Mary Coleman

Source: Courtesy of Debby Coleman

Mary Coleman

Locksmith Animation, the UK studio behind Disney release Ron’s Gone Wrong, has bolstered its senior team by appointing Pixar executive Mary Coleman as its chief creative officer.

Coleman is a highly respected industry veteran who spent 23 years at the Oscar-winning animation studio behind Toy Story, The Incredibles and Soul, most recently as head of creative development. She will join London-based Locksmith Animation, which has offices in Los Angeles, in July.

Natalie Fischer, CEO of Locksmith, described the appointment as “a milestone in our company’s journey” and praised Coleman’s “keen eye for material and her strong relationships with filmmakers”.

Coleman said she was attracted to the role based on the experience of Fischer, herself and Julie Lockhart, Locksmith’s co-founder and president of production.

“Ultimately, what drew me most to Locksmith is that between Julie Lockhart’s two decades working with Aardman and Natalie Fischer having helped launch and then worked with Illumination for a decade and my two decades at Pixar, the three of us have helped to build wildly successful studios,” said Coleman.

“Locksmith’s vision is ambitious and its slate is already full of potential. I’m thrilled that they have asked me to help them deliver on their promise of creating compelling entertainment for families around the world.”

Coleman joined Pixar in 1999 from San Francisco’s renowned Magic Theatre, where she was the associate artistic director. Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull brought her into the company to help create its development department.

She worked closely with Pixar’s directors from original concept through final draft and features produced during her tenure include Monsters, Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, Cars 3, Coco, Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, Onward, Soul, Luca, and Turning Red.

Coleman was the first woman to participate on Pixar’s Brain Trust, providing creative feedback on films in production, and said she is most proud of co-founding (with producer Nicole Grindle) The Story Artistas, Animation Artistas and Art Artistas. These programmes empowered Pixar’s female artists and paved the way for women directors and creative leaders.

Locksmith recently announced it has awarded the digital production of its second animated movie That Christmas to DNEG Animation. The film is based on a series of children’s books by Richard Curtis, the UK director of Four Weddings And A Funeral and Yesterday. It marks the feature film directorial debut of character animation and story artist veteran Simon Otto (How to Train Your Dragon).

Locksmith also recently optioned Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles, a bestselling series of novels which focuses on a reimagining of classic fairy tale heroines.

The company’s debut feature, Ron’s Gone Wrong, was released in the UK on October 15, 2021, and grossed $60.7m at the worldwide box office.