Jeffrey Katzenberg Kind Of Hated Animation

Ah, the Cannes film festival. Where uber-moguls like DreamWorks heads Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg finally break their cone of silence and grant interviews all in an attempt to boost ticket sales for their summer blockbusters. The AP has a rare interview with Katzenberg in which the man best-known for reinvigorating Disney’s cartoon-movie biz says he was basically forced into the job on his first day as the head of Disney’s film division:

“In preparation for a meeting with Eisner, Katzenberg made a list of 10 critical things he needed to do at their new outfit.

“Nowhere on that list was there any mention of animation,” Katzenberg said. “When the meeting was about to come to an end, Michael stopped and he said, ‘Oh, by the way, do you see that building over there?’ And he pointed out the window of his office. …

“‘That’s where they make animated films.’ I went, ‘Oh, really?’ He said, ‘Yes, and it’s your problem.’ Honestly, that was my introduction to the animation business. That was my first encounter with it. I saw two, three, four of these movies as a kid growing up. I had zero interest in them. I am not a student of animation. I have no training on animated movies. A hundred per cent of it occurred on the job after arriving at the Disney company.”

Perhaps that fresh perspective is responsible for Katzenberg’s success. Still, it’s no wonder that he was itching for the president title—anything to get away from those pesky animators–and that he’s still a tad bitter towards the Mouse House, as he discusses his Pixar envy.

Keep your eyes peeled for Shrek-worthy Disney potshots in Kung Fu Panda.

Read more of the AP’s interview with Katzenberg from Cannes here.

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