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Disney Favorite Alan Menken Joins Skydance Animation’s ‘Spellbound’

Menken is known for his work on many beloved children’s films, including The Little Mermaid.



Disney Favorite Alan Menken Joins Skydance Animation’s ‘Spellbound’

The hype surrounding Skydance Animation has reached new heights with talk about their newest animated project, Spellbound, from their Annecy International Film Festival Panel. The Skydance animation team, in coordination with director Vicky Jenson, has been working on the film since the start of the pandemic (for Jenson, even longer).

However, at the recent film festival, Jenson spoke freely for the first time about the movie, the cast, and the characters. For fans of musicals and Disney animation, Jenson let loose another bombshell about the Spellbound project– the score is to be done by Alan Menken of Disney soundtrack fame.

The choice of a musical as the fledgling animation company’s second full-length animated feature film was a surprise. However, once announced, there was no surprise that Skydance Animation would follow John Lasseter’s influence when it came to the release of this project.

Lasseter, head of animation at Skydance Animation, came to Skydance after having worked at Disney for many years. His influence on the company since his arrival in 2019 is readily apparent, showing elements of his time at Disney and Pixar while also offering something new.

What has been made clear from the initial peaks into Spellbound is that it’s a completely different type of animation from any we’ve seen, and there’s reason to be excited about it.

Spellbound’s Recent Annecy Film Festival Panel

Recently, Spellbound was given its panel at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, which highlights the best in animated films from around the world. The festival first started in 1960 in the town of Annecy and initially took place once every two years.

However, in 1998, as the animated film industry grew, so did Annecy. It turned into an annual festival, and animators & animation fans have come from far and wide to attend. This festival is often where the first news about upcoming movies is released, and that was true of Spellbound.

Festivalgoers at Annecy not only get to watch beloved classics in some of the most gorgeous scenery in all of France but also get to watch and listen to previously unreleased clips of animated features. Skydance was able to show off Spellbound this past June – highlighting its main characters, movie clips, and even playing never-before-heard music from the feature-length animated musical.

The Spellbound Score is written by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater. Many of the songs from the soundtrack were still in the demo stage at the time of the festival, and because of this, Annecy listeners got the rare honor to listen to Alan Menken singing his songs.

“A couple of them are Alan Menken’s actual voice”, boasted Vicky Jenson, director of Spellbound, “which no one ever gets to hear.”

Followers of Skydance Animation have known for a while now that Alan Menken would be working on this project with the company. The addition of Glen Slater also happened early on but piqued the interest of fans of musicals.

Menken is known for his work on many beloved children’s films, including The Little Mermaid, Beauty, and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, and more. This era in the Disney timeline was known as the Disney Renaissance.

Menken’s music and lyrics bring a dramatic feeling to the settings of animated films, amplifying the storylines they portray and aiding the viewer in understanding the plot past a “children’s movie”.

Vicky Jenson spoke more about this at the Annecy Film Festival Panel, 

“These are completely original songs”, she said, teasing the soundtrack for Spellbound. “We haven’t heard anything from Alan Menken and Glen Slater in a long time. A lot of great movies have come out recently but a lot of it’s a couple of decades old. I’m excited we’re going to have brand new original music.”

The last film that Menken and Slater worked on together was Disney’s Tangled, which came out in 2010. The feature song from Tangled, “I See The Light”, was nominated for a Golden Globe award as well as an Oscar.

Alan Menken is known to the Skydance family, though this will be the first project on which he has worked. He and John Lasseter worked together on several projects while at Disney, including Tangled and Beauty and the Beast

As for other key performers highlighted on the panel, Rachel Zegler made a notable appearance. A relative newcomer to the movie world, Zegler made her big hit on Broadway in West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg. Although one might think that the Skydance team likely found Zegler after she came onto the Broadway scene, Vicky Jenson has jokingly laid claim to Rachel Zegler’s fame.

“I kind of like to think we discovered her because we saw her videos on YouTube around the same time that Steven Spielberg did…she is just fantastic. She’s a delight, she’s funny and such a pro.”

The production team at Skydance Animation has a recent history of casting newcomers. Eva Noblezada, who also was relatively unheard of outside of Broadway, was cast as the lead in their first feature-length film, Luck.

But why would Skydance pick such an ambitious project for what will be only their second feature-length film? Perhaps it has to do with the history of the production’s major players, like John Lasseter and Vicky Jenson.

Vicky Jenson, Skydance Animation, & What Else We Know About ‘Spellbound’

Fans of animation – especially musical animated features – should care about Vicky Jenson being part of the Spellbound project. Jenson has a history with animated children’s musicals. Jenson was the mastermind behind one of the most beloved computer-animated films of all time – Shrek.

Jenson was also integral to Shark Tale and The Road to El Dorado. The latter won a Critic’s Choice Award for Best Score.

Spellbound has been a labor of love for all at Skydance, including Vicky Jenson. Jenson has been part of the Spellbound crew for longer than the head of animation John Lasseter – for over six years. Spellbound has been in the works since 2017 when Paramount + first made a movie deal with Paramount +.

The deal eventually transferred to AppleTV+, where Blush, Luck, and now Spellbound can be viewed on demand.

The June Annecy International Animation Film Festival was the first time viewers got to hear musical numbers from Alan Menken & Glen Slater. However, it was also where those waiting for the movie’s release finally found out a little more about the movie itself.

Spellbound is the magical tale of a young princess. Princess Elian (Rachel Zegler) finds herself in the throes of a wicked curse that has turned her mother and father into beasts – beasts who do not know their daughter and are bent on destroying the castle.

Elian must simultaneously find the cure to the spell plaguing her parents – and keep their status a secret – all while keeping the kingdom running smoothly.

Spellbound features a star-studded musical-loving cast including:

  • Rachel Zegler as Princess Elian
  • Javier Bardem as King Solon
  • Nicole Kidman as Queen Ellsmere
  • Jordan Fisher as Callan
  • Nathan Lane as The Oracle of the Sun
  • Andre De Shields as the Oracle of the Moon
  • Jenifer Lewis as Minister Nazara Prone
  • John Lithgow as Minister Bolinar
  • Tituss Burgess in a to-be-announced role

There is not yet any word on whether the film will get a theatrical release. However, musical fans can expect Spellbound to grace their screens sometime in 2024, with likely awards to come from the reuniting of Menken & Slater for the anticipated soundtrack.

The GlamourBuff Team is a set of experienced writers associated with the Glamour Buff magazine, reporting world news, celebrity lifestyle, and exclusive Hollywood details.


How Deadite Alyssa Sutherland from ‘Evil Dead’ Transformed Herself from Model to Actress?



How Deadite Alyssa Sutherland from 'Evil Dead' Transformed Herself from Model to Actress?

The alluring actress Alyssa Sutherland, who just swept the horror community off her feet as the possessed Natalie in “Evil Dead Rise,” has a career trajectory that defies convention. Her career started in the bright lights of the fashion business, not on bloody, gory movie sets. How did this Australian beauty go from walking the haute couture catwalks to facing evil forces on screen?

A Model Start: 

The narrative of Sutherland starts in Brisbane, Australia. At an early age, Alyssa Sutherland was discovered in a mall and moved fast through the modeling ranks. Her remarkable physical attributes secured her highly sought-after endorsements for labels such as Bulgari and Ralph Lauren, and she was featured on the pages of esteemed publications like Glamour and Australian Style. Success as a model seemed to be her destiny. But something else gnawed at Sutherland like a spark.

The Need to Take Action:

Although modeling provided a stable income and an opulent lifestyle, Sutherland’s true ambition was to become an actress. She relates, “I had wanted to be an actress… I was doing drama in high school.” This desire was not just a passing fancy for her. She had a deep-rooted passion for acting, which she nurtured even during her modeling days. But as a child growing up in Australia, an acting profession seemed like a far-off ideal. Despite the seeming constraints, Sutherland’s passion for telling tales and taking on personalities remained strong. 

The Leap of Faith: 

Sutherland took a risky move because she was determined to follow her passion. Despite a successful modeling career, she put off attending college and started her acting profession. There was no denying her skill and commitment. In 2009, she was cast in her debut on-screen part in the short film “The Verge”. Sutherland kept refining her technique and accumulating a filmography demonstrating her range, but this was only the beginning.

Beyond the Runway: 

Sutherland’s acting career is a testament to her versatility. She has portrayed powerful female characters in historical dramas such as ‘Vikings’ and the Australian miniseries ‘Janet King,’ and showcased her comedic timing in shows like ‘The Astronaut Wives Club.’ However, it was her venture into the horror genre that truly captivated audiences, demonstrating her ability to excel in a variety of roles.

Unleashing the Deadite: 

Sutherland was cast as Natalie in the much-awaited “Evil Dead Rise,” the follow-up to the beloved classic horror film franchise, in 2023. This film was not just another project for her. It was a significant milestone in her career, marking her transition from the basic model to the evil character. It was different from your usual role of the damsel-in-distress. After falling under demonic forces’ control, Natalie becomes a formidable force. Sutherland underwent rigorous physical training and delved deeply into the character’s mind to fully accept the role’s emotional and physical demands. Her status as a rising star in the horror genre was cemented by the positive reviews she received for her performance. 

It’s a significant step to have the guts to abandon a successful career to follow one’s passion, but it can be challenging to make that kind of leap in a field where people tend to box artists into their first big success. Sutherland faced constraints on the kinds of parts the business would consider her for rather than misgivings about her ability to transition from modeling to acting. This is how she phrased it:

“I don’t think anyone doubts the ability of models to become actors. The business is not a whole pigeonhole model because I believe plenty have proven themselves. I believe that you struggle with saying, “But she’s too pretty to be a lawyer,” particularly if you’re a woman. She is too gorgeous to be like this. However, we also have Brad Pitt, a very attractive man with a wide range of acting skills. That has proven to be a challenging obstacle for me to conquer, which is why Evil Dead Rise is such a blessing.”

Evil Dead Rise turned out to be a blessing in many ways. Sutherland could not only swing for the fences, get dirty, and deliver one slick one-liner after another in her role as Ellie, but she also got to go big in a place where there was no fear. 

Takeaways from the Transformation:

Sutherland’s transformation from model to actor provides insightful inspiration for budding artists. It emphasizes the importance of pursuing your goals, regardless of how unusual they may seem. It exemplifies the strength of commitment and tenacity, especially in the face of early uncertainties and obstacles. More significantly, it illustrates how acting can change people and how it may push limits and alter perceptions. 

Alyssa Sutherland’s Future:

With “Evil Dead Rise,” Sutherland’s career is about to soar to even higher levels. She is in high demand as an actress because of her versatility in acting and her ability to play nuanced roles. Whether she’s strutting down the catwalk with style or taking on demons in a fierce manner on screen, Alyssa Sutherland never fails to enthrall viewers and surpass expectations. There’s no telling what terrifyingly fun roles she’ll play in the future, but one thing is certain: nothing.

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Small-Town Stories Are Changing the Landscape of Modern Films, Here’s How



Small-Town Stories Are Changing the Landscape of Modern Films, Here’s How

In recent years, the film industry has significantly shifted towards stories set in small towns, bringing fresh perspectives and untold narratives to the forefront.

These stories offer a glimpse into the nuanced lives of communities often overlooked in mainstream cinema, challenging audiences to engage with diverse experiences and environments. This movement towards small-town tales is not just a trend but a transformative force in modern filmmaking, reshaping how stories are told and what stories are considered worth telling.

The Rise of the Underdog

One notable example of this shift can be seen in the Possum Trot movie, a film that brings the intricate dynamics of rural life into the limelight. Such movies go beyond mere settings; they delve into the heart and soul of communities, showcasing the strength, resilience, and complexity of people living far from urban sprawl.

This focus on underrepresented locales has broadened the thematic horizons of cinema and democratized storytelling, allowing for more voices and experiences to be heard.

Authentic Representation

Small town stories provide a platform for authentic representation, showcasing the realities of life in these communities. This authenticity resonates with audiences, offering a break from the often-glamorized portrayals of city life in movies. The realness of the characters, their struggles, and their triumphs strike a chord, creating a more inclusive and relatable cinematic experience.

Diverse Storytelling Perspectives

The shift towards small-town narratives has introduced a variety of storytelling perspectives, enriching the film industry with diverse tales that might otherwise remain untold. These stories challenge stereotypes and offer a more nuanced understanding of places and people frequently marginalized or misunderstood in mainstream media.

Innovative Storytelling Techniques

Filmmakers exploring small town stories often employ innovative storytelling techniques to capture the essence of these communities. From unique cinematography that highlights the natural beauty of rural landscapes to narratives that weave together the folklore and traditions of a place, these films push the boundaries of conventional storytelling.

Economic Impact on Small Towns

Interestingly, films set in small towns can have a positive economic impact on the locations where they are shot. They bring attention to lesser-known areas, potentially boosting tourism and local business. This symbiotic relationship between filmmaking and location benefits the art of cinema and the communities that inspire it.

Fostering Community and Connection

Small town stories often center around community, belonging, and connection themes. These universal themes resonate widely, reminding viewers of the importance of human connections and the power of community, regardless of the setting. Films highlighting these aspects can foster a sense of unity and understanding among audiences.

Challenging Mainstream Norms

By bringing small town narratives to the forefront, modern films challenge mainstream norms and expand what is considered worthy of cinematic exploration. This shift not only diversifies the stories seen on screen but also challenges audiences to question and expand their perspectives.

The Future of Small Town Stories in Cinema

As the film industry continues to evolve, the importance of small town stories remains undeniable. These narratives counterbalance the urban-centric tales that dominate cinema, providing a refreshing change of pace and depth. The continued interest in small town stories signifies a broader desire for films that reflect the full spectrum of human experience, promising a future of cinema that is more inclusive, diverse, and representative of our world.

Incorporating small town stories profoundly changes the landscape of modern films. These narratives bring depth, diversity, and authenticity to cinema, challenging conventional storytelling and offering audiences new perspectives on the world. 

As filmmakers continue to explore the rich tapestry of life in small communities, we can expect to see a broader, more inclusive representation of human experiences on screen. The shift towards these stories reflects a changing industry and society, which values the stories of all its members, regardless of where they live.

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Three True-Crime Documentaries Coming to Netflix in April 2024

Time to snuggle with a cozy blanket and some popcorns!




Three True-Crime Documentaries Coming to Netflix in April 2024

Netflix has a wide range of TV shows and movies.

Alongside them, Netflix also hosts a lot of documentaries. It has a wide range of documentaries but the true-crime genre is the one that has its audience sitting on the edge of their seats.

There are various true-crime documentaries and docuseries on the platform, including American Nightmare, Girl in the Picture, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, Tiger King, and Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer, among others.

In April 2024, various documentaries and docuseries are coming to Netflix. However, the three most anticipated true-crime shows are — What Jennifer Did, Crime Scene Berlin: Nightlife Killer, and Files of the Unexplained

Here is all we know about it.

‘What Jennifer Did’ 

What Jennifer Did is an upcoming documentary directed by Jenny Popplewell, the creator of another famous Netflix documentary, American Murder: The Family Next Door.

What Jennifer Did digs into the frightening story of Jennifer Pan, who plotted to murder her parents. The crime, disguised as a heist gone wrong, unravels through police interrogation film and interviews, showing Pan’s network of lies leading up to the incident.

Pan is a Canadian woman who was convicted of a 2010 kill-for-hire attack on her parents, which killed her mother and injured her father. The crime occurred at the Pan house in Unionville, Markham, Ontario, in the Greater Toronto Area. 

According to her exact account, several gunmen entered the house, forcefully retrained her and her parents, then shot them. Her father, Huei Hann, was sent to the hospital, and her mother, Bich Ha, died instantaneously.

A whole new image appears as the law enforcement personnel piece together the facts. Pan plotted the entire operation with her drug dealer boyfriend, Daniel Wong, whom her parents had forbidden her from dating. 

This motivated her to seek his help and devise a plan to murder her parents. This threatening notion was carried out in the form of a burglary, with Pan as the victim. The documentary will also concentrate on her arrest and the legal processes.

What Jennifer Did will be released on April 10, 2024.

‘Crime Scene Berlin: Nightlife Killer’ 

As the name of the documentary suggests, Crime Scene Berlin: Nightlife Killer is based on true events that occurred in Berlin. The series examines the case of several odd and unusual killings.

In 2012, three guys were murdered and robbed in Berlin after being unintentionally drugged. While the murderer was called ‘The Darkroom Murderer’ at the time, just one occurred in a dark room at a homosexual bar in Berlin. 

‘Crime Scene Berlin: Nightlife Killer’ will be released on April 3, 2024.

‘Crime Scene Berlin: Nightlife Killer’ will be released on April 3, 2024. (Source: Netflix)

However, the murderer did look for guys in and around the city’s party scene to prey on victims. Only when one of his targets survived his attack and the assassin attempted to purchase a train ticket with one of the deceased men’s credit cards did the inquiry begin to narrow.

Jan Zabeil and Caroline Schaper directed this true crime show and Netflix will begin streaming the series on April 3, 2024. 

‘Files of the Unexplained’

Files of the Unexplained is an upcoming terrifying eight-episode docu-series that talks about strange encounters, weird disappearances, disturbing incidents, the mystery of mutilated feet washing up, and more. 

This investigative documentary series examines genuine stories that defy explanations and talk about witnessing weird encounters and strange events. 

Files of the Unexplained kind of dives into a similar area as its previous documentaries like Unsolved Mysteries, Haunted, and 28 Days Haunted. According to its plot on Netflix, the series is described as “Eerie encounters, bizarre disappearances, haunting events, and more perplexing phenomena are explored in this chilling investigative docuseries.”

The docuseries will be released on April 3, 2024.

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