An online argument is occurring about the screenwriting credit for Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 2010 animated hit Tangled. As reported by Cartoon Brew, Jon Bernstein, screenwriter, WGA member and UCLA Extension instructor, claims on a Facebook events page for his 2011 eight-week “Inspired Screenplay” workshop that he was a contributing writer on Tangled.
Nathan Greno, the film’s director, recently took to his Facebook page in protest of Bernstein’s claim (Greno’s Facebook post has since been removed). As mentioned by Cartoon Brew, Greno wrote “We never worked with the guy on Tangled… I credit all of the writing on Tangled to our actual writer, Dan Fogelman…and so does IMDB.”
Bernstein is not a stranger to Walt Disney Animation Studios. He is credited (along with six others, including Nathan Greno) as a screenwriter on Disney’s 2007 animated motion picture Meet the Robinsons.
According to Cartoon Brew:
“The post, not surprisingly, has only generated more skepticism about Bernstein’s professional claims as Greno’s friends and co-workers point out holes in the writer’s IMDB page and compare professional notes. In regard to Bernstein’s credit for writing Meet the Robinsons, screenwriter Michelle Bochner Spitz pointed out, ‘Jon Bernstein wrote the first draft(s) of Meet the Robinsons, and then had nothing to do with the movie when it was rewritten several times over for more than three years.”
Bernstein wrote a follow-up letter to Cartoon Brew which they have published as an update to their original article. In the letter, Bernstein writes:
“I never claimed to write TANGLED. My bio states that I was a contributing writer. There were over twenty of us according to Disney’s legal documents. I was the first writer hired to work on it back when the project was called RAPUNZEL. This was before Mr. Greno was involved. When the film was released as TANGLED, I received a Disney legal document listing all the writers who worked on it. Writer # 17 — Dan Fogelman – is the credited screenwriter… Hollywood screenwriters know that film, especially animated film, is a collaborative medium. Virtually all animated films have multiple writers and countless animators. Please feel free to confirm these facts with Disney legal.”
We’ll see how this all gets, well, untangled (bad pun, I know). Thoughts?
Eh…I don’t really care, tbh.
Goes to show that writing for animated films (well, any films really) can be more complicated than people first assume.