NEW ORLEANS - The Walt Disney Co. has started production on an animated musical fairy tale called "The Frog Princess," which will be set in New Orleans and feature the Walt Disney Studio's first black princess.
The company unveiled the plans Thursday at its annual shareholders' meeting in New Orleans.
John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Disney and the Disney-owned unit Pixar Animation Studios, said the movie would return to the classic hand-drawn animation process, instead of using computer animation that has become the industry standard. He called the film "an American fairy tale."
"The film's New Orleans setting and strong princess character give the film lots of excitement and texture," Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook said.
The movie will be scored by Randy Newman, who also wrote the music for Disney's "Toy Story," "A Bug's Life," "Toy Story 2," "Monsters, Inc." and "Cars."
Newman performed a song from the score for the shareholders.
John Musker and Ron Clements, who co-directed "The Little Mermaid," "Aladdin," and "Hercules" will co-direct the movie. The pair also wrote the story for the film.
Disney said its new animated princess - Maddy - will be added to its collection of animated princesses used at the company's theme parks and on consumer products.
The film is set for release in 2009.