The world of animated musicals is about to be enchanted once again with the upcoming release of “Spellbound,” a new film from the creative genius of John Lasseter. This highly anticipated project is a collaboration between Skydance Animation and Apple Original Films, set to premiere on Apple TV+ in 2024. While the exact release date remains under wraps, we’ve gathered some exciting details about the film that is sure to whet the appetite of animation and/or musical enthusiasts.
The Plot of Spellbound
“Spellbound” weaves a fairy tale set in the magical kingdom of Lambria, home to a loving king, queen, and their cherished daughter, Ellian. The idyllic life of the royal family takes a dramatic turn when a mysterious spell transforms the king and queen into monstrous beings, leaving Princess Ellian to grapple with the unenviable task of managing the kingdom and simultaneously dealing with her transformed parents, who no longer recognize her or even know her name. The plot promises to be a riveting journey that will keep children — and parents — enthralled as Ellian strives to break the spell and restore her family to their former selves.
The Voice Talent
John Lasseter’s films are renowned for their stellar voice casts, and “Spellbound” is no exception to the tradition. The film includes a star-studded lineup of Hollywood’s finest, including Javier Bardem, Nicole Kidman, John Lithgow, Nathan Lane, Jenifer Lewis, André De Shields, and Tituss Burgess. The role of Princess Ellian is voiced by the acclaimed and talented Rachel Zegler, who gained wide recognition for her performance in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.” Notably, Zegler was chosen for the role of Ellian even before her rise to fame, attesting to her undeniable talent.
The Musical Number
Music always plays an integral part in a John Lasseter film, and “Spellbound” promises to deliver an enchanting musical experience. The film features original songs composed by the legendary Alan Menken, with lyrics penned by Glenn Slater. The soundtrack includes a grand opening number that sets the stage for the story and a poignant ballad performed by Rachel Zegler as Princess Ellian. This heartfelt song revealed at the Annecy Animation Festival, captures Ellian’s sorrow over the loss of her parents and the life she once lived, and, judging by the overwhelmingly positive reaction from the audience at the festival, has the potential to become a separate hit all on its own, like so many other John Lasseter movie songs.
The Animation Work
The animation for “Spellbound” is primarily being done by Skydance Animation’s Madrid-based facility, which reportedly has influenced the look of the film’s backdrop of the Kingdom of Lambria. The kingdom’s design draws inspiration from the architecture of old Spain, featuring the same Moorish arches and domed rooftops that abound in that part of the country. This unique aesthetic will surely add a layer of visual richness to the film that will appeal to children and adults.
Apple’s multi-year contract with Skydance Animation ensures that “Spellbound” will reach audiences worldwide, although it’s not yet known if there will be a theatrical release in addition to the release on Apple. At any rate, while the specific release date is still a closely guarded secret, the buzz around the film is palpable. Given Lasseter’s track record of creating beloved animated films such as “Toy Story,” “Cars,” “Frozen,” and “Finding Dory,” fans can expect “Spellbound” to be another captivating addition to this impressive lineup.
As the anticipation builds, one thing is clear: John Lasseter’s magic touch is set to spellbind audiences once again with this new animated musical. So, mark your calendars for 2024 and prepare to be enchanted by the world of “Spellbound.”