ARUN RATH, HOST:
Tales of Disney princesses. Many of us have come to know them them by heart.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS")
ADRIANA CASELOTTI: (As Snow White) Oh, they do look delicious
LUCILLE LA VERNE: (As The Evil Queen) Yes, but wait till you taste one.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CINDERELLA")
ILENE WOODS: (As Cinderella) And look. Glass slippers.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST")
PAIGE O'HARA: (As Belle) It's me.
ROBBY BENSON: (As Beast) It is you.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LITTLE MERMAID")
JODI BENSON: (As Ariel) Daddy I love him.
KENNETH MARS: (As King Triron) No.
RATH: Put Snow White, Cinderella, Belle and Ariel aside for a moment and consider these characters. A transgender Native American, a tank commander, a Mexican revolutionary. Not the typical stories of a Disney princess flick, but they're in the spotlight on the blog, Rejected Princesses. Each week former DreamWorks animator Jason Porath adds a new illustration and write up about a woman who is, as the blog says, too awesome, awful or off-beat for kids movies.
JASON PORATH: I take women sort of unsung heroines, usually from history but a lot from mythology and some from literature who wouldn't necessarily make the cut for mainstream animated princess movies and give them that styled sort of -alternate reality glimpse into what if they got their moment in the sun.
RATH: Can you give us some of your favorite examples?
PORATH: "The Tank commander," this is a...
RATH: One of my favorites.
PORATH: Yeah. This is a real woman in World War II - Soviet woman who - when her husband was killed by the Nazis she sold all her other belongings, bought a tank, named the tank fighting girlfriend and started killing Nazis. And so I did this write up on her - I did a lot of research. And the illustration has her sorting of sitting on the tank and it's the actual model of tank but it's also got sort of cartoony eyes and it's kind of winking at her. And there's tracer rounds going by and it's sort of sparkly pixie dust going off in - so it's - it's this weird incongruous mash-up of history as well as these mainstream animated movies.
RATH: There's some villains in here as well like there's Elizabeth Bathory?
RATH: Who pretty much kills and tortures just about everybody around her.
PORATH: She is quite possibly the prolific female serial killer in history. She's an inspiration for Dracula and in terms of the range of people portrayed here I didn't want it to just be everybody shiny happy, beautiful, kick butt heroines. There are people in there who are heroes, there are people who are villains and their people who are just weird. There's a French opera singer who burnt down a convent to romance a nun.
RATH: And there's no shortage of stories of the butt kicking women. Like- I was surprised by how many great military commanders were in there.
PORATH: Oh, I could do probably around two to three years straight of just solid military heroines. I have a list of about 600 women ready to go. And I'd save about 200 of them are martial heroines.
RATH: Will, you know, brings me to something that's a little bit sad that they all hold in common is that I feel like history seems to have forgotten these women. How do you find them?
PORATH: Well, the initial batch of about 200, I'd done just because I'm a trivia nerd. But then people started writing in with all these really interesting stories, like oh, you should look at this person, you should look at that person. And soon you're having to spend your time managing this gigantic list of amazing women.
RATH: So, since you've started this - sounds like word's getting around about "Rejected Princesses."
PORATH: Yeah, well the whole project was sort of a lark. This was a spun out of a lunchtime conversation I had. I used to work at DreamWorks and my coworkers and I were sort of coming up with what is the most unlikely story you can think of for the animated princess treatment? And so I put this out there, maybe two or three months ago and it has exploded.
RATH: You know, Disney did have one heroine that was like these women. That was Mulan.
PORATH: Mulan, Yeah. Arguably "Brave" I think would have a little bit of that as well, although that was Pixar. Yeah, I mean, I think it's getting better over the years for sure. I'm not trying to like bash on Disney. That said, I feel like there is room for people that don't get the spotlight put on them. Maybe they won't make a when $100 million, maybe don't have the glossiest movie in the world, but there should be a place for that.
RATH: Keep them coming. My daughter thanks you.
PORATH: (Laughter) Well, thank you. I plan on it. I've got many, many more to do.
RATH: Jason Porath, a former DreamWorks animator and the man behind the blog Rejected Princesses. Thanks for coming in today.
PORATH: Thanks for having me.
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