The trailer for Luck, a new animated film from David Ellison’s Skydance Animation and Apple TV+, was released on Friday. It looks like a cute movie about a talking black cat and the “department of luck” and how a human ruins everything. You know I would normally be into anything and everything about black cats—inspired by my own black cat, Pancake—but Luck isn’t just any movie. It’s also John Lasseter’s comeback movie. Remember him? The one-time powerhouse producer behind some of Pixar’s greatest hits, who was very ceremoniously released from Disney’s employment with lots well wishes and back pats amid allegations of improper behavior and career ruination? To recap: John Lasseter was (is?) a “hugger” who could not be trusted around female employees to the extent that he stifled and stunted the careers of women at Pixar. Like, he didn’t just harass women, he actively held them back, too.
And you might also remember Luck as the film Emma Thompson quit, citing Lasseter’s involvement and questioning what steps Skydance Animation was taking to ensure the safety—physical and career—of the women forced to work with him. After all, it’s not like the women of Skydance got a say in his hiring, David Ellison, spawn of tech billionaire Larry Ellison, sprung Lasseter on them and essentially told them to get on board or get out. So Luck isn’t just a movie, it's also the next phase in John Lasseter’s career, and since Emma Thompson’s callout in 2019, we don’t know how it’s going.
How are things for women at Skydance Animation? Luck is directed by Peggy Holmes, I’d love to hear from her. Or any of the women who worked below the line on the movie or staff the offices of Skydance Animation. How are people’s careers advancing since Ellison brought Lasseter onboard in 2019? Anyone finding themselves stalled out because they can’t attend meetings with Lasseter because he can’t keep his hands to himself? I WOULD like to enjoy this movie about a talking black cat, but I have too many questions about how the women at Skydance Animation are faring these days. Are things better? Or is it same story, different verse?