Director Brad Bird, who started out in animation with the deeply brilliant 2D “Iron Giant” before moving to Pixar and helming “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille,” and then transitioning to live action with the jaw-dropping “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” is just now embarking on his ‘M:I-4’ follow-up, a mysterious sci-fi project for Disney entitled “Tomorrowland.” Bird seems antsy to make more movies, though, and in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (ostensibly about “Tomorrowland”), Bird divulged how close he is to doing another “Incredibles” and what it was like being offered “Star Wars: Episode VII.”
When we talked to Bird around the time of ‘Ghost Protocol’s’ release, the director seemed to think that the Pixar sequel was something that could happen, but nothing had solidified yet. He seems more steadfast in this new interview. “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,” Bird said. He continued: “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.” (It’s also worth noting that earlier this year at a gala, Bird expressed unhappiness with his Disney overlords for what he thought was a perceived safeness on Disney’s part. He bemoaned the fact that there hasn’t been an animated “Annie Hall” and then said that Disney “has the budget and the talent but doesn’t want to do those subjects.”)
Bird expressed an interest in ramping up his output, which is understandable considering the amount of time and attention a single animated film requires (and Bird’s passion project, an earthquake movie called “1906” repeatedly stalled, despite a unique, three-studio pact between Disney, Pixar and Warner Bros to finance it). “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,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. If you read between the lines, this basically equals: I want to be able to make an animated movie at the same time as I’m doing a live action movie. (This is something Gore Verbinski has expressed as well.)
The topic then turned to “Star Wars: Episode VII.” “Pacific Rim” director Guillermo del Toro told us earlier this year that, “As a geek, I would love to see Brad Bird take it.” The internet, in general speculation, agreed that this would be a very good idea. Bird confirmed that he had been offered the project. I’ve known Kathy [Kennedy] for a while and I know George Lucas. 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.” Bird then added: “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.”
“Tomorrowland” opens on December 19th, 2014, which is way too far away for our liking.