Disney News: 'Monsters University' Director; 'Winnie the Pooh' Gets Zooey Deschanel

Monsters University Winnie the Pooh

Today's batch of news concerns two upcoming animated titles from Walt Disney Pictures: Pixar's Monsters, Inc. prequel, which was recently confirmed to be titled Monsters University, and this summer's traditionally-animated Winnie the Pooh.

Disney has officially announced that Monsters University will be directed by Dan Scanlon, who previously worked as a story artist on Pixar films like Toy Story 3, and helmed the Cars-related short "Mater and the Ghostlight". He'll make his animated feature-length directorial debut with the Monsters Inc. prequel.

Word has also gotten out that actress/singer/songwriter Zooey Deschanel has recorded three songs for Disney's upcoming Winnie the Pooh, including her own version of the original theme song for the bear of very little brain. Deschanel is best known for her indie roots, with respect to both her filmography (500 Days of Summer, Almost Famous) and her musical career as the female half of She & Him.

Here's the logic behind Deschanel being brought on for Winnie the Pooh, according to co-director Don Hall:

“Her music actually embodies the underlying spirit of the movie. We’re taking something that has vintage roots in the sixties, but spinning it in our own way and updating it. If you listen to Zooey’s music with She & Him—that’s their sound to a tee.”

Check out a preview of Deschanel performing the original song "So Long" for Winnie the Pooh below:


The Winnie the Pooh theatrical trailer was charming enough and it would be difficult to imagine the new film bungling up simple but lovable characters like Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, or Piglet. Depending on your musical preferences, Deschanel's involvement with the movie is either great news or just something to shrug about. I'll leave that decision to your discretion.

As for Monsters University: the original Monsters, Inc. was yet another clever and touching title from Pixar, but admittedly one that seems better fit for a prequel instead of a sequel (if the franchise is going to continue on, that is). Pixar has yet to misstep and release a movie that's flat-out terrible, so that bodes well for the new Monsters flick.


Winnie the Pooh arrives in U.S. theaters this summer on July 15th.

Monsters University is scheduled for theatrical release on November 2nd, 2012.

Source: Walt Disney Pictures

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