Variety reports that Disney has closed a major deal for openly gay filmmaker Dean DeBlois and his straight Lilo & Stitch codirector Chris Sanders to write, direct, and produce animated and live-action films under the duo's newly created Stormcoast Pictures shingle. The deal calls for DeBlois and Sanders to earn seven figures for films that get made. What sets this pact apart is the fact that their payday from Disney will be the same whether the films produced are animated or not. Both filmmakers have spent years at the studio and first worked closely together storyboarding Mulan.
"We found that we shared a sensibility for comedy and emotion and a passion for simpler animation," said DeBlois. "Our inspiration for Lilo & Stitch was Dumbo, which had a simple concept and a lot of emotion. And a hand-drawn watercolor technique we used, which had been abandoned since the '40s." DeBlois is currently writing a live-action family film, The Gumshoe Chronicles, which he will direct, while Sanders plans to direct an as-yet-untitled computer-animated project.