Roy Conli

Roy Conli founded his career on stories about outcasts, oddballs, and fish out of water. The Walt Disney Animation Studios producer brought some of the company's more memorable modern entries to life, maintaining his devotion to the underdog trend through "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1996), "Tangled" (2010), and "Big Hero 6" (2014). With the commercial and cultural success of the latter two, not to mention an Academy Award victory in the Best Animated Feature category for "Big Hero 6," Conli marked his legacy as a purveyor of good-humored adventures rife with lessons about overcoming adversity. Conli began his tenure at Walt Disney Animation Studios in the heat of the company's "Renaissance" era, in 1994. His first project was "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1996), on which he served as co-producer alongside Don Hahn. "Hunchback" was one of the darker and more serious Disney animated films to see release during this period, and the first of several films that Conli would oversee hinging on the theme of outcasts and underdogs. Conli's next contribution to Walt Disney was more of a misstep: the often forgotten "Treasure Planet" (2002), which granted Conli his first bona fide producer credit. The extraterrestrial-themed adaptation of Jules Verne's classic novel Treasure Island failed to wow critics or audiences, grossing substantially under budget. Success met Conli again on his next venture, however. Marking another turn for the positive for Walt Disney Animation Studios, producer Conli and associate producers John Lasseter (of Pixar fame), Aimee Scribner, and Glen Keane released "Tangled" (2010), a box office smash and critical success that helped to restore audience interests in Disney's line of princess movies. Centering on the adventures of a young woman experiencing the world for the first time following a lifetime of imprisonment and isolation in a skyscraping tower, "Tangled" bore many thematic similarities to Conli's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," suggesting the producer's particular knack for fish out of water stories. It didn't take long for Conli to mount his next big winner, either. Bringing Disney's partnership with Marvel Studios into the realm of animation for the first time, Conli produced the superhero picture "Big Hero 6" (2014), an adaptation of the eponymous Marvel Comics property first created in 1998. "Big Hero 6" embraced the theme of unlikely heroism in delivering a tale about a young boy and his plush automated friend Baymax in their pursuits to save their hometown from villainy. "Big Hero 6" was notable as a mainstream animated feature for its positive and prominent depiction of Asian-Americans. "Big Hero 6" topped even Conli's "Tangled" in commercial success, becoming the second-highest grossing picture in the studio's history, coming in just behind "Frozen" (2013). What's more, "Big Hero 6" wowed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the 87th Annual Academy Awards, earning an Oscar for Best Animated Feature.