Emma Thompson Proves Actors Don't Have to Play Along 


When Skydance Animation hired John Lasseter, the former chief creative officer at Pixar and Disney, to head up its animation department in January, Time’s Up released a statement. The group said hiring Lasseter to such a high-level position, considering that he left Pixar following sexual harassment allegations, “endorses and perpetuates a broken system that allows powerful men to act without consequence.”

Skydance may be okay with bringing in a guy who admitted to some “missteps” when he resigned from his last job—but that doesn’t mean that high profile actors need to endorse Skydance’s decision or continue to work with men like Lasseter. See: Emma Thompson, who just stepped down from a new, “large-scale animated film” produced by Skydance. Per the Guardian:

Thompson had been due to voice a role in [the film] Luck, produced by Skydance Animation, but reportedly left the film after Skydance controversially hired Lasseter to head its animation division.

Thompson has shown before that she’s open to learning and changing her mind about powerful men in Hollywood. In 2009, Thompson removed her name from a petition in support of Roman Polanski after sitting down with a college student who changed the actor’s mind.

This time, without saying a word (she “had no comment beyond confirming her departure from the movie,” according to Variety), Thompson is undermining Skydance’s credibility—and throwing a wrench in the production of a movie that would have been one of Lasseter’s first in his new position. The MeToo movement can often feel like all build-up and all release; everything happens all at once, and then no one remembers any of it when it comes time to book the next comedy show or find a director to helm another Oscar-bait movie. But Thompson’s decision—even if it’s not a large-scale, coordinated movement—proves that actors have recourse and don’t have to tolerate Hollywood’s often empty talk on gender equality.

For so long the narrative has been that, if actors speak up against abuses of power, they suddenly can’t find work. Not every actor has Thompson’s clout, but it’s nice to see her use it so effectively.

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