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Barry Cook (born August 12, 1958) is an American film director who has worked in the animated film industry since the 1980s. Cook and Tony Bancroft directed Mulan (1998) and won the 1998 Annie Award for Best Animated Feature.[1] Cook was also the co-director for Arthur Christmas (2011), directed by Sarah Smith. Cook also directed Walking with Dinosaurs (2013) with Neil Nightingale.

Barry Cook
Born (1958-08-12) 12 August 1958 (age 61)
OccupationFilm director, animator
Known forMulan
Arthur Christmas
Walking with Dinosaurs


Cook was born in Nashville, Tennessee in August 12, 1958 . He made his first film when he was ten years old.[2] Cook interned as an assistant animator beginning in December of 1978 at the animation studio Hanna-Barbera, where he contributed as an assistant animator on "The New Fred and Barney Show" and many others. He also contributed to the pilot episode of the 1981 TV series The Smurfs.[3] In 1981, Disney hired Cook as an effects animator for Tron (1982). Cook subsequently animated or supervised effects for various films including The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), and Aladdin (1992).[2] He became the supervisor for the special-effects animation department at Disney. In 1992, he directed the animated short film Off His Rockers, which was about a child and his rocking horse. Peter Schneider, then president of feature animation, saw potential in Cook's film and supported its production. Off His Rockers drew the attention of director Randal Kleiser, who requested for the short to open his feature film Honey, I Blew Up the Kid in 1992.[4] In 1993, Cook directed another animated short, Trail Mix-Up, which featured the cartoon character Roger Rabbit.[5] His directing experience with Off His Rockers and Trail Mix-Up led him to the opportunity to direct Mulan with Bancroft.[6]

Following a five-month sabbatical break after directing Mulan, Cook began developing ideas for his second animated feature, and arrived at an idea he developed years earlier titled The Ghost & His Gift, adapted from Oscar Wilde's The Canterville Ghost.[7] In 2000, Cook pitched his idea to Michael Eisner and Thomas Schumacher who agreed the idea showed potential, although Eisner deterred about the simplicity while Schumacher felt the project was "too human" and more appropriate for a live action film.[7][8] Following the pitch, Cook began reconstructing the idea, and added seven folk art characters into the story.[8] During another pitch for the revised film, Cook proposed producing the film with 70 percent computer animation and 30 percent traditional animation, in which My Peoples was green-lighted with a budget of $45 million.[8] The project underwent a series of titles such as Angel and Her No Good Sister, Elgin's People, and Once in a Blue Moon before settling on A Few Good Ghosts, and included a voice cast of Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, Hal Holbrook, and Charles Durning.[8] On November 14, 2003, David Stainton announced that production on A Few Good Ghosts was halted,[9] and Disney announced the closure of the Feature Animation Florida studio on January 12, 2004.[10] Following the closure, Cook was not offered a renewed contract with the Burbank-located animation studio, and worked consecutively with IDT Entertainment (now known as Starz Media), Animation Lab, and Laika on a series of undeveloped animation projects.[7][11][12]

In February 2009, Cook signed with Aardman Animations,[7] and the following April, he was announced to co-direct Arthur Christmas alongside Sarah Smith.[13] Because Smith previously worked in live-action television, Cook described his involvement as "help[ing] along with the animation, from designing the film and its characters to all of the storyboarding process."[7] In March 2010, Cook signed with Animal Logic to serve as co-director on Walking with Dinosaurs, intrigued with the idea of using computer animation against live-action backgrounds.[14] Inspired by the original BBC documentary series, the movie was conceived as a silent movie with no dialogue,[14] but following the screening of a rough cut, 20th Century Fox executives requested a celebrity voice cast, believing it would connect audiences to the characters.[15] In 2011, Cook wrote the screenplay for The Jesus Film Project and Studio 4°C's short film, My Last Day.[16]

In July 2016, it was announced that Cook was in negotiations to direct Mean Margaret for Astro-Nomical Entertainment.[17]


Year Title Credits
1982 Tron Effects Animator
Heidi's Song Assistant Animator
1985 The Black Cauldron Effects Animator
My Science Project Effects Animator
1986 Captain EO (Short) Effects Animator
1988 Oliver & Company Effects Animator
1989 The Little Mermaid Effects Animator
1990 Roller Coaster Rabbit (Short) Effects Animator
The Rescuers Down Under Effects Animator
1991 Beauty and the Beast Visual Effects Supervisor: Florida
1992 Off His Rockers (Short) Director / Story Development
Aladdin Visual Effects Supervisor: Florida
1993 Trail Mix-Up (Short) Director / Story
Aladdin (Video Game) Animation Director
1998 Mulan Director with Tony Bancroft
2011 My Last Day (Short) Director / Producer
Arthur Christmas Co-Director
2013 Walking with Dinosaurs Director


  1. ^ "Annie Awards :: 26th Annie Awards". ASIFA-Hollywood. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Heater, Heidi (January 23, 2008). "'Mulan' director to speak at Asbury". Asbury University. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  3. ^ Zahed, Ramin (15 December 2013). "Pachyrhinos' Stirring Saga". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  4. ^ Hinman, Catherine (July 15, 1992). "How The Disney Film Short 'Off His Rockers' Made It To The Big Screen: A Little Project That 'Blew Up'". The Orlando Sentinel.
  5. ^ Boyar, Jay (March 19, 1993). "'Aladdin' Deserves Best Picture Anyway". The Orlando Sentinel.
  6. ^ Abbott, Jim (June 17, 1998). "The Making Of 'Mulan'". The Orlando Sentinel.
  7. ^ a b c d e Armstrong, Josh (July 30, 2012). "Director Barry Cook remembers the Peoples of Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida". Animated Views. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d Hill, Jim (February 21, 2011). "Why Walt Disney Feature Animation opted NOT to make "My Peoples"". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  9. ^ Eller, Claudia (November 15, 2003). "Disney Decides It Doesn't Want 'A Few Good Ghosts'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  10. ^ Pack, Todd (January 13, 2004). "Disney Animation Unit Fades Away In Orlando". The Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  11. ^ DeMott, Rick (September 18, 2007). "Toon Vets Gobble Up Animation Lab's Wild Bunch Feature". Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  12. ^ Zahed, Ramed (December 22, 2008). "Laika Lets Go 65, Nixes Jack and Ben". Animation Magazine. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (April 27, 2009). "Aardman begins work on toon duo" (Press release). Variety. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  14. ^ a b Zahed, Ramin (15 December 2013). "Pachyrhinos' Stirring Saga". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  15. ^ McClintock, Pamela (January 15, 2014). "T-Wreck: Why Fox's 'Walking With Dinosaurs' Went Extinct". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  16. ^ "Studio 4°C Animates Campus Crusade for Christ's Jesus Short". Anime News Network. April 15, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  17. ^ Galuppo, Mia (July 26, 2016). "Astro-Nomical Entertainment Launches, Developing 'Mean Margaret' Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 25, 2018.

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