Pixar Brain Trust Taking Over 'The Good Dinosaur' from Bob Peterson
Last week, there was a rumor from Blue Sky Disney going around that Pixar had removed Up co-director Bob Peterson from their forthcoming project The Good Dinosaur, but we decided to wait and see how it played out. Now the news has been confirmed by LA Times, but they report that a replacement hasn't been hired. Instead, Pixar is relying on a group of people to work on various parts of the film. Those people include John Lasseter, Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, replacement Brave director Mark Andrews, and Party Cloudy short director Pete Sohn, who had originally been on The Good Dinosaur as co-director.
The fact that Sohn was originally a co-director, but no longer had that role isn't a big deal. At Pixar, the paper points out that the co-director "plays a deputy role to the director." But what has Peterson been taken off the film at this point in the game? Studio president Ed Catmull says:
"All directors get really deep in their films. Sometimes you just need a different perspective to get the idea out. Sometimes directors ... are so deeply embedded in their ideas it actually takes someone else to finish it up. I would go so far as to argue that a lot of live-action films would be better off with that same process."
No matter what the reason, this is the fourth time Pixar has had to replace a director on one of their films. The first time, Brad Bird stepped in for Jan Pinkava on Ratatouille, then John Lasseter replaced Brad Lewis on Cars 2 and most recently Mark Andrews took over for Brenda Chapman on Brave. All of those movies still went on to be successful, but the latter two weren't quite the critical darlings we've come to expect from Pixar. Many argue that the animation studio has lost their touch in recent years, and problems like this seem to support those claims. However, all of their films have still gone on to earn tons of money at the box office, and even their less impressive films are leaps and bounds better than 50% of the animated films out there.
We're just hoping Pixar can still deliver a quality film. As for Peterson's removal, maybe it's for the best. After all, the director came up with the idea himself, so maybe Catmull's claim of him being too close to the project is right on the money. It's hard to go wrong with the group of people working on a film to make it the best they can. Catmull adds, "We've been around long enough to know it will never be smooth. But getting this process smooth is not our goal; our goal is to make the movie great." As of now The Good Dinosaur is still slated to arrive May 30th, 2014, and we'll keep you posted with the latest.