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James Lopez started working at Disney on a picture that most of the staff thought was the lesser entity of the two features then on the production track. The African picture was having development problems. Pocahontas was the movie expected to do big things.
Few expected Lion King to be any great shakes ...
Mr. Lopez was assigned to a side character called "Timon," but funny thing. Timon kept getting great audience reaction, and kept getting additional footage. (Turned out to be a fine character to be assigned to right out of the blocks!)
From Lion King, it was a short step to Pocahontas, and then directors Ron Clements and John Musker offer a supervising animator position on Hercules, where James oversaw work (and did a lot of work himself) on the character Pain.
As the 21st century swung into view, hand-drawn animation at Disney was winding down, but James finished with a flourish on Emperor's New Groove and Home on the Range before leaping the animation divide to work on the Mouse's first CG feature Chicken Little. Soon after, Mr. Lopez left Disney to work on two DreamWorks Animation projects, but returned to animate Dr. Facilier on The Princess and the Frog. (The supervising animtor for Dr. F. was Bruce Smith, with whom James has collaborated many times over the years.)
Still at Disney, his most recent project was Paper Man.