Even after it opened and became a huge success this summer, Pixar's Brave had a hard time escaping the controversy that followed it when director Brenda Chapman-- who conceived the story inspired by her own relationship with her daughter-- was removed from the project with barely a year to go, and was replaced by Mark Andrews. Brave was already being hyped as Pixar's first film with a female lead, and though Andrews touted his own personal connection to the material as the father of a pre-teen, it was nasty PR to have the studio's first female director replaced by a man.

Women are still rare as directors in animation, though Kung Fu Panda 2 director Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Chapman are setting a new standard. Now they've got a new name to add to their ranks-- Disney has announced Jennifer Lee, who helped write the recent hit Wreck-It Ralph, has been brought on as co-director of the upcoming Frozen, in which Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel play sisters "battling in a mystical winter wonderland." The situation seems to parallel the one behind Brave, since Chris Buck was already on board as the film's director, but Frozen produce Peter del Vecho swears that's not what happened, and Buck is still on board and actively working on the film-- "[Lee]'s sense of comedy, adventure and story structure paired with Chris Buck’s vast experience and incredible instincts create an ideal situation for this film.” Lee got involved on Frozen when she did a rewrite on the script, and without generalizing it seems fair to guess that a female writer would have some good insight into a story about two sisters. Frozen is set for release on November 27 next year. You can read the film's official synopsis below.

Featuring the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, “Frozen” is the coolest comedy-adventure ever to hit the big screen. When a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, Anna, a fearless optimist, teams up with extreme mountain man Kristoff and his sidekick reindeer Sven on an epic journey to find Anna’s sister Elsa, the Snow Queen, and put an end to her icy spell. Encountering mystical trolls, a funny snowman named Olaf, Everest-like extremes and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction.

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