PROFILE
Name:
Simon Wells
Birth Place:
Famous for:
Director of 'The Prince of Egypt' (1998)
BIOGRAPHY
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The Prince of Egypt

Background:

Simon Wells is famous as the director of the hit animated musical film “The Prince of Egypt” (1998), from which he shared a 1999 Annie nomination with colleagues Brenda Chapman and Steve Hickner. He made his live-action directorial debut with the remake “The Time Machine” (2002), starring Guy Pearce. As a storyboard artist, Wells earned Annie nominations for his work on “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” (2002) and “Flushed Away” (2006).


The Wells

Childhood and Family:

Simon Wells was born 1961 in Cambridge, England. He is the great-grandson of British author H.G. Wells.


The Time Machine

Career:

Simon Wells began his professional career working with noted animator Richard Willimas. He served as supervising animator in the Robert Zemeckis directed film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988), which combined live action and animation. He was reunited with Zemeckis on “Back to the Future Part II” (1989), where Wells served as a consultant.

Wells made his directing debut in 1991 when he co-directed the animation film “An American Tail: Fievel Goes West” with Phil Nibbelink. The film, a sequel to “An American Tail,” was produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblimation animation studio and released by Universal Pictures on November 22, 1991. It received mixed reviews from critics but grossed over $65 million worldwide.

In 1993, Wells joined Dick Zondag, Ralph Zondag and Phil Nibbelink to direct the Amblimation produced film “We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story,” which was based on the 1987 Hudson Talbott children's book of the same name. Starring the voices of John Goodman, Jay Leno, Walter Cronkite, Julia Child and Martin Short, the animated film gained mixed reviews from critics and only grossed about $9 million.

Wells eventually got sole director credit with the animated film “Balto” (1995), which was adapted from a true story about a dog that helped children. The movie starred the voices of Kevin Bacon, Bob Hoskins, Bridget Fonda, Jim Cummings and Phil Collins.

Wells' big breakthrough came in 1998 when he directed the animated musical “The Prince of Egypt” (1998), with Brenda Chapman and Steve Hickner. The film, which marked the first traditionally animated film produced and released by DreamWorks Animation, received primarily positive reviews from critics and was nominated for Oscars for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score and Best Original Song for “When You Believe” (won). It was also a box office success and grossed over $218 million against a budget of $70 million. Wells received a 1999 Annie nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production for his efforts.

In 2002, Wells directed Guy Pearce, Samantha Mumba, Mark Addy, Sienna Guillory and Phyllida Law in the science fiction movie “The Time Machine,” which was loosely adapted from the 1895 novel of the same name by H. G. Wells, and the 1960 film screenplay by David Duncan. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Makeup in 2002.

Recently, in 2011, Wells directed and co-wrote the 3D computer animated film “Mars Needs Moms,” which was adapted from a book of the same title by Berkeley Breathed. The film starred the voices of Seth Green, Tom Everett Scott, Joan Cusack, Elisabeth Harnois, Dan Fogler, Dee Bradley Baker and Mindy Sterling.

In addition to his directing career, Wells has served as a story artist on the films “Madagascar” (2005) and “Shrek the Third” (2007) and a storyboard artist for such films as “Antz” (1998), “The Road to El Dorado” (2000), “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” (2002), “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” (2003), “Shrek 2 (2004), “Shark Tale” (2004) and “Flushed Away” (2006). He earned Annie nominations for Outstanding Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production and Best Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production for “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” and “Flushed Away,” respectively.


Awards:
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