Allers in 2007, at the 34th Annie Awards
|Born||1949 (age 65–66)
Rye, New York
|Occupation||Film director, Writer, Storyboard Artist, Animator|
Roger Allers (born 1949) is an American film director, screenwriter, storyboard artist, animator and playwright. He is most well known for co-directing the highest-grossing 2D animated film of all time, The Lion King, for Disney, and for writing the Broadway adaptation, The Lion King.
Allers became hooked on animation at the age of five after seeing Disney's classic feature film Peter Pan. Deciding that he wanted to become a Disney artist and work with Walt Disney himself, a few years later he sent away for a do-it-yourself Disney animation kit. However, in 1966, when he heard of Walt Disney's death, Allers, by then a high school student, grew discouraged about attaining his dream.
He went on to receive a degree in fine arts from Arizona State University. But it was after auditing a class at Harvard that he found his interest in animation renewed. He landed a job with Lisberger Studios, where he worked on the animation end for projects such as Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Make a Wish, and various commercials.
In 1978, he relocated to Los Angeles with Lisberger to work on a feature project called Animalympics, providing story work, character design and animation for the film. This was followed by a six-month stint as part of the storyboard team for the Disney/Lisberger co-production, Tron, his first live action experience.
Allers moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1980, in order to work for the famed Nelvana studios as an animator on a feature called Rock & Rule. After two years, he returned to Los Angeles to work on Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland. His work continued on the film, this time at the main studio in Tokyo, working as one of the animation directors, overseeing the Japanese artists.
Back in Los Angeles in 1985, Allers heard that Disney was looking for a storyboard person on Oliver & Company and immediately applied for and was hired for the job. His dream had at long last come true. During his time there, he worked on almost every animated feature that was produced in the 2nd Golden Age of Disney Feature Animation from the 1980s to 1990's, including The Little Mermaid, The Prince and the Pauper, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King.
In 1994, Allers made his feature film directing debut with the multi-award winning The Lion King, which was not only a top-grossing hit film, but went on to become a successful Broadway musical in 1998. The Lion King is the 5th longest running Broadway musical of all time. Allers was nominated for a Tony for co-writing the book, along with Irene Mecchi.
Allers continued to work at Disney for the next few years, developing features. Allers developed the original concept for The Emperor's New Groove, and was the original director back when the title was, Kingdom of the Sun and the film was still Allers' original vision of an epic, mythic-based story, in the vein of Lion King. However, several years into development, due to creative differences with executives, Allers chose to leave the project. He was replaced with Mark Dindal, and the tone of the film was drastically changed to a slapstick comedy, and was released as The Emperor's New Groove.
Also while at Disney, Allers directed the Disney animated short, The Little Matchgirl which was nominated for an Academy Award, for Best Animated Short, in 2006.
Allers was then tapped by Sony Pictures to direct their first ever animated release, Open Season, featuring the voice talents of Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher, released in theaters summer of 2006.
Nominated for a Tony for co-writing the book for the smash hit Broadway musical, The Lion King.
Nominated for an Oscar and won several International Film Festival Awards for his short film, The Little Matchgirl.
Allers, along with his Lion King Broadway writing partner, Irene Mecchi, have written a musical adaptation of the book, Beatrice's Goat, to benefit the work of global non-profit Heifer International.
- Animalympics (1980) (co-writer and creator, art director, animator)
- Tron (1982) (pre-production concepts)
- Rock & Rule (1983) (animator)
- Oliver & Company (1988) (storyboard artist)
- The Little Mermaid (1989) (story supervisor)
- The Rescuers Down Under (1990) (storyboard artist)
- The Prince and the Pauper (1990) (storyboard artist)
- Beauty and the Beast (1991) (head of story)
- Aladdin (1992) (story)
- The Lion King (1994) (director)
- The Emperor's New Groove (2000) (original story: Kingdom of the Sun)
- The Sweatbox (2002) (Himself, documentary)
- Return to Neverland (2002) (storyboard artist)
- The Lion King 1½ (2004) (additional screenplay material)
- The Little Matchgirl (2006) (director, story adaptation)
- Open Season (2006) (director)
- Surf's Up (2007) (special thanks)
- Waking Sleeping Beauty (2010) (himself, caricaturist artist)
- Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet (2015) (director)