Brenda Chapman

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Brenda Chapman
Born (1962-11-01) November 1, 1962 (age 56)
ResidenceTamalpais Valley, California[1]
Alma materCalifornia Institute of the Arts
OccupationAnimator, director, storyboard artist
Years activeMid-1980s–present
Notable work
Beauty and the Beast
The Lion King
The Little Mermaid
The Prince of Egypt
Spouse(s)Kevin Lima
ChildrenEmma Rose Lima

Brenda Chapman (born November 1, 1962)[2][3][4] is an American writer, animation story artist and director. In 1998, she became the first woman to direct an animated feature from a major studio, DreamWorks Animation's The Prince of Egypt.[5] She co-directed the Disney/Pixar film Brave, becoming the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.[6][7]

Life and career[edit]

Chapman was born in Beason, Illinois[8] as the youngest of five.[9] She went to Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois, receiving her Associate of Arts degree.[10] She then moved to California and studied animation at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). During her summer breaks, she began her professional career working in syndicated television animation. After graduating with a BFA in character animation, she was a story trainee on the Disney animated film The Little Mermaid. She was one of several key story artists on Disney's Beauty and the Beast, where she worked closely with future Disney director Roger Allers to define many of the key sequences and motifs used in the film. She later served as head of story, the first woman to do so in an animated feature film, for Disney's animated classic The Lion King.

Chapman also worked in story and development for other Disney animated films such as The Rescuers Down Under, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Fantasia 2000. She joined DreamWorks Animation at its inception in the fall of 1994.

Chapman was one of a team of three directors who worked on 1998's The Prince of Egypt, along with Steve Hickner and Simon Wells. She became the first woman to land a directing role in an animated feature by a major studio;[7] three others had helmed independent efforts before her (Lotte Reiniger of The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Joy Batchelor of Animal Farm, and Arna Selznick of The Care Bears Movie).[7][11]

She also worked on Chicken Run, and several projects in development while at DreamWorks.

Chapman moved to Pixar in 2003, where she had a brief stint on Cars before beginning development on and directing Brave. Chapman conceived the project and was announced as the director of the film, making her Pixar's first female director.[12] In October 2010, however, she was replaced by Mark Andrews following creative disagreements.[13] There were rumors that she subsequently left Pixar, but she remained on staff until shortly after the release of Brave,[14] and started work as a consultant at Lucasfilm at the end of July 2012,[15] where she helped solve story problems of Strange Magic.[16] When asked whether she will return to Pixar, Chapman responded: "That door is closed. I made the right decision to leave and firmly closed that door. I have no desire to go back there. The atmosphere and the leadership doesn't fit well with me."[16] She has stated a sequel to Brave is inevitable.[17]

In 2013, she returned to her old employer, DreamWorks Animation,[2][18] where she helped in developing Rumblewick that had a strong female protagonist and was described as "funny with magic and heart."[16][19] As of 2016, she is developing projects for Chapman Lima Productions, with her husband Kevin Lima.[19][20]

In May 2016, it was reported that Chapman would make her live-action directorial debut with Come Away, a fantasy drama that serves as a prequel to Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan.[21] In May 2018, it was reported that Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo were cast to play the parents of Alice and Peter, with Jolie and Oyelowo also serving as producers.[22][23] Anna Chancellor and Clarke Peters joined in August, with filming in London starting that same month.[24] Additionally, on June 6, 2018, Chapman was revealed to be writing the story for the 2019 remake of The Lion King.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Chapman is married to director Kevin Lima (A Goofy Movie, Tarzan, Enchanted), whom she met at California Institute of the Arts.[2] They have a daughter, Emma Rose Lima, who was the inspiration for Mérida, Brave's young princess.[2][18][26] Chapman claims Scottish ancestry.[27] In 2014, Chapman urged Scots to back independence in the September referendum.[17]


Year Title Notes
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit in between artist: additional animation
1989 The Little Mermaid story artist
1990 The Rescuers Down Under story artist
1991 Beauty and the Beast story
1994 The Lion King head of story
1996 The Hunchback of Notre Dame story
1998 The Prince of Egypt director
with Steve Hickner and Simon Wells
singing voice of Miriam
1999 Fantasia 2000 story
2000 The Road to El Dorado additional story artist
Chicken Run additional story artist
2001 Shrek special thanks
2003 Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas special thanks
2006 Cars story artist
2008 WALL-E senior creative team
2009 Up additional voices
senior creative team
2010 Toy Story 3 senior creative team
2012 Brave director
with Mark Andrews
senior creative team
2015 Strange Magic consultant, voice of Imp[28][29]
2019 The Lion King story[25]
TBA Come Away director


Year Title Notes
1984 Heathcliff lip sync checker
1985-1986 Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling character designer
5 episodes
1986 Dennis the Menace lip sync checker
65 episodes
1986-1987 The Real Ghostbusters animator
76 episodes
lip sync checker
2 episodes
1997 Cartoon Sushi special thanks
1 episode


  1. ^ Welte, Jim (March 12, 2013). "Tam Valley's Brenda Chapman Basks in Post-Oscar Glory". Mill Valley Patch. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Liberatore, Paul (February 27, 2013). "Marin's Brenda Chapman shares Oscar glory for 'Brave' with her teenage daugthter". Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  3. ^ Chapman, Brenda (November 1, 2013). "This is amazing!RT @amightygirl: Remembering: Soviet "Night Witch" pilots flew cropduster planes vs. Nazi invaders". Twitter. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  4. ^ Chapman, Brenda (November 1, 2012). "Thanks for the kind birthday wishes!". Twitter. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  5. ^ Mallory, Michael. "Brenda Chapman and the See-Through Ceiling". Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  6. ^ Sperling, Nicole (May 25, 2011). "When the glass ceiling crashed on Brenda Chapman". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Mallory, Michael (March 19, 2000). "Move Over, Old Men; Disney's fabled favorite artists weren't alone in the male-ruled animation world. Now women are in key jobs, and they aim to stay". Los Angeles Times. p. CALENDAR 8. Retrieved May 14, 2010. (Registration required (help)).
  8. ^ Laura (October 20, 2011). "Brenda Chapman". Animation Insider. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  9. ^ Poluan, Illona (November 30, 2012). "Interview with Brenda Chapman: storyteller, animator and director". 99 Designs. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  10. ^ Vorel, Jim (May 9, 2013). "Lincoln grad proud of her 'Brave' Oscar". Herald & Review. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  11. ^ Beck, Jerry (2005). The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Reader Press. p. 48. ISBN 1-55652-591-5.
  12. ^ Powers, Lindsay (October 14, 2010). "Pixar announces first female director". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  13. ^ Sperling, Nicole (May 25, 2011). "When the glass ceiling crashed on Brenda Chapman". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  14. ^ Griffin, Andy. "Interview Part II: Brave". Pixar Portal. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  15. ^ Griffin, Andy. "Brenda Chapman Leaves Pixar for Lucasfilm". Pixar Portal. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  16. ^ a b c Schavemaker, Peter (June 11, 2013). "An Interview From Abroad with Brenda Chapman". Animation Magazine. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  17. ^ a b Miller, Phil (17 April 2014). "Brave creator urges Scots to back Yes". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  18. ^ a b McIver, Brian (December 9, 2012). "Director behind Brave reveals her agony at getting kicked off film". Daily Record. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  19. ^ a b Brenda Chapman (September 26, 2016). "Life After Pixar: An Interview with Brenda Chapman" (Interview). Interviewed by Ian Failes. Cartoon Brew. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  20. ^ "Story and Technology". Siggraph. June 19, 2015. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  21. ^ Hipes, Patrick (May 11, 2018). "'Brave' Director Brenda Chapman To Make Live-Action Debut With 'Come Away'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  22. ^ Fleming, Jr., Mike (May 30, 2018). "Angelina Jolie & David Oyelowo To Star In Fantasy 'Come Away'; 'Brave'Helmer Brenda Chapman's Live-Action Debut". Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  23. ^ Angelina Jolie & David Oyelowo To Star In Fantasy ‘Come Away’; ‘Brave’ Helmer Brenda Chapman’s Live-Acton Debut
  24. ^ ‘Come Away’ Fantasy Pic Starring Angelina Jolie And David Oyelowo Adds Cast, Begins Shoot
  25. ^ a b Forstadt, Jillian (June 30, 2018). "'The Lion King': Everything to Know About Jon Favreau's Adaptation of the Disney Animated Film". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  26. ^ Moody, Annemarie (April 9, 2008). "Disney Taps Deep Into DNA In Unveiling Animation Slate". Animation World Network. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Surprise! George Lucas Wrote A Disney Animated Movie Called 'Strange Magic' & It Comes Out January 2015". Indiewire. November 11, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  29. ^ Harris, Jeffrey (January 23, 2015). "Strange Magic Review". 411MANIA. Retrieved January 25, 2014.

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