Thursday, 16 May 2013

Brad Bird on The Incredibles 2 and Star Wars: Episode VII

Brad Bird's a hot commodity right now. His consistent success is something very few directors who have directed four features can rival: all his films have been critical hits, and all except The Iron Giant have done admirably commercially too (and that was down to lax advertising). Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol proved he can direct live action as well as animation, and he's currently helming the secretive sci-fi flick Tomorrowland for Disney. As such, he was one of the top names bandied about when dream-directors were being postulated for Star Wars: Episode VIIThat's not happening, but it can't stop us dreaming. The other Brad Bird project we've all been dreaming of for nigh-on nine years now, is The Incredibles 2. The director recently spoke to THR about both of those prospects.

When asked about the chances of us seeing an Incredibles 2, the director gave pretty much the same response he's been giving since 2004, saying he has bits and pieces of a story, but not a coherent film - yet. The full quote is:

"I have been thinking about it. People think that I have not been, but I have. Because I love those characters and love that world. I am stroking my chin and scratching my head. I have many, many elements that I think would work really well in another [Incredibles] film, and if I can get ‘em to click all together, I would probably wanna do that. I like the idea of moving a little more quickly in films. I’m looking for ways to accelerate the pace a little bit and figure out a way to keep creative control over these movies to a level where I’m comfortable with the end result but also speed them up a bit and make more of them. I have many different films I wanna make. It’s like a big airplane hangar and I have different projects on the floor; half-assembled in my brain. I’m interested in all of them. You kind of have to move on the ones people are willing to pay for and the ones you’re most excited about.

Note: not an official poster.

It seems as though that's not going to be happening in the immediate future though, due to his commitments to Tomorrowland, which - he says - meant he had to rebuff Star Wars talks from Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas, saying:

"I’ve known Kathy [Kennedy] for a while and I know George. And they did come to me. But the problem was, the schedule they had in mind made it impossible to do…unless I dropped Tomorrowland. And I was just really deeply into this film at that point. It’s easy to say, “Just put it on hold.” But you’re moving now; you don’t know if you’re going to be able to move later. Maybe it’s true of filmmakers like Cameron or Spielberg, but I have to act on momentum. We had reached a critical mass where it would’ve thrown the furniture around from the train stopping. I really want to see this movie. I love the Star Wars films, and I can’t wait to see what J.J. does, but it meant I’d have to shut down one dream to participate in another. I feel like [with Tomorrowland] we’re making something that’s really special and unique."

Bird's busyness - on the topic of The Incredibles 2 - raises an interesting theory that The Pixar Podcast suggested a few weeks back: Teddy Newton (Day & Night) is working on an unspecified Pixar feature film with screenwriter Derek Connolly (Safety Not Guaranteed). Teddy Newton was part of the team Brad Bird brought with him from The Iron Giant to Pixar to make The Incredibles; he also collaborated with Bird on Ratatouille and had a voice-cameo in Ghost Protocol. It seems unlikely Brad will have the time to make a sequel to the Oscar-winning super-family film in the near future, but if he were to hand the film over to someone else, Teddy Newton seems a very solid, and believable, choice. And that would be a film I would very much be interested in seeing.

Meanwhile, Tomorrowland - starring George Clooney, Hugh Laurie and Raffey Cassidy, and written and produced by Damon Lindelof (Prometheus, Star Trek) - hits US cinemas on 19th December, 2014.

Bird rocks a scarf at the M:I - GP premiere.

Beyond that, if The Incredibles 2 doesn't come to pass with him at the helm, and assuming he doesn't sign up for Episode VIII, Paramount have a hole to fill in their own Star-franchise: J.J. Abrams's commitments to Disney and Star Wars means he likely won't direct Star Trek 3; but Brad Bird has worked with Abrams's Bad Robot before and is very capable of pulling off a big-budget blockbuster with a gusto, so - and I feel as though I've been saying this before - Brad Bird may well be the man for the job.

Thoughts? Which other films do you think Brad Bird should definitely also slot into his slate?


  1. Tbh, whatever he directs, I imagine I'll be on board. With all this talk of Chris Nolan maybe doing a Bond film, it's just making me think how good Brad would be at that too. He has a perfect mix of comedy, drama and unbelievable spectacle - somewhat Whedon-eseque in that respect, I think.

  2. I think what Bird brings that other directors don't is that he is just such a great story teller. He understands things and sees things that others don't and it might be something minor but it always pays off.

    Like in Ratatouille before Bird came on board the animators had been working on ways to make the rats walk like people and Bird came in and scrapped it because it had to be a choice for Remy to walk like a person and make that personal change.

    But I'm with you, I'm on board for anything he does next and will be in the cinema on the first day of it's release :)