The Disney princess fairy-tale movie genre is back, and with traditional hand-drawn animation, too. John Lasseter has announced the next Disney animated movie, slated for 2009: The Frog Princess. It's unclear whether this is a riff on the fairy tale "The Frog Prince," in which a young girl rescues a frog that turns out to be a handsome prince, or original material. The movie will bring something new for Disney -- the studio's first African-American princess/heroine. This could open whole new vistas for Disney marketing with their popular "princess" line of merchandise. Lasseter also announced that Toy Story 3 is scheduled to release in 2010, and that the script is being written by Michael Arndt, who just won an Oscar for his Little Miss Sunshine screenplay.

The Frog Princess
will be set in New Orleans, which I find intriguing. I assume this will be some fantasy New Orleans of the past, with harmless voodoo queens and street vendors dressed as pirates and bayous adjacent to the French Quarter, which is the only part of New Orleans that Hollywood knows about. Disney has already announced there will be a "soulful singing alligator." I can hear the opening number now: "New Orleans! Home of pirates, drunks and whores --" No, wait, that's from The Simpsons. The music will actually be written by Randy Newman, who's been composing regularly for Pixar films, including Toy Story 3. After the announcement, Newman previewed a song from The Frog Princess with help from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.