Hero Emma Thompson Exits Skydance Film After John Lasseter Hire

Turns out hiring notorious harassers has consequences.

When John Lasseter, recently ejected from Pixar over pervasive sexual harassment allegations, was hired as animation head at Skydance Animation, there was...consternation. Understandably so, given that Lasseter was reportedly so prone to harassment that he literally had in-office minders to curb the behaviour, and having him simply move over to another well-funded animation studio didn't seem to suggest any real change was happening.

The move has prompted change, though, in the form of Emma Thompson pulling out of upcoming Skydance Animation feature Luck, for which she had begun recording a voice role (as the head of an organisation representing good luck, in competition with one representing bad luck). Her reason for leaving is, according to The Hollywood Reporter's sources, "concerns about working with Lasseter."

Thompson's exit sets an interesting precedent in the #MeToo era. If a precedent is set of talent exiting projects because of allegations against a colleague, studios and productions with problematic staff might have a choice on their hands between keeping those staff and attracting other talent. Given that Bryan Singer continues to get work, it seems likely studios will side with profitable assholes, but this could become an intriguing trend if others follow Thompson's example.

Skydance Animation itself is an offshoot of David Ellison's company Skydance Media, which has produced the last three Mission: Impossibles, the last two Star Treks, Annihilation, True Grit, and Ang Lee's upcoming batshit crazy-sounding Will Smith vehicle Gemini Man. Though the company's animation studio is new and yet to release a feature, it's got four films in the tubes, from the co-directors of Shrek, Tangled, and Kung Fu Panda 3. Point is, Lasseter's in a very similar position to where he was before, just not quite on a Disney scale. The company recently promoted production head Holly Edwards to company president, likely at least in part an attempt at some PR course-correction. They know what they did.

Luck's voice cast hasn't been announced yet, and the movie won't be released for another two years. Thompson's role will be recast, the movie will likely continue to be made, and Lasseter will likely continue to hold his job at Skydance. So it goes. We're all very tired.