Menken is heading over to Skydance Animation for the project, teaming up with lyricist and frequent collaborator Glenn Slater (Tangled) and music producer Chris Montan (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen) to create the music and score for Spellbound.

Helmed by Shrek director Vicky Jenson from a script by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin (Mulan) and Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the BeastThe Lion King), Spellbound is set “in a magical world, where a young girl must break the spell splitting her kingdom in two.” The film will be one of Skydance’s first animated projects since the animation division was formed in 2017, and the studio seems to be recruiting as many animation veterans as possible for the fledgling animation studio. In addition to Menken, Elizabeth Martin and Linda Woolverton both hail from Disney, while Jenson is responsible for the movie that put DreamWorks on the map. It will be an interesting combination, as Jenson’s works, which include’ Shark Tale, align with DreamWorks’ referential, tongue-in-cheek humor, while Menkin, Martin, and Woolverton are as sincere as you can get as old hands at Disney.

But there’s no discounting Menken’s own sense of humor — his short-lived ABC musical comedy series and passion project Galavant allowed the composer to tap into his old satirical humor that he honed in his early Broadway musical days with Little Shop of Horrors and the like. The summary for Spellbound is as simple and by-the-numbers as you could get, but this team plus Menken might give us something unexpected.

“Alan Menken’s music defines a generation and is loved by audiences around the world,” said Jenson. “From day one, we knew this magical world would be full of music, and we knew only Alan could bring it to life. With Glenn and Chris onboard, their combined creativity adds so much depth and complexity to the emotions of our characters and this very unique story. It is a true honor to collaborate with this team.”

“I’m thrilled to be united with so many talented collaborators and very much look forward to working with Vicky Jenson, Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin,” Menken added. “Spellbound promises to be quite unique and inspiring.”

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