Pixar Portal yesterday broke the news that Brave co-director, Brenda Chapman, (pictured above at the Brave world premiere) has apparently left Pixar! Before joining Pixar, Brenda - who is married to Enchanted director Kevin Lima - was trained by the story department on The Little Mermaid at the start of the Disney Renaissance. She did more key work at Disney as a story artist on the Best Picture nominated Beauty and the Beast, and then acting as head of story on The Lion King. She later made waves being the first female to direct a major animated film, with DreamWorks' The Prince of Egypt.
She joined Pixar in 2003, during the production of Cars, and, after working on that film, she began crafting her own. Brave, from its initial conception as The Bear and the Bow, was a passion project for Brenda Chapman, drawing so much from her own life: her Scottish roots and her relationship with her daughter. Later renamed, Brave was Pixar's first fairytale, and featured their first female protagonist - their first princess - and was set to see Brenda become their first female director. But then things changed.
Brenda Chapman was removed from the director's chair and replaced by, The Incredibles head of story and John Carter co-writer, Mark Andrews, with "creative differences" cited as the reason for the change. The directorial change didn't jar the final product and Brave was a fantastic, emotional film and Brenda, Mark and all involved throughout the 7-year production should be very proud!
Pixar Portal also reports that Brenda is now working as a consultant for Lucasfilm animation. It's a big shame to see Brenda part ways with Pixar - especially as she comes as only the latest of a long stream of talent to leave Emeryville; Jan Pinkava left after being ousted as Ratatouille director, Presto director Doug Sweetland left to direct The Familiars for Sony, and original Cars 2 director Brad Lewis left after being replaced on that project - nonetheless, we're sure Brenda will be a huge asset to Lucasfilm and great at whatever she tries her hand at.
We wish Brenda the best in whatever she pursues next!