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Feature FilmPixar

EXCLUSIVE: Brenda Chapman No Longer Directing Pixar’s “Brave”

Crazy rumors floating into our offices this afternoon from reliable sources. We hear that Brenda Chapman, the first woman director at Pixar, has left the studio and is no longer directing Brave (previously titled The Bear and the Bow). We hear that she was pushed aside from full directing a while back, and that story artist Mark Andrews (who also co-directed the Pixar short One Man Band) has taken over directorial duties. We understand that the change officially happened last week, although it had been inevitable for some time.

These type of directorial shake-ups happen so frequently at other feature animation studios that they hardly merit reporting, but this holds special significance because Chapman was slated to be the first woman director at Pixar after twelve straight features directed by men. By contrast, Sony Pictures Animation had a woman director on its first feature (Jill Culton on Open Season) and DreamWorks had a woman director on its second feature–The Prince of Egypt. Who was the DreamWorks woman director? Brenda Chapman.

UPDATE #2: On October 20, the NY Times confirmed our report that Brenda Chapman has been replaced as director of Brave by Mark Andrews. However, the Times says that contrary to our original report, Chapman “remains on staff at Pixar.”

UPDATE: Pocahontas director Mike Gabriel posted in the comments below using his own name. His comment is worth featuring here too. He writes:

Brenda is a class act. A beautiful soul. A star talent in the industry who continues to inspire, more so in adversity than a smooth ride. The Brave release is heartbreaking from the outside but maybe a blessing from the inside. You never know.

  • Wow, i didn’t know Brenda Chapman directed The Prince of Egypt. I love that movie so much.

    • Karen

      Jeffery Katzemburg directed Prince of Egypt. That much is clear.

    • She didn’t direct Prince of Egypt.
      They were commenting that other women have directed for other film before but PIXAR has yet to have a woman director since they fired Chapman.

    • Whoops, I’m sorry I was incorrect. She apparently had a hand in directing Prince of Egypt.

  • oh geez

    Maybe directing isn’t her forte?

    • She directed The Prince of Egypt and co-directed the f***ing Lion King, so you’re wrong.

      If this rumor is true, my fears of an imploding Pixar seem to be slowly justifying. And I really, really, really don’t want to be right about this.

      • She didn’t co-direct The Lion King. That was Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff who helmed the film.

        But, yes, The Prince of Egypt showed she had directing chops. I wonder why the switch up. I wonder if she will keep a co-directing credit like Jan Pinkava did on Ratatouille.

      • Nancy Beiman

        Brenda was head of story on THE LION KING, she didn’t direct it.
        She was one of the directors of PRINCE OF EGYPT.

        Lorna Cook was one of the directors on SPIRIT.

    • Maybe internet posting isn’t your forte?

    • Directing not her forte?
      Brenda was doing a great job. I saw the movie 2 years ago and it was awesome.
      Brenda was shoved aside because she was doing an unconventional movie in a studio that fears failure.
      They are second-guessing themselves to death.
      Director driven studio indeed.

      • Mr. Crankypants

        Oh, it’s director-driven alright. Driven out, driven crazy, driven to drink…

      • Amelia

        I can’t help but think that what happened to Brenda is the same thing that happened to Glen Keane’s Rapunzel. Stupid stupid dumb-ass decisions. Go back to Dreamworks, Brenda! Pull a Chris Sanders.

  • Jay

    If true, hopefully people understand this was a business/creative decision and don’t make a huge deal because of the director’s sex (which seems to be the point of this article). As Katheryn Bigelow said, it would be nice to mention directors without having to point out whether they were men or women.

    This isn’t the first time a director has been pulled off a movie, even at Pixar (Jan Pinkava off of Ratatouille), and in most cases the movie turns out better than before (such as Brad Bird’s Ratatouille). And Brenda will surely go on to do great things, just like Chris Sanders did after losing American Dog. Hopefully Brave turns out for best and Brenda goes on to make even better movies.

    • Given how many are men, it’s so rarely worth pointing out.

  • This is really upsetting I was so excited about Brenda directing at Pixar. I always loved the Prince of Egypt I thought she could bring back that beautiful sense of scale for a Brave/Bear and the Bow.

    I trust Pixar made this decision for a good reason…but I’m still curious why it had to happen. Its so discouraging to see a lack of ladies in high up positions. I don’t think women deserve the spots just because they are women..that’s just stupid…but at the same time I think that they can bring something unique to a production and encourage younger girls in the field to aim high in a predominately male industry.*

    *comment may be bias as commenter is in fact a female lady type in the animation industry.

  • What’s up with Pixar lately? Canceling Newt, changing the title to Brave then losing director, and 3 of the next 4 movies are sequels (if you count TS3)….

    • Iain

      Skinner must be in charge of film production now.

      The next thing you’ll know will be Pixar announcing a movie based on microwaveable rolls.

    • Kyle Maloney

      Also, Doug Sweetland left the studio recently as well to direct his first feature for Sony. I still have faith in them (a near flawless winning streak earns them that much) but can’t help but wonder what is going on in there?

    • Tim Douglas

      1st – surely TS3 gets a pass on everything FOR ALL TIME.

      2nd – I’m concerned for Pixar too, I hope they haven’t got a case of the Disneys.

  • La Pulga

    You have an office?

    • Justin

      He meant the back seat of Amid’s Honda Civic.

    • Hehe that was the first question I had too.

  • Joffe

    this wouldn’t be news for most places, but Pixar does have a reputation as a boys club that focuses on boy movies starring boy characters for boys. It may be people holding Pixar to a highter standard, but honestly thats just because Pixar is so good they SHOULD be held to a higher standard. Its like the Daily Show sexism kafuffle awhile back, yes the problem is more the entertainment industry rather than one particular studio, but when that one studio produces such quality work and has such a fantastic atmosphere otherwise its less an attack than it is a helpful challenge.

    • steppo

      This topic does seem to come up a lot. Maybe because we don’t think about producers? Most of the producers I work with are female (3to1) and their word can make or break a production. . .

      Katherine Sarafian seems to be flourishing at Pixar – just sayin. . .

      • Joffe

        there was an article awhile back about how producer was one of the few places in Hollywood that women were close to well represented and are very successful in. Smarter people than me would probably be able to say why. I think its a good start but it doesn’t really address the issue of disparity in directing and writing jobs for men and women. Again, I think the problem is the entertainment industry at large not any one studio, but I think its fair for people to take their own favorite studios to task for it, especially places that produce high quality work.

    • Shawn’s Bro

      “Brave” strikes me as a response to the “boys club” accusation against Pixar and a kind of obvious one at that. If you take Disney’s overall animation product, animation oriented towards girls: Bolt, the Tinkerbell series, Princess and the Frog, Tangled (?) and 90 percent of the Disney channel programming it pretty much balances out.

      I’m disappointed that Chapman was booted, but I’m sure she’ll be snapped up by another studio ASAP and that Disney is actively looking for a talented woman who can direct.

      • Clarissa

        I hardly think that the Disney representation of girls balances out with Pixar’s boys. They are overwhelmingly pretty girls in pretty, pretty dresses. I’d like to see more Meridas.

  • Tim Hodge

    Steve Hickner and Simon Wells were co-directors with Ms Chapman on Prince of Egypt (which I thought was Dreamworks’ 1st animated film… someone let me know what they released before that one).

    • ANTZ was released a little over 2 months before Prince of Egypt.

      • Tim Hodge

        Thanx. Almost forgot about that one. I guess I had 2D on the brain.

    • Karen

      And Jeffery Katzenburg directed Prince of Egypt. Sadly, it flopped.

  • purin

    I can understand that this likely involved a lot of different factors and forces. Still, it would be nice to get more major female input into a studio as skilled and capable as PIxar. It’d be nice to have some well-done “everybody” films with a different perspective.

  • Karl Hungus

    Why does someone’s gender matter?

    Gender is a non issue. Thats the battle cry of so many political causes on the ballot today, and then after you invest in that talking point, you’re asked to turn around and start gauging who is this sex and who is that sex. You can’t have it both ways.
    Either gender matters or it doesn’t.

    • Captain Hollywood

      I would agree… I’d prefer these movies were made by the most qualified person managing a team creating the best possible story regardless of their gender.

    • Yes, gender matters. Yes, men and women are different. That’s precisely why it’s so important to have a balance between both perspectives, with equal respect given to each. Both movies and the movie industry are overrun with men. Brave is also the first Pixar movie with a female main character, and personally, Chapman getting replaced by a man makes me worried that Brave is going to get Tangled and made “more interesting to boys” as well.

      Sure, the quality of the movie matters more than who directs it. I was just looking forward to seeing something a little different from Pixar.

      • Karl Hungus

        Wow! You are saying that men and women are different and each provide a unique perspective that, while being different is just as important as each other. And both of them together have an intrinsic value to the human experience?

        Thats crazy. Because the same line of reasoning in the gay marriage discussion is characterized as ‘homophobic hate speech’.

        Welcome to the party.

      • Hahaha whaaaaaAAAAAAT?!?

        Dude. I can’t even tell if you’re being serious or sarcastic or doublemetasarcastic or what, but either way, go spew your political views somewhere else. We’re trying to talk about cartoons here.

      • Karl Hungus

        Gender matters. I choose not to be selective in my application of that truism.
        (lots of people today want to pick and choose when to tow that line)

      • matt

        Boo wasn’t a female main character? Just funnin’… I guess you mean central character, as Jesse (especially in TS2) and Boo are absolutely main characters to me. Semantics I guess.

        And true, not many Women directors, but loads of women producers. Your generic “overrun” comment makes it sound like women are still being stuck in Walt’s Ink & Paint dept. (reference intentional). Besides actually being pretty disparaging in the opposite direction. Reverse discrimination is still discrimination. While criticising someone else for being political. And your second comment shows YOU to have an agenda too – waiting to decide how disappointed you’ll be. Don’t prepare for eyerolling – none of us can ever actually know what it may have been like enough to compare it against the final version and it would be disingenuous to do so. To me Tangled just sounds like the newly clichéd post-princess post-fairy tale take. We’ll see.

        Having said that, I agreed with everything you said at first until it all went sideways… it just seems like you’re having your cake and eating it too with your Gender matters/don’t spew politics we’re talking cartoons/quality matters more than who directs it/both perspectives stuff. You seem to play both sides here. Maybe I’ve got it wrong and you’re not criticising the men who “overrun” the place for women’s director numbers not being higher, but rallying women to increase their numbers in that field. I can’t tell. Are you in the industry?

        Finally, you know what I love? Powerpuff girls. Ostensibly a “girls’ show” that has great, strong girl characters that appeal to boys as well. I’m not even going to get into the Barbie debate.

      • Patrice

        Karl Hungus, yes men and woman are different.
        the differences can be appreciated, celebrated, and can enrich our lives.

        But they are obviously not essential.

        You do not marry someone because you want to celebrated the gender differences, you marry someone because you love that person.

        This is obvious, people assume that you can understand this. This is why they conclude that you have homophobic views and intentions.

      • Matt, my concern is less for the sex of the director than for the impact the change might have on the film itself. I’m sorry if that wasn’t very clear. My “second” comment about being disappointed was actually my first, so it was more of my gut reaction, while my comments in this thread were a little more thought-out. I didn’t mean I was expecting to be disappointed, I meant I would wait to see the film before I formed an opinion about whether the director shakeup was a good or bad thing.

        Did you read the Newsweek article that’s linked in the sidebar from a couple weeks ago? It’s pretty interesting, particularly the statistic that only 29% of characters in family films from the past 3 years were female. If that isn’t overrun, I don’t know what is, and that’s a statistic that could be made perfectly balanced without damaging the careers of any talented, deserving people. I know less about the people working in the industry itself, but I believe that the ratio is still pretty lopsided, and I know that women in all industries are still paid much less than men in the same jobs. Still!

        I’m NOT advocating any sort of weird affirmative-action gender-ratio quota for studios. That’s not right. But I think that there is still a lingering perception from the ink-and-paint days that film and animation in particular are a sort of boys club, which subtly discourages girls and women for aiming high in the industry, and it’s reflected in the films that are being made. And I think a great Pixar film about a girl on an adventure could do a lot to change that. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a lot of those films. It was going through my favorite movies, and realizing how few of them have more than a token female character or two, that really opened my eyes to this issue. I never used to care either.

        Karl’s response was so utterly bizarre, like he was trying to trap me into his favorite political debate, that I didn’t think it merited an actual reply.

        Oh, and I wouldn’t say I’m in the industry – I’m currently a student doing freelance illustration to help pay grocery bills, and I’ve had the opportunity to work on a couple television projects as an unpaid intern, but I don’t think that counts. :)

        I hope that answers all your questions!

      • Karl Hungus

        But they are different. So when there is a battle cry at Emerson University in Boston to make bathrooms “gender neutral” because specifying one sex or the other is uncomfortable to those who haven’t figured it out yet I’ll be happy that we agree. Or when the transgender ‘T’ of the ‘LBGT’ cause in our society gets snubbed because gender matters I’ll be happy that you agree with me. And color me surprised you started with the insults on your first post. Its adds so much to this complicated issue.

      • I’ll be astounded if it turns out they were trying to make Brave appeal more to boys. If demographic decisions were part of their creative process, Up’s lead would never have been a senior citizen.

      • matt

        Hey thanks Kecky for the reply. And I think in retrospect I came over a bit unintentionally harsh. Karl’s response did seem to change tone midstream to me too.

      • Clarissa

        “Or when the transgender ‘T’ of the ‘LBGT’ cause in our society gets snubbed because gender matters I’ll be happy that you agree with me.”
        Uh, no, it’s not gender that matters here. In those cases, the transgendered individual is snubbed because someone is saying that piping matters, birth sex matters. A person can be born of the male sex and be gendered female and vice versa.
        Of course, you could be saying you think this gender stuff is horse shit but I hope that isn’t the case.

    • The Obvious

      Totally agree, Karl!

      It’s totally coincidence that the most talented people in the director’s role just happen to be men. People are making a big deal out of nothing. It sounds to me like this whole man thing is working for them, and they should run with it.

      And while were at it, race doesn’t matter either!

      If there are so many capable minorities out there, why aren’t more of them directing?

      You can’t have it both ways women and people of color!

      You can’t look at this utterly random coincidence and see it as the result of institutionalized prejudice. This is AMERICA and we have absolutely no history of institutionalized prejudice!

      • Hadley

        You’re joking, right?

        1. No one brought up race.

        2. Institutionalized prejudice has a very long and (un)glorious tradition in the US. If it didn’t, then the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th amendments to the Constitution, as well as countless other state and federal laws, would have never needed to exist. I’m not saying that everything that happens relates back to prejudice, but it is certainly still a major problem in the world today that isn’t helped by ignoring it.

        I think you were probably being facetious (at least, I hope you were), but for posterity’s sake I felt I needed to say something.

      • The Obvious

        To answer your first question, and also for prosperity’s sake: Yes.

      • they dont call him the obvious for nothin’

    • Clarissa

      Gender matters because males are so frequently provided more and better opportunities than females. Otherwise, no it doesn’t. The point is a woman could very well be as capable in this position as a man and it would be good if the studio looked to women as much as it looked to men. Clearly the women are out there now, though they weren’t always because see point one above.

  • I’m a little disappointed by this… I’ll wait til I see the movie to decide just how disappointed. I was so looking forward to a Pixar movie – or really, an animated movie, period – with a strong female perspective. I just want to see a girl go on an adventure that’s not just a platform for a romance. If that can still happen with Brave, I’ll be satisfied, regardless of the director.

    Of course a woman director doesn’t automatically equal a strong heroine, and Chapman being pushed aside doesn’t automatically mean that Merida and her mother will be pushed aside to make room for a stronger male presence, but – I think it may be harder. We have plenty of time to wait and see.

    • David Condolora

      Sounds like you need to see “Tangled” when it opens next month. :)

      • Oh don’t worry, my calendar has been cleared for about a year. :D I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to say on the subject then!!!

    • Gray

      The hopeful thing, I suppose, is that one needn’t necessarily be a woman to create a strong heroine. Just look at Miyazaki; has anyone in animation produced stronger heroines than Hayao Miyazaki?
      I’m curious, though; did Pixar make a big deal out of Chapman being their first female director, or did the media? The answer to that might shed some light on the degree to which gender matters to them. It could just be coincidence that all their directors have been male, so far.
      To Joffe, one could make a convincing argument that most of Disney’s best known features have been, while directed by men, “girl’s movies,” in the same way I imagine you mean that Pixar’s are “boy’s movies.”

      • jb

        “I’m curious, though; did Pixar make a big deal out of Chapman being their, or did the media?”

        At Annecy 2009, they were quite proud of the fact that they had a female director, if only to emphasize “we make the movies that we want to see ourselves” motto.
        They also talked a little about the fact that a female director brings different sensibilities to a production.
        It was a Q&A though, so no official press release or anything.

        I guess they like to pride themselves about how diversity and creativity rules their studio, but when it comes down to it, they’ve been making the same buddy picture over and over again. Pixar has become almost a genre on its own. I don’t know if it’s the “brain trust” to blame for sticking to the same, or perhaps it’s just audience expectations, but with the money involved in these productions, it’s very hard to break that mold that made them so successful in the first place.

        This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy their movies, though. But I don’t expect anything new or revolutionary from a Pixar movie.

        That being said, I was curious what Brave would turn out like under the direction of Brenda Chapman.

  • Mclovin

    Yes! Mark Andrews. I’m so pumped for this film now!

  • holyduck

    As often as this happens, you should continue to cover these. They provoke a response of shock, and make people wonder what went down.

  • Liam Scanlan

    Remember…after Chris Sanders left American Dog, it became Bolt. So now that Brenda Chapman has left Brave, IT is going to become another feature as well.

    • man, I hope not. Brave sounds so interesting, just like American Dog did

  • Im just sorry to hear that another exciting director(regardless of gender) has been replaced (like Glen Keane, CHris Sanders, Jan pinkava) AND is also leaving the studio! (like sanders and pinkava)

    it must be frustrating and it means that alot elements will change and its just no fun to hear about strife in creative places.

  • And so it begins…

    • The Gee

      Okay…I’m beggin’ to know what IT is and when it usually starts.

      The process of what? Internet armchair quarterbacking? Or, production related? Or, legacy related?

      Or are you surreptitiously referring to Stephen King’s horror novel, “It”?
      If that is the case, if IT begins, I am so out of here.

  • I think this whole women vs men in production thing is overblown (having just read that other thread about that “Tangled home-movie”). I think it’s more a reflection of tenacity and ratio among the talent pool. I’m speaking from experience. Whatever. Too bad about this news though. I think she’s amazing and I would have liked to see her vision carried through.

    • The Obvious

      “I think it’s more a reflection of tenacity and ratio among the talent pool.”


      I won’t even comment on the “tenacity” aspect of this comment, but I would just like to ask what “talent pool” you’re swimming in?

      Is it a private pool?

      • OtherDan

        All I meant is that among my peers and the ones I have worked with over the years, the ones who are still working have been tenacious, persistent, hard workers-whether male or female. It seems there are more men/guys/boys in the field, but I suspect it’s also due to the ratio of applicants.

      • OtherDan

        In response to your question “Obvious”, I’m talking about people working or wanting to work for the the major animation studios. But, you’re “Obvious”, so I assumed you knew what I meant.

      • The Obvious

        Other Dan,

        It may be that the ratio of those working in positions where one is likely to be promoted to the director’s chair favors men, but you go too far when you say that the ratios are extreme enough regarding ‘men and women with the tenacity and desire to be directors’ to justify the extreme nature of the statistics in this instance.

        I am citing your justification by claiming a lack of women “wanting to work for the the major animation studios,” as well as “It seems there are more men/guys/boys in the field, but I suspect it’s also due to the ratio of applicants.”

        I seriously doubt the assertion that a lack of “wanting to work for the the major animation studios” is the result of the abysmal ratio of women directors, and I would also disagree with the applicants ratio argument as, even if it were the case, any statistics with a zero on one side are cause for analysis beyond the assumption of innocent happenstance.

        That is not an assertion of malicious intent on the part of anyone, however, when circumstances or conditions show an unhealthy tendency they should be carefully examined.

        P.S. You left off the “The!” It loses all its meaning without the “The!” “THE Obvious.”

      • Maybe I’m just tired. But, I’m not getting your point “The Obvious”-which is still an oxymoron.

        I wasn’t singling out women directors when I surmised there are likely more men than woman applicants in the field of animation. I’m going to run that by a couple recruiter friends to confirm my assertion. It’s an observation at this point.

        My point was that in my experience whether it’s a man or a woman, it’s the tenacious ones that seem to have the staying power. It has nothing to do with sex. I’ve known several people who have dropped out of the business. And, the main quality of those who stay with it is persistence.. It wasn’t a comment about Brenda Chapman or directors. It was a comment about this argument that men are holding women down. Personally, in my 11 yrs, I don’t see it. If anything, these days I see hot women being given greater opportunities than men. And, I suspect that’s no surprise.

      • Clarissa

        Oh yes, I’m sure it has everything to do with the fact that they’re “hot” women. I love how that main descriptor for females there is their appearance and sexual appeal.

  • Abu

    Pixar hasn’t disappointed yet so I’m sure this was done for a good reason. I think that people get too caught up on people’s race, gender or whatever. The audience doesn’t care, they just want to see a great movie.

    • Jen

      I’m part of “the audience”, and I care. I want more women, more people of color, more people from different backgrounds in high-ranking creative positions because ideally they’d bring their own perspective, energy and sensibilities into the industry. They’d make different sorts of movies.

      I love Pixar, but despite how adventurous and conceptually amazing their movies are, the heart of every movie they’ve created so far has been a man’s story. Their films might be structurally and visually superb works of art and story-telling, but if they keep going this way they’re going to start feeling awfully one-tone.

      I was particularly looking forward to seeing a woman-directed film like Brave, which at its core is (was?) supposedly about a mother and her daughter.

      I hope Brenda Chapman gets snapped up by a studio (maybe she can get an office next to Chris Sanders) right away and that she gets to make the movie she’s always wanted to make. I’d love to see it.

      • Abu

        Well, maybe you do but most people don’t. Really. When it comes down to it people want a great story told in an entertaining way.

        I don’t care if its directed by a man, woman, child or whatever. I have no bias as far as art is concerned. Maybe a different ethnicity or background or female person can tell a different story. That’s great and if done well, I’ll see it.

        But we don’t know what is happening behind the scenes of this one, most of us here do not know what happened to cause Ms. Chapman’s departure. Whatever the reason, I’m sure its not because of some kind of absurd ‘no girls allowed’ policy.

      • Clarissa

        I’m another audience member who cares because the absence of that diversity IS noticeable. I’m guessing you don’t see it because they’re already catering to your preferences.

  • As a fan of Mark Andrews’s work on Samurai Jack, I’m looking forward to seeing him make his directoral debute

  • Jorge Garrido

    If this is true, it makes me sad not because Brena Chapman is a woman, but because I read that she is a big fan of Hans Christian Anderson as fairy tales as a form of serious literature. As soon as I read that about her I was intrigued by the film because I felt it would add a literary and inter-textual quality to the film. I really would like to see an old style fairy tale done at Disney again, but by someone who takes them seriously as a fan and an artist. Brenda seemed to fit the bill.

  • papasmurf

    uh yeah.. who the hell cares if the director is male/female, black/white, dog/cat etc etc?? As long as the film is decent, I honestly don’t care who directed it.

    • The Gee

      Well, if the film is good, hopefully you’ll care who directed it then.

      I get what you are saying but I think what some who might be less than thrilled at the news is that she would bring about different sensibilities to the film. As a few others mentioned above there are aspects about her that either do or may show up in the production.

      I’m not big on name the talent who did…

      But, the thing is there are unique fingerprints on projects by different directors. This is likely the case even if that Lasseter fellow has his say and wants something changed.

      As it goes, it is drag she is off of it. If she left, I’m sure she’s going to be alright.

  • EPIC FAIL. I was so looking forward to see what she would bring to pixar. I hope this is a rumor and not real. Damn!

  • Tokyo

    To me it makes sense to open the doors to a new talent, she had her break and regadless, she wasnt being discarded, if she left, its because she wantend to most likely. since i doubt pixar would want to get rid of someone with her experience. but these kind of choices are what have made pixar what it is today and i agree with it.

  • Until now I had no idea that “Prince of Egypt” was so beloved by animation connoisseurs. When it came out I seem to recall it being more regarded as a too self-serious Disney imitation.

    • Stephan

      The funny thing about animation that gets bad reviews, they’re often from adults. The kids who saw it grow up with a different opinion of it. One less based in history and criticism and one based on gut instinct.

      • And nostalgia.

      • well… then there may be hope yet for “Home on the Range” and “Treasure Planet”.

      • Rosa

        I don’t think there’ll ever be hope for Home on the Range.

      • Mark W.


      • Willy105

        Yeah, Home on the Range will face a hard time getting some nostalgia.

        But Treasure Planet rules.

  • I can’t help but feel disappointed. I’m not here believing that the switch was unfair, or that I know anything about the context in which that decision was made–I absolutely do not.

    But gender is not a “non-issue” here, as some have claimed. Pixar films (at least partly) showcase a director’s vision, and the last twelve features, as Amid stated, have been directed by men, and perhaps more than coincidentally, been told about male characters. Can we name one Pixar film that follows (and is mainly about) a female character’s journey–we can’t!

    “Brave” was slotted to be about a female protagonist, and hopefully the change of directors won’t change this key story feature. It would be simply interesting, out-of-the-ordinary, to see a Pixar film about a female character and the things that happen to her. Sure, give that character a male sidekick or two, but why not change it up a bit? Aside from that story difference, I was also looking forward to seeing how Brenda Chapman, a woman, might have a different angle on traditional Pixar storytelling–just as Brad Bird, a sort of “rebel” male filmmaker, did. That is all.

  • Isn’t it Ironic

    If we want to see strong female characters in animated movies, we have to watch movies made by an old Japanese man.

    • MarieMJS

      I second that :) What is it with western animation and female lead characters?

  • randy V

    I’d heard Brave mentioned as Pixar’s first bomb. Maybe this is an attempt to turn the tide.

    • Doug Nichols

      Prior to the release of each one, hasn’t every Pixar film been billed as “the first bomb” by somebody?

    • Bobby N

      I think Cars 2 is destined to be the first critical bomb. But it will still make a tonne of money.

      I was really looking forward to Brave, as my fiesty lil daughter will be the perfect age when its supposed to be released. I want a strong character for her to enjoy.

      • NC

        So what? Mark Andrews can’t make a film with a strong female character? Are you guys all forgetting that Hayao Miyazaki is both a man and makes films ABOUT strong female characters and his films are embraced by a diverse demographic of both gender and race. However small that demographic is it is diverse. Honestly all of America couldn’t give less a care whether or not a man or a woman is directing an animated film, just us animators, animation enthusiasts and animation students no one else.

        And I’ll be honest with one exception, Julie Taymor, I haven’t been blown away by most films directed by women and honestly neither has most of America, I mean how many people saw Lost in Translation, Surveillance, Marie-Antoinette, or even The Hurt Locker before it won Best Picture and then even after it won? None of these movies were box office hits, and even though I love Julie Taymor none of her movies were mega hits, Across the Universe is pretty much her biggest hit and that sits at cult status at best.

        So you can’t say it’s a man’s game when the average American who doesn’t know or care about who’s directing what movie is the one who’s really dictating everything. If you want to change it you have to do more than change something as meaningless as who’s directing the next Pixar movie, because, honestly NO ONE CARES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Obo

        And we all know no man can create a strong female character. :rolleyes:

      • Personally, I’m not concerned with whether or not a male director can create a strong female character. The topic at hand is why a strong female director was taken off her project, which she was clearly qualified to direct.

        “I haven’t been blown away by most films directed by women and honestly neither has most of America.” How many female directors can you list? It’s funny, I haven’t liked MOST of the films directed by men. Oh, and by that I just mean–I don’t like most of the films I see, period.

        Winky face.

      • Mark Walton

        NC, I think it’s possible for a man to tell a great story about a strong, believable female protagonist and vice versa. To me, a big part of the creative process is about imagining what it’s like to experience the world through someone else’s eyes, even someone quite different than yourself. Mark Andrews may be a very nice guy, and may make a great film, albeit a different film than the one Brenda wanted to make, for better or worse. I have to say, I’ve seen some of the movies you listed and really liked them – I don’t necessarily equate box office with actual quality, as there are a lot of movies that have made a lot of money that I consider absolute garbage, aimed at the lowest common denominator, and vice-versa (some of my favorite movies were box office flops). For me, the biggest tragedy here is that Brenda, who came up with this project, which was, by all reports, deeply personal to her, invested years, a lot of blood, sweat, tears and herself, with the understanding that Pixar would make HER movie with HER in charge, and then pulled it away from her when it was too late for her to take it somewhere else, and will do what they will with it whether she likes it or not. I used to think, when I’d hear of directors being switched out on animated films, Man, I feel bad for the poor guy who got the boot – must be humiliating! – but it must have been the right thing to do, because look how much better the film turned out! Then I was on a film that was the brainchild of the director, something he developed for almost a decade, that the head of the company loved and quickly got into production. My friend, the director, was promised multiple times that the film would be made, with him in charge, but he still had it in his contract that he could take the film with him if he ever left the studio. Then the studio leadership changed, the champions of the film were removed, and the one guy who continued to promise that everything was fine, not to worry, kept the development going long enough to suddenly cancel the film, tell my friend that, should he leave, too much money had already been spent to let him have the project back, contract or no, and, when he left in frustration, quietly started the film up again with a different director. Maybe we’ll never know what happened with “Brave”, but I can never again assume that “it was all for the best”. Sounds to me like John Sanford was there and may have the most accurate bead on the situation, unless someone else in the know has a different perspective.

      • NC, you have made two mistakes (in my opinion at least) in your post. The first is that you associate box office success with quality. I really like nearly all the movies you mentioned. But maybe you should ask why you hadn’t heard of them before they one awards? The answer is they weren’t widely marketed, is that because the people in charge of marketing (the majority of which are men) didn’t see the value in it or didn’t think it would make money? Hard to say.

        You may be right that the average American doesn’t care who directs a movie, but the average American also doesn’t choose who directs a movie. It’s frankly naive to think or try to argue that it isn’t a male dominated industry. In the 10 years I’ve been working as a professional I’ve seen no evidence that it isn’t. Male directors direct the movies they want to see, which is fine, it’s great, I like a lot of those movies too, but it’s just stupid to ignore half the population, both ethically and financially. This was a good year for proving that women are a big financial force to cater too with several movies, like the Twilight series raking in tons of cash from mostly female audiences. The next step is to make better quality movies that also appeal to women. Who could possibly know what women want? Wait… maybe women?! It’s not that men can’t, but would you interview a white suburban kid about life in South Central LA?

      • NC

        First, we don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors at Pixar. Lasseter is EXTREMELY protective of his company and I think everyone here would agree that he wouldn’t have done this if he didn’t believe it was for the greater good of the production. Pixar has yet to make a flop, both critically and financially, and Lasseter has had to make tough decisions but they’ve consistently been good decisions. I’m sure he’s not happy over firing their first female director but there had to have been a reason other than misogyny. I mean has Lasseter ever done something that seemed out right prejudice? Really tell me because I’ll admit I have been out of the loop for a while. If Walt Disney were still alive though, I’d be more inclined to believe it.

        What the real question here should be is what happened?

        Everyone here seems to have this pie in the sky mentality that in the entertainment industry people give you a truck-load of money to make whatever you want with it and that’s your right.

        No, you are given money by someone in the hopes you will make that person more money, it’s a trade-off. They loan you money, if you can’t make that money back then they’re not going to break your legs or force you to pay it back, but on the other hand they have a right to tell you to do what they want. This project was SOLD to Pixar meaning John Lasseter, not Brenda Chapman, owns it.

        This is why I have always respected people who go the Bill Plympton route. You’ll gain much more respect and recognition among your peers and do what you want. No matter what studio you go to, Pixar or DreamWorks you’re going to have to make compromises. Male or Female (Shane Acker had a big beef with Tim Burton on 9 and went as far as to say that 9 was not his film).

        If you want to make a personal film it’s nearly impossible to do it in the studio system.

        Chris- It’s even more naive to think that the American people don’t decide anything when they purchase a ticket or any product for that matter. That’s how capatalism works, do you think Outsourcing would exist if we didn’t buy products made by children in a Third World Country?

        Second, it’s stupid to try to make a gender driven movie. If you make a movie based purely on what boys want, it’s going to be Transformers, if you make a movie based purely on what girls want, it’s going to be Twilight.

        A good story… A GREAT story is a balance of both sides. And I’ll bet you that’s probably where Lasseter and Brenda parted ways. Probably an imbalanced relationship from both sides. One probably wanted their team to be better represented and really in the end that’s all this argument really seems like to me.

  • Levi

    Oh boy…Like a lot of you…I am very disappointed by this decision. I feel bad for her. Mostly because I know Chapman herself came into Pixar several years back from Dreamworks feeling deprived of her talents …and now she has left Pixar….one of the most creatively thriving studios around:( This artist needs a break. Hopefully she can pull a Chris Sanders later on.

  • This is an amazing breakthrough news. I am so disappointed if it is true! Thanks for the heads up–I definitely will be talking about this this week on the podcast!

  • More Female Directors

    This sucks – horrible news.

    I want to see Brenda Chapman’s Brave NOT Mark Andrews’.

  • daniel

    Director driven my ass~ another example of how lasseter does not trust the talent in his studios!

    This is just one of many examples of how john wont let any directors direct their own films if it goes against his “notes” Chalk up brenda with doug sweetland, glen keane, chris sanders, aaron blaise, jan pinkava..etc who actually stood their ground about their own film but have it stolen away by another” yes”man director…

    How can john say he wants his studios to be director driven yet if he doesn’t like what the directors do he demotes them? How is he any different from any other exec?

    • He puts the story above everything else, that is how he is different from the rest of the execs.

      It is fair to argue with John’s idea on good story and how it can be at times narrow minded. But John is first and foremost an artist who wants to create good stories. You can hardly argue with his record.

      • J.M.

        Well, except for Bolt. And The Princess and the Frog. And that ‘storks delivering babies’ short. But, yeah, other than those, he’s been pretty darned successful at making me cry over the fictional lives of toys and making Disney/Pixar tons of money.

      • J.M FTW.

  • Rob T.

    Hmmm….leaving aside the gender of the director for the moment, I’m disappointed that “Brave” won’t be Pixar’s first film directed by someone who hadn’t either worked on “Toy Story” or “The Iron Giant” (Andrews has a credit on the latter). It suggests that Pixar has a problem trusting people outside a relatively small circle with directing responsibility, and I worry how long that small group can keep coming up with ideas (though so far they’ve done pretty well). Perhaps this is one reason Pixar has lately been hiring “indiewood” writers such as Tom McCarthy and Michael Arndt–to generate ideas that the old guard wouldn’t have come up with on their own.

  • Mark R.

    Sad news!

    I really don’t want to see a guy like Mark Andrews telling a heroines tale. He’s good at manly stuff and blowing sh#t up!

    This is a shame – Pixar just keeps replacing/firing any new directors.

    Toy Story 2, Newt, Brave, Cars 2, Ratatouille –

    If you want to direct a film but aren’t in with the old boys club don’t even bother applying!

  • jerome

    I understand the disppointment in seeing Brenda Chapman leaving but Mark Andrews is so talented and from his work on Samurai Jack I can understand how a medieval Scotland tale perfectly fits his universe… So i’m really eager to see his first directorial effort.

    • Jackson

      “Samurai Jack” is HARDLY a pinnacle of storytelling. We’ll see how long this lasts.

  • Mike Gabriel

    Brenda is a class act. A beautiful soul. A star talent in the industry who continues to inspire, more so in adversity than a smooth ride. The Brave release is heartbreaking from the outside but maybe a blessing from the inside. You never know.

    • I agree with Mike Gabriel and Floyd Norman’s view. I worked with Brenda on Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and The Prince of Egypt. In every project her creativity was only outshone by her engaging personality and poise. She is one of the finest artists working in animation today.

  • Justin M.


    While this isn’t as distressing as having a lineup composed primarily of sequels, it doesn’t help matters any either.

    I’ve said this many times, but for several years I looked forward to Pixar films even when I had no idea what new worlds and characters would come next. Actually, no. I looked forward to them not in spite of that, but *because* of it. Originality is a breath of fresh air most studios are too afraid to risk giving audiences. Pixar seemed to relish that risk. There was a thrill in not knowing what was about to be revealed.

    It’s not a bad thing to remain hopeful that these things don’t bode ill for the studio. I would never wish ill on them. But I think it’s wise to remember that Disney itself on more than one occasion had a track record not unlike Pixar’s only to experience long dry spells (mid 70s to late 80s, and then late 90’s through to “The Princess and the Frog”). One cannot underestimate the threats that come with wild success and wilder praise, even when both are deserved.

  • The Brewmasters

    A reminder that per our posting guidelines, comments with fake email addresses will be deleted. You don’t have to use your real name, but the email must be a working address that belongs to you.

  • Sorry but

    Gender card players are the ones that strive to make entertainment bland in the name of equality. Same for race cards, sexual orientation cards, etc.

    The end product is what matters, and by the way, it takes an entire deck of cards to make these films, not just the King (or Joker)

    • AltredEgo

      Equality is not what made entertainment bland. A prevailing belief that only certain types of characters and very specific story conventions can be successful with mainstream audiences is what made movies bland.

      • Sorry but

        How is what you just described not related to equality? “Making love to the entire world” so to speak?

      • Sorry but,
        I think AlteredEgo is exactly right. Look at the formulaic crap we see constantly.

        “One man, with kung fu, must save the world”
        “One man, with a gun, must save the world”

        there are a billion of these movies, or teen movies, or romantic comedies (incidentally mostly directed by men)

        add some people with unique viewpoints and we get movies like Precious, Sin Nombre, Persepolis, Waltz with Bashir etc. etc.

        How is that marginalizing anything?

  • Dave

    This is great news! I’m really excited to see Mark Andrews’ directorial debut, this has really turned around my somber opinion of Pixar films as of late.

  • matt

    It is interesting to me that more than Disney making “girls’ films” directed by men, Miyazaki films are even more about female characters, while the Japanese industry is still more male-dominated in those central positions than the U.S.

    I think there’s a catch-22 between people blaming men for there not being “enough” (whatever that means) women directors, and (not looking into) whether there are the same percentage who TRY to be directors but fail or are pushed down by evil men/the machine. What if women actually prefer being producers instead? There are certainly many female producers, women in strong, central roles.

    The only way to solve this rather than continuing armchair speculation would be to survey the industry, from schools (to see how many women are pursuing the job in the first place) to the top, and ASK how many women are interested in being in the industry, and whether they DO want to be directors. For all we know there may be a similar percentage to men of those who apply & train to those who finally make their living at it. Until then, there will be a level of redundancy to these discussions.

  • James Mcdade

    Mmmm would have been nice to have had the first female director at Pixar, however, I think a story like this, fits Scottish Mark Andrews perfectly actually! I feel confident he will do a great job!!

  • Disappointing that the first Pixar female director for their first female lead didn’t work out. I think that would have been a good mix-up and very interesting to see that film. But connecting this to studio-wide doom and gloom is a little over the top, guys. Chillllll out….

  • Without bringing up any sexual tension, I’m not sure why Brenda Chapman got ousted from BRAVE (we’d have to hear it from her), but I would’ve liked to see, out of curiosity, a Pixar film directed by a female. That said, all I can do is hope for the best out of this film.

    Even after one person here slammed UP as being “artsy-fartsy nonsense” long before it was released (based only on the teaser trailer), the movie turned out to be one of Pixar’s finest. Be it a new film, or a sequel to an older film, Pixar hasn’t let me down yet, despite whatever problems happened behind the scenes. So I look forward to BRAVE.

  • There are many opinions here because none of you know what really happened.

    I stand with my friend and colleague, Mike Gabriel who said it better than I ever could. Brenda is indeed a class act, and for this old animation veteran the news is heartbreaking.

    • The Gee

      ah! …so It is a More Than Meets the Eye situation?

      sigh. Aren’t they all?
      Unless feature directors are coming from live action and well-connected or doing “their” project, getting to helm an animated feature can’t be the easiest gig to get. So, if she was helming this flick at one point certainly it is because she earned the right and respect to direct the feature. It may have only been her first at Pixar but it isn’t like she won’t get another shot at another feature…at some studio.

      Hopefully those dissing Pixar/Lasseter, etc. keep in mind that they are most likely NOT about making illusions with productions and who’s doing what. Chapman got the chance because she earned it. If there was a glass floor on the boys club then she wouldn’t have gotten in to the room, would she?

      What happened after that, like some have said, is little known.
      (oh yeah, that previous post I made, I was just funnin’ ya, Mr. Norman.)
      So it goes…

    • Dan Spacik

      Yes Floyd, we know you worked at Disney.

      • Mark Walton

        What is that supposed to mean? Are you trying to be funny? Do you know him in person,as your personal tone suggests? Even if you thought Floyd was bragging about his career (which I didn’t get from his comment), he’s earned it.

      • Scarabim

        I agree with Mark. People like Floyd offer great insight because he’s part of the “old guard” of animation; he’s seen what once was and can apply his perspective to what’s happening now. Pretty invaluable, if you ask me.

  • Gobo

    I personally couldn’t care less what gender, color, religion, or sexual orientation a director is, as long as they’re doing a good job on their project. It’s a meaningless distinction. Did Disney make a big deal about how Lilo & Stitch would have a unique perspective on being an ‘outsider’ or ‘oddball’ because it was co-directed by a gay man? A talented director can tell a woman’s story, a man’s story, or an alien’s story no matter what gender they are. That’s their job.

    I think it’s really ridiculous to pass judgement on Pixar or John Lasseter without knowing the story behind Brenda’s departure. And, with a few exceptions, none of you do.

    • Hadley

      No one (or, at least, not me) is disagreeing with your initial thought. I would whole-heartedly agree that the ability to tell a good story is not dependent on gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. The point is that women, minorities, and others should have just as much of a chance to showcase their talent because of that rule. You’re right in saying that most of us don’t know why Brenda Chapman left “Brave,” but the point is that people are disappointed that she didn’t get to showcase her talents as Pixar’s first female director in the movie that contains Pixar’s first female protagonist. Also, the fact that she is female and in an important executive position means she functions, in one respect, the same as the protagonist in “Brave”; she is a role model to any younger females who might be considering getting into the business. Since it truly doesn’t matter who does the work as long as they do it well, the doors and the mentality of the business – and any other business, for that matter – should be equally open.

  • Steve Gattuso

    I’m just going to wait and see. All I can do is judge the film on its own merits. I’m too tired to deal with most Hollywood drama anymore.

  • pappy d

    I want to see a movie directed by Brenda Chapman. I don’t care if she IS a girl. It’s a shame Pixar let her go.

    If animation heroines have to be so butch, I’m sure Mandrews will do a fine job. I just hope Brenda’s sensibilities aren’t lost in the next cycle of story reincarnation.

  • Ken

    It is a bit ironical that Chapman was replaced with the director of “One Man Band,” because that is exactly what PIxar is turning into, a one man band.

    • Karen

      Not even a very good short.

      • Karen

        Oh–and Andrews only co-directed that short. It was directed by someone named Andrew Jiminez.

  • Why is it that with as big of a staff as these studios have, that whenever something like this happens, not ONE person at the studio will anonymously tell the REAL story to a blog or twitter somewhere so that everyone can get their facts straight and all this speculation can END?

    I remember hearing 3 different stories about why Chris Sanders was booted off AmericanDog/Bolt including one from someone who apparently actually worked at disney who claimed it was because Sanders played too much Mrs.Pac-Man during work hours.

    WHAT. It’s been QUITE a while since that AND the Pinkava incident and NOBODY has said a thing about what REALLY is going on at these studios. I can only guess that it’s either because the people who work there really loathed the individuals who left/werefired and don’t care enough to talk about or are so afraid for their jobs they cant even use an IP-changing addon and leaving real news somewhere without fear of the great hammer of thor coming down to smite them. Or a third option is that they are so LOYAL to these individuals that they will take any interesting news about their employment shake-ups to their grave.

    It just weirds me out that EVERYONE is so tight-lipped about this sort of thing. Even Nintendo, who are well-known for having an almost SWAT-like diligence in not letting secrets from their company get out, STILL have problems with leaks.

    But it doesn’t happen at places like Pixar, Dreamworks are Sony.
    I am a glutton for gossip and I would like to be fed!

    On another note, Bear & the Bow is a way better title than Brave.

  • As the Grand Moff Tarkin said in “Star Wars,” Fear will keep the other systems in line. Fear, and this battle station.”

    Works in animation as well, doesn’t it?

    • Marco

      So what did happen? Was her release at least based on some logical reasoning, or did something bad happen?

  • Lucy

    Well, I know that one way or another it’ll come out a great film. This usually happens with Pixar films. A large panic, lots of stories about troubles, people getting replaced, and then bam! somehow something great comes out of it. I think it’s just how the creative process really works.

    I don’t believe gender plays any part in the quality of something, but still, everyone wants to be represented. And with all of the uber-talented female work that’s present in the animation industry today, I think that having a female director heading a Pixar or Disney project… That’s when we’ll know we’ve made it.

    I’m sure it’ll still be quality, and the new director will be fantastic. But I’m still a bit sad that it was so close to finally happening.

  • What crap.
    They fucked Brenda over. Period.
    They took a look at her movie and couldn’t fit it into any box they had, and so they took it away from her and gave it to someone else.
    A movie that SHE concieved, She nurtured, and she worked hard to make a reality.
    Then, they trumpet it to the heavens that “Pixar has a FEMALE director!!! Huzzah!”
    So what happened? She made a movie that didn’t fit into the “Pixar mold”, and these guys are afraid of failure, so they make a few changes. One of those changes is that Brenda is no longer directing.
    The Pixar powers that be smugly tell everybody that it’s all about the story and that it’s a director’s studio.
    Sure it is.
    Hypocrites in Hawaiian shirts and Razor scooters.

    • Cyle

      Did you witness all of this first hand, hear it from the source, or jump to conclusions? I’m honestly asking. I don’t know if you’re a Pixar employee or friends with any, but you seem pretty sure of what happened.

      • Cyle

        Oops, didn’t realize this was that John Sanford. I should have followed the link. Well that sucks to hear if she really was robbed. :(

    • HomeonderRange

      Did you have regrets taking over and directing someone elses film?

      • Hey “HomeonderRange”. What a cute moniker!!!
        If you are trying to take a shot at me, then it is a poor one. There is a world of difference between me being asked to take over “Sweating Bullets” and Pixar firing Brenda off of Brave.
        First: Disney never claimed to be “A director’s studio” and never claimed to support the “director’s vision”.
        Second: The way we did things at Disney was different. HoTR was never Mike and Mike’s movie, it was never Me and Will’s movie, it was Disney’s movie. They had expectations for the movie and we had to fulfill them, good or bad.
        This was supposedly BRENDA’s movie. That is how Pixar works, or at least, that is how they would like us to think.
        I wouldn’t be so mad if they would just come right out and admit they are no better than anyone else.
        Do I regret taking over from Mike Gabriel and Mike Giaimo?
        No. It was a great experience and I learned a lot. I’m not happy about how the movie turned out for a number of reasons.
        However, we are talking about Pixar and how they treat talent, in this case, Brenda Chapman.
        And truthfully, they don’t treat talent any better than anyone else.
        As a matter of fact, in some cases, they are worse.
        Just ask the guys who up there who are working hours of overtime with NO pay.
        On second thought, don’t.
        They won’t answer honestly.
        They are afraid for their jobs, and with good reason, wouldn’t you say?

      • Not to change the subject, but I just want to add to the reply above:

        Not speaking at all for John but knowing the type of person he is from working with him, I would think he’d be one of the first to address the fact that both Mike Gabriel and Mike Giamo should of been able to continue to direct the original film ‘ Sweating Bullets ‘.

      • I agree with Mark.

      • Sigh. It’s as I suspected. This one hurts. I was really looking forward to seeing her vision.

      • pappy d

        I agree with Mark & John. It’s in the nature of capital to be chicken-sh*t. I don’t know how many turns on the wheel of reincarnation that movie took from being the Mikes’ ghost story about a calf & a horse on a cattle drive to becoming “Home on the Range” or how many focus groups or how many opinions of how many executives.

        It’s hard to get anything through the development process with a real feminine sensibility. The studios figure these features have to appeal to the broadest possible audience & while girls will go see a boy picture, boys will not go see a girl picture. Tomboys are good. Sissies are bad.

        It’s as unfair as hell, but there it is.

    • Guy

      Is that really what actually happened, or are you just pulling that out of your ass?

      • It is an educated guess. You will notice that I have included no specifics.
        I do know that her movie was unconventional and that it was unpopular with certain members of the “Brain Trust” because of this.
        I can speculate based on other cases, the Chris Sanders thing, the Jan Pinkava thing, the Newt deal, and the troubles Brad and his Incredibles gang endured when they first arrived up there.
        I know how things work up there, Guy. You play by their rules. It’s their game.
        Like I said, I’d have no problem with this if they just fessed up and admitted that they are a business and no better than anyone else.
        Instead they persist with this “artist’s studio” horseshit, and that is exactly what it is. Horseshit.

      • MC

        I wish I knew the stories to which you refer. I’ve wondered about each of them.

  • I wonder how many of the people lamenting the lack of films by female directors have bought DVDs of Lotte Reiniger’s “The Adventures of Achmed” or Nina Paley’s “Sita Sings the Blues”?

    If that female vision thing were more financially successful maybe it would get a chance more often?

    • I have Sita, but not Achmed. I didn’t know that it was available on dvd.

      In short, I AM one of those people who supports female creatively helmed projects.

    • Jen

      God. I wish I could “dislike” a comment.

    • I own both of these…. And Persepolis, and most anything that Mary Blair had an artistic hand in that I can get my hands on. The movies directed by men still outnumber them at least twenty to one. Your point of this being….?

  • Right on, Mr. Sanford. Finally, somebody has the stones to speak up.

    • So… what Mr. Sandford says happened to Brenda really is what happened? Damn:( If so, it seems like Pixar sure has changed a lot since they backed up Brad Bird’s vision for ‘The Incredibles’ some years back. Watching that film and later reading about its production, I felt that probably no other Hollywood animation studio would have given Bird so much creative freedom and trust on such a big-budget movie. Which is clearly why ‘Incredibles’ stood out as something so remarkably different; not only from animated movies in general, but also from previous Pixar movies. We were watching the singular creative vision of a great director. It felt genuine.

      But now – what on earth is happening? Not only are we awaiting two more sequels in the next two years (I wish none of those had ever been conceived – Pixar should do ORIGINAL content!)… but the one original project, the single upcoming Pixar film (of the announced list) that I really had my hopes up for, is taken away from its creator. I was so looking forward to seeing a Pixar movie which both featured a female lead and was directed by a female. The studio really needs unique projects like that. Have they really stopped taking such risks, even after all the success they’ve enjoyed with most previous risks? This is truly depressing…

      I wish someone would dare shed the lights on what really goes on at Pixar these days. Is Disney the one to blame the most? Or have the visionary leaders at Pixar grown too stale and conservative to let their debuting directors take new and different approaches any longer?

  • I am SO disappointed! Well, unless Brenda has written the film, here’s another Pixar flick I will pass up at the theater.

  • Cyle

    I’m disappointed that Brenda is no longer involved, but I think people need to calm down. If we don’t know what happened, there’s no reason to start pointing fingers. It’s no secret that the “brain trust” is there to provide constructive criticism to strengthen the film. That’s the way it’s always been at Pixar. It seems unlikely that Brenda went in with a story idea expecting it to remain unchanged. I don’t know anything beyond that, so I won’t question anyone’s character until I hear what happened from the people involved, and I won’t judge the film until I actually see it.

    • Runaway Braintrust

      The Brain Trust is dead.
      Lasseter: busy with parks and managing two major studios
      Stanton: Off doing his own live action projects
      Bird: Same as Stanton
      Docter: Still around
      Peterson: Still around?

      Brad Lewis: Producer turned Director?
      Brenda Chapman: Well..yeah

      • Karen

        I think it was announced a while ago that Ratatouille co-producer brad lewis was replaced by John Lassiter as director on Cars 2.

  • d. harry

    Who is the brain trust anymore??
    Brenda was in it. she’s gone.
    Brad Bird was in it. he’s gone.
    Andrew Stanton is doing John Carter – does he still play an important role at Pixar?? Anyone know?
    And I think Bob Peterson and Pete Doctor are on it.

    • pappy d

      The brain trust never was a true monopoly.

  • Well folks, the ride was fun while it lasted. :(((

  • Sorry to disappoint you, but I have no plans of calming down.

    • Marco

      I’d really like to know specifics, and I feel like it’s hard not to take a more hands-off approach to this (“We don’t know what happened,” etc.) when we don’t know much. What I do know is I’ve loved Pixar’s work so far, especially they’re last four films, and if you could give any hint of what happened, it would be much appreciated. I remember reading how excited you were about Brave (formerly Bear and the Bow) a while back, so all I ask is some kind of guide as to what happened. You’ve already stated you’re not “calming down.” Any information would be great!

      • The Gee

        I believe I posted something earlier that was in jest playing off of being overly curious. But, I have been in touch with Mr. Norman on and off over the years. So I felt compelled to make a quip.

        Your comment comes across as kind of fanboish. I don’t mean any offense in stating that. But, seriously. No one owes you or anyone hear any explanation for anything which happened. Either it happens or doesn’t.

        I only point this out because there’s a certain type of person who reads sites like these and goes off and “reports” as if they are dishing inside scoops. You’re coming across like that. If you have no intention of being that dorky, cool. But, if you are, be courteous and ask for commenter’s permission and trust but verify; not everyone is a good source.

        That said, Mr. Norman is a mighty fine guy. I just don’t like seeing him be bothered. That’s all.

      • Marco

        I’m sorry; I’m not doing this to dish out reports or anything of the sort. It’s just curiosity because I respect the artists and directors at the house of Pixar and have really been engrossed in their works. I also have been excited about Brave because the plot synopsis looked fantastic, and seeing Pixar tackle “human” stories, especially in a medieval setting where they haven’t ventured yet, would be great.

        As a 3rd party, I have read Norman’s comments before, and he seems like a stand-up guy. I remember reading a comment a while back saying he loved how Brave was shaping up, which made me more excited. It’s not that I feel like I’m entitled to the information; it’s just that if you put yourself in my shoes, if I know what the reasoning behind this was, I’ll have a better idea of the direction the film will take. For example, I loved Ratatouille even though Bird was put in late in the project. Same with Toy Story 2. But given the responses to this story specifically, now I’m a bit nervous about the direction of the movie. I think it sounds like a great premise is all.

      • The Gee

        I apologize for assuming you were fishing for information without being upfront that you were going to post what you learned elsewhere.

        Obviously, there are those who are posting this story else where. And that’s fine. But, it sucks when commenters posts get incorporated into a second hand story and they were not asked for permission nor was what they wrote verified.

        That said, I gotta say this to anyone: Mr. Norman ain’t gonna express himself unless he is talking about what he knows. And, anyone how has any integrity would just interview him rather than scrape what he posted in this or any other site. Asking him to write a definitive account for what he knows is just asking way too much. If he felt like laying it out then he would do so without asking.

        It is just courteous to let him know if what he wrote is being quoted or cited elsewhere. The same goes for anyone who posts anywhere. But, there are a lot of folks who comment who are just yakking out of their butts. You can usually tell they don’t know what they are talking about because they come across as too eager, too young and naive or whatever.

        One last thing, Marco…okay, you’re a fan. You are looking forward to the film. Those things are great. But, man, don’t ruin it for yourself. It is way too easy for people who love something to love it so much that their expectations are never met. If they find out it could have been different then they blame those changes and revisions for ruining something they never ever saw.

        Making movies is a process. A long process. Step back from it and wait like anyone else and you might enjoy them more. Or, you could hate them for reasons unrelated to knowing why it went wrong early on.

      • Marco

        I understand. I’m sure if he posted an account of everything he knew, people would post it everywhere else. I also feel you’re correct about expectations. I don’t mean the obvious ‘expectations not met’ reasoning you gave (and I’m thankful that hasn’t happened to me for Pixar’s latest works), but I do know many who read a lot of behind the scenes turmoil in movies, and when the final product comes out, they start finger-pointing. I’m usually one who doesn’t know about this kind of turmoil until well after the movie is complete, but sometimes it’s fascinating reading about shake-ups behind the scenes and then seeing a wonderful final product and wondering how they managed to pull it off.

        Again, I’m not trying to yank any feathers here. I love lurking here because a lot of you are in the business, and therefore a lot of what is said is from people with much experience working with a whole assortment of people. It’s just a little upsetting to see people who really care about animation getting this angry.

    • Me Neither, Floyd.

  • Ryan

    I think Pixar is losing its creative, their films are full of cliches now.

    And I felt sorry for Brenda Chapman, Prince of Egypt is one of mine favorites

  • Sam

    Oh also.. Ratatouille Up Brave Cars Tangled…
    Soon you’ll be able to make sentences using movie titles.

    I mean the titles are crap, it’s like not only do they sound stupid but they’re impossible to SEARCH for, 50 years later people can find movies like Lion King and The Little Mermaid, but not these weird name movies.

    • Gobo

      Tangled isn’t Pixar. Just sayin’.

      And really, your big complaint about Pixar is that “Up” is hard to Google?

    • Marco

      Tangled isn’t Pixar. And just lol.

      • Sam

        Good grief, some guys can’t take a joke and criticism about stupid names. Of course I know Tangled isn’t Pixar, I’m not that ignorant. However you can’t excuse that JL is managing Disney now. They are still responsible in some ways. All these single word movie title is stupid. I still think Tangled should be called Rapunzel.

        And yeah, go google Up in the next 50 years and see if Pixar’s movie comes up as the result.

        “Cars Bolt Up Tangled Newt”

      • Marco

        Rapunzel is also a single word. And I’ll get back to you in 50 years, assuming I’m still using Google.

      • Sam

        Rapunzel is a ‘name’, not a ‘word’. What school did you study at?

      • Marco

        A name is a word unless you’re from Pluto.

  • Joe

    After reading some of the insiders comments…I’m really bummed that Brenda is gone. It would have been great to see her unique vision come to life. I pray she finds a place where she can grow creatively.

  • ahem

    I see a lot of the same rote sentiment: “I don’t care who makes it, I just want it to be good!”

    This all shows a lack of critical thought. We’re talking about a “creative” studio that claims to care about directors. I think we can all agree that animation– like all art forms– really sings when there is an idea, a VOICE. No one’s voice is stronger than a director’s.

    I haven’t liked Pixar for a while because I realized that the “voice” behind all of their films is virtually identical. It’s cute and fun at first, but anyone with basic pattern recognition skills can realize that Pixar movies get very, very thematically repetitive. Also, most of the main characters have that same “bumbling boy with a heart of gold who will do his darnedest to make it in this crazy world” vibe, and most all of them fall for “generic assertive girl.”

    Even if it weren’t for the issues of female representation/underrepresentation in big animation(which are definitely worth talking about– Pixar fares poorly on something as bare-bones as the Bechdel test), the point is, all I hear is the exact. same. perspective. in every Pixar flick. Besides it being socially reprehensible and hypocritical, it is BORING!

    While gender in animation production is a problem (and race even worse), I’m, frankly, convinced that it’ll all be the same bland stuff until there is a large presence of creatives who AREN’T from a fairly cushy life. Because, technically, animation has the room to be more diverse in perspectives than it was in the golden age. I mean, women were barely allowed outside of ink and paint, and non-white people were not exactly plentiful, particularly in decisionmaking… but most of the creators actually had lives somewhat different than “well, I grew up in the suburbs and sure do love my parents! I hope I can go on an adventure, like the ones I saw in movies as a kid… maybe I’ll even fall for a generic assertive girl who will take up the mantle of making me a more capable person!”

    • Cyle

      “Also, most of the main characters have that same ‘bumbling boy with a heart of gold who will do his darnedest to make it in this crazy world’ vibe, and most all of them fall for ‘generic assertive girl.'”
      A Bug’s Life and WALL-E are the only Pixar films that could apply to (Ratatouille too if you consider Linguini a main character). It doesn’t show up in most of their films, and when it does, it’s hardly a main story element.

      I don’t see why Pixar’s being singled out here. I think for the most part their female characters are far better than most of Hollywood’s attempts at “strong female characters”. Characters like Dory and Jessie aren’t love interests for the protagonists. They’re important characters with memorable and meaningful roles that are essential to some of Pixar’s best stories.

      I’m certainly not in the “who cares what gender the director is” camp. I’m in total agreement with you on the lack of female representation in the industry, but I think your assessment of Pixar’s films is unfair. If that’s what you got from them, I suggest you give them a second look.

      • Alissa

        Sorry to jump in, but Dory and Jessie are still generic crazy female types. Heck aside from one to two shallow charm points they could be clones. A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Wall-E, and Cars all star bumbling idiot heroes who go through the exact same character development. It’s like anime without the googly eyes.

      • helpful

        Actually, in TS3 Jessie is, in fact, a clear love interest for Buzz Lightyear. And the trope ahem makes reference to does show up more often than just in Wall-E and Ratatouille. Flick and the princess in a Bug’s Life, Carl and Ellie in Up, and arguably Mrs. Incredible. Most likely the characters in Newt would have gone the same way, had it gone any further.

      • Cyle

        Jessie isn’t a main character in TS3. Obviously, I was referring to her role in TS2. It had nothing to do with romance, and she wasn’t any more crazy than other toys that have been in the series (especially considering how much time she’d spent trapped in a box). Plus, the love interest isn’t anything close to a key story point in TS3. Also, I only included A Bug’s Life, Wall-E, and Ratatouille because “ahem” specifically referred to bumbling, male lead meets assertive girl. Mr. Incredible is far from a “bumbling boy with a heart of gold”, and Helen isn’t really generic or assertive. Heck, Atta wasn’t much on an assertive type either so I probably should have left her out. She wasn’t quite as neurotic as Flik, but they both felt like screw-ups.

      • ahem

        I thought I responded to this yesterday. I’m sorry if it got lost or something.

        Anyway, I’m “singling out” Pixar here because this is a Pixar thread.

        Also, I’ve seen all of the Pixar movies, most of them multiple times. A lot of them I really enjoyed when they came out, particularly Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story (though it’s worth noting that I was a child for TS and a teenager for Nemo). Saying I deserve to give a second chance to a company as giant and ubiquitous as Pixar is like saying I owe McDonald’s a second chance. It’s been available to me and present for most of my life.

        Thank you to Alissa and Helpful. You’re great.

    • I am sorry ahem, but it seems a bit naive to be calling Pixar repetitive and claiming that all the characters are about the same. What characters are you saying are “generic assertive girl(s)”. The only generic girl you really can name is Eva in Wall-E and that was because she was meant to be. She didn’t have a personality of her own, she was suppose to be extremely generic and narrow minded on her job. Colette was a very emotional driven character. Unlike Eve Colette from Ratatouille was working for self promotion and had a ego that was unique based on her background as the only girl chief. There also is Dory from Finding Nemo, who was completely different from Eva and Colette in the fact that she was very clingy towards relationships. All the girls in Pixar films seemed to have a voice. It is obvious that their voice was not the main attraction to the movies, but they were just as different as any girl you come across in real life.

      Also, how is a “voice” such as Brad Birds anything like the “voice” of director like Pete Docter or Andrew Stanton? Brad Bird and Pete Docter have completely different styles of storytelling. You can tell in Brad Bird’s films that almost every scene seems to be meant for animation. He has a lot of physical humor and physical story development in his movie, especially a movie like Ratatouille. With Pete Docter, he concentrates more on exaggeration in the design of the characters and locations. Pete also seems to know the power of lighting and how it can provoke emotions. Pete has already said that some people (such as Brad Bird) didn’t quite buy into the idea of a flying house pulled by balloons, but unlike Brad, Pete felt that the emotions and idea was strong enough to break through the reality that it couldn’t really happen. Each director at Pixar have strengths and each director at Pixar have a unique voice that has won them recognition and praise in and outside the realm of animation.

      A great majority of the world would disagree with you about Pixar being boring. Pixar does have a idea on the kind of movies they are out to make. John has made it clear that he wants Pixar to be a family studio where everyone could come and enjoy the movie. But you can hardly say that is extinguishing the creativity. There are many creative and diverse movies that have been made and can be made by Pixar, based on the standards they have established.

      Your “critical thought” seems to be lacking logic. Instead of just making claims about Pixar being “BORING” and “exact. same. perspective. in every Pixar flick”, start giving examples and backing up your statements.

      • ahem

        You know, I was waiting to reply to this with a chart, listing out the race, sex, basic personality traits, and opposite-sex foil for each Pixar protagonist (I’ve done it before, but I couldn’t find it since I’ve moved recently), but I don’t think it’s worth my time. Anyone who can observe can see the similarities and I do not owe you scientific proof simply because you opted not to pay attention.

      • ahem I have paid attention to Pixar movies. I guess I can’t make you back up your words, but you seem to be pretty harsh towards a company with your words, but you haven’t yet backed it up. There are definitely similarities with the Pixar protagonists. Look at any protagonist in any movie and you will be able find similarities between them. However, there are also very unique qualities to each of the Pixar characters. The character Carl from Pixar’s Up is a very grumpy who has lost touch with those around him. At the beginning of the movie he wants no relationship in his life, he just wants to be in his house, alone. Now go to the movie that was made just before Up. In Wall-E the movie had a main character who was longing for relationship. Wall-E has no way to have any relationship until Eva comes. The whole movie of Wall-E is about Wall-E trying to persue relationship. The basic plot of Up is Carl getting away from relationship.

        You have different personalities for each of the main characters in Pixar. A character like Woody is completely different from a character like Buzz. You can find similarities between them, sure, but you can’t help but see their differences as well.

        Your first comment was accusing someone of the lack of “critical thought”. Well you really don’t seem to be doing much better. Your “critical thought” seems to be lacking logic.

  • I am sad that Chapman is off the film, not so much because of her gender, but because she is a talented film maker. Her sensitive story telling on PoE as well as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King attest to that. But I won’t second guess about the reasons for her removal. It’s never easy for a company to make a decision like this; it’s painful for everyone involved. However Pixar has an unbroken string of hit movies (and most of them are good, too), including the one’s where the director was replaced.

    • I’m not second guessing. The movie I saw was solid.
      She’s been Jacked. Period.
      Man, you people and your Pixar worship.
      Do you turn and bow 3 times in the direction of Emeryville every morning? Do you guys have little statues of John Lasseter on your dash boards to ensure safe travel? Do you burn sacrifices to the Mighty Luxo for a healthy harvest?

      • Steve Segal

        I had to remove my statue of John Lasseter, the little Hawaiian shirt was too distracting.

      • Hey John I am not bashing you for not supporting Pixar, I would appreciate it if you don’t bash those who are supporting Pixar. We might find that the creativity was extinguished in Brave, but for the time being I am going to trust Pixar based on what they have been to this point (that being, an extremely creative studio). I do not think anyone is under the impression that Pixar is a God, they make mistakes and are definitely not perfect.

  • d. harry

    Wow! This story has made it to Perez!!

  • Steven

    ahem says:I think we can all agree that animation– like all art forms– really sings when there is an idea, a VOICE. No one’s voice is stronger than a director’s.

    NOT TRUE, the strongest voice should and always be the writers, they are the only people who understand the whole story, the characters motivations, they have to act out what and why a character does and says what they do, down to specific nouns and verbs. They have to understand not only the structure of the format but make all the elements fin into that format, in a clear cohesive and interesting way.

    I agree with you Pixar films have become too formulaic, but everyone should look beyond themselves and try to understand why this has happened to them. From my perspective I have felt that this way for a long time now, that unfortunately Pixar are caught in a trap of not really being able to create anything new, or should i rather say ‘out of the mould’.

    They are as I see it largely a victim of their own success. Which if you see it that way you can understand why it has continued, and it does answer some comments on here, as it was at the beginning with no doubt originally a boys club, that history has carried on. Not I believe all their own internal fault either, lets not delude ourselves Disney have a large role to play in what happens, everyone should have seen the writing on the wall when TS2 was redone.

    Disney has for a very long time not been the ink’ers studio it once was, it has become a marketing and cash and acquisition machine, no question about that. (look at the Marvel acq. etc) and there is NO way they are going to upset that cash making system, over personal feelings. Which is why I feel very sorry for the director, but nowadays you need to be more than just a director.

    I hope that is what she takes away with her. Because a company like Pixar and many others that are “owned” are not, i repeat not, looking for creativity or your own vision, but more so a vision that ‘fits in’ with the corporate owners and what they believe will maximize revenue.

    I do feel for Chapman, because if it was her story, her direction, it’s maybe all to easy to forget the forces at play in studios like this and the loss of your work to another is a hard pill to swallow.

    Simultaneously it does show from the Pixar/Disney perspective that the “creativity” aspect of it, is well not so important, we’ll just insert this new director.

    Its not too dissimilar to what happened a long time ago, when Star Wars & Jaws made large amounts of money too. The studio no longer looked for directors to give their vision on the world, but rather the studios saw it as what do we need to make, to generate cash. Now we need directors who can help us the studio fulfill our needs.

    All you need to do is look at the differences from films from the 70’s to the 80’s to see this. This is what is being seen her too. Damn shame.

    • ahem

      Steven, I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, but some of the best animated works ever made had no script– unless you’re counting storyboard artists as writers.

    • Mark

      “NOT TRUE, the strongest voice should and always be the writers”

      Complete B.S. Writers are a dime a dozen. Good writers more difficult to find. But they are not the storytellers with a vision on screen. That, only a good director can bring to the table. In the case of animation, animators and designers have as much and sometimes stronger voice than the “writer,” and thankfully so–because writers are too often caught up in logic and blabbing.

      • BR Inle

        You might not be saying that if enough movies actually had decent writing.=p

      • Steven

        Mark, you don’t know what your talking about, really.

        Have you ever read a script? More to the point have you ever written one. I doubt it. You clearly don’t understand the process a good screenwriter goes through. As BR says, those are not easily found, otherwise we’d see better material out there.

        I should also add that “directors are a dime for five dozen”, I know you probably don’t not want to hear that.

        But to some degree this whole thread and her replacement proves it to be so, doesn’t it.

      • Jen

        Er, do you understand how feature animation works? The script rarely, if ever, comes first. In most studios it’s a much more collaborative and organic endeavor that heavily relies on the vision of the director and the creativity of the story artists.

  • El Jay
  • littlebifu

    Walt Disney Studios confirmed a report on the blog that Brenda Chapman — heralded as the first woman to direct a Pixar film, the forthcoming “Brave” — had been replaced at the helm of that picture by Mark Andrews,

    Ms. Chapman did not respond to telephone messages. A Disney spokesman said the decision to remove her was made for “creative reasons” but declined to elaborate. Contrary to blog reports, Disney said Ms. Chapman remains on staff at Pixar.

  • littlebifu

    Walt Disney Studios confirmed a report on the blog that Brenda Chapman — heralded as the first woman to direct a Pixar film, the forthcoming “Brave” — had been replaced at the helm of that picture by Mark Andrews, the director of the 2005 Pixar short “One Man Band.”

    Ms. Chapman did not respond to telephone messages. A Disney spokesman said the decision to remove her was made for “creative reasons” but declined to elaborate. Contrary to blog reports, Disney said Ms. Chapman remains on staff at Pixar.

  • Disgusted
  • I don’t know what the reasoning is behind taking Brenda Chapman off her project, but I had heard from a story artist working on the film that it was one of the best things she had gotten to work on. It was exciting to her that it was an animated feature with a womans voice. Most female characters in Pixar films are written by men, and their “strong heroines” are either strictly assertive or they’re tomboys. It’s hard to find animated stories out there written by a woman for girls. There should be more of that kind of diversity out there, and it’s a real shame that a studio like Pixar, out of fear, would take that voice away. It certainly doesn’t sound like a studio that’s willing to take chances.

  • Hope she gets to do another project

  • Julie

    Well, at least she didn’t leave Pixar on bad terms with them or something. The fact that she’s still working in the company despite not directing the film anymore leads me to believe that it might have been a mutual decision.

    And I have to agree with what Stefan said. Maybe later on Brenda will decide to still stay in the project? I know Glen Keane, despite not being director anymore of Tangled anymore, still stayed on production and served as the directing animator on that film. The same thing happened with Jan Pinkava on Ratatouille (him being co-director). Maybe it’ll happen with Chapman on Brave too. Who knows, right?

    Also, if Brenda ever decides to work on another movie again, then I think Pixar should definitely see it through and let her have control over it next time, because I’d really LOVE to see another animated feature film directed by her. :)

  • Carl

    Maybe the movie just wasn’t good? I know you all say Brenda is a talented director, but maybe she dropped the ball on this one? Maybe it wasn’t her fault? Maybe she quit? Maybe it was done peacefully?

    I remember that Chris Sanders was able to keep some of his characters from American Dog when he left Disney. I don’t think they’re treating their directors that badly.

    Anyhow, there’s a good reason Chapman was fired, and I’m pretty sure we’ll never truly know how it all went down. I remember reading on the Pinkava case, and it was interesting to hear about the Studio’s direction ; it’s not necessarily that Pinkava treatment was bad, it just wasn’t going to be a great Pixar movie.

    The Incredibles is a odd one for sure, but it did influence many other Pixar films. Whether or not they are afraid of taking risks with Brave (I’d value an elderly main character and a non-speaking robot main character as “risks”) we’ll never know, but Pixar has been putting out hits after hits.

    I trust them, whatever the inside structure looks like.

    • Bullshit.
      The movie was great and there is no reason to fire her, other than her movie didn’t fit into one of their boxes.
      Her firing is a crime.
      Now go say a penance to The Mighty Luxo.

      • Steven

        Exactly – the ‘box’, the ‘formula’. I’m glad someone on here understands that. Disney do. Her firing is because out-of-the box is a risk they will not take. Not only for $ but guarantees.

      • Carl

        Hey, I’m speculating. It’s like you read only the first sentence and forgot to read the rest.

        Calm down and try to have some respect to fellow users. I know you may have a lot on your heart about this, but we’re not all rabid Pixar fanboys. I have no reason to believe they won’t deliver the goods like they did for their past 11 films. They are not universally adore for nothing, you know?

        And you apparently know as much as we do about the “firing”, unless you come out and state otherwise.

        These are honest questions : Have you seen the movie RECENTLY, not just a pitch? Have you talked to Brenda since the event? Have you talked to Mark Andrews and his stance on this?

        In the end, most of us aren’t INSIDE Pixar when the movie is made, and the only judgment we can bring is how good the final product is, and that’s the only thing that matters. Whether or not it has become a dictatorial company and stopped being a “director’s studio” is none of our concern as viewers. That wouldn’t stop me from enjoying the movies they make. I feel terrible for Brenda Chapman, but maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe she doesn’t even feel bad about it.

        I hope you won’t take this too personal, I’m trying to have a honest discussion about the project, not just an occasion to flame and stealthy troll Pixar.

      • Hey Carl. The first dumb thing you said was this:
        “And you apparently know as much as we do about the “firing”, unless you come out and state otherwise.”
        I do know more about this firing then most of you do. I wouldn’t be talking about it if I didn’t.
        No I haven’t seen the movie recently. I saw the MOVIE (not just a pitch) 3 years ago and it was brilliant. One of the best early screenings I’ve ever seen. All they had to to was build and shape.
        I have it on good authority that it has been “noted to death”.
        No I have not talked to Brenda. However, this was a movie that she wrote and concieved. She based the central character on her DAUGHTER.
        “Maybe she doesn’t even feel bad about it”? Are you out of your mind?
        I have not talked to Mark. However, Mark is a friend, and I don’t blame him anymore than Mike Gabriel and Mike Giaimo blamed me for taking over on HoTR.
        Go ahead and have your little discussion.
        But I’m not going to “Calm down”. I’m fucking pissed off. If I hear bullshit, I’m going to by God say so.

      • MC

        I actually *agree* with you, but it doesn’t do any good to flame the bejesus out of anyone who might not expect the worst from this news. Not all of us are plugged in, and for those of us who don’t get invited to screenings five years before a film’s release, we have to kind of put the story together piece by piece. Calling people idiots because they’re not insiders is counterproductive.

  • “Maybe the movie just wasn’t good.”

    Don’t comment on a film you haven’t seen.

    • Tracey

      Why not? You do. A lot.

      Besides which, John Sanford worked at Puxar a helluva lit longer than you. And he probably did see the film.

      • I did see the film, about 3 years ago. It was truly awesome, even in it’s rough state. No where to go but up, unless you fucked with it too much, which I’m sure they did.
        And show some fucking respect to Floyd Norman. I think he worked at Prixar longer than I did, and he’s got decades worth of experience on EVERYone.
        He worked on the Jungle Book for fuck’s sake.

      • Don

        No offense. But it is just your opinion vs other opinions. (No, I didn’t see the film. Nor do I have any inside information. But, what you may or may not like isn’t necessarily what others are going to like.) It’s not always a conspiracy. Unless of course, you are tight with the execs that brought down the hammer.

    • Steve Segal

      He said “maybe”. Not everyone has access to rough cuts of films in production, but that should not preclude them from expressing their opinions. I know he got the “fired” part incorrect, but that does not invalidate the rest of his post.

      Floyd, I’ve enjoyed reading your posts, and I know you are a valuable insider, so don’t take this as an attack.

      • Carl

        Yeah I’m sorry If I came aggressively. I didn’t mean to say that the movie wasn’t good, but that there was a probability that the movie wasn’t good. I felt the same way when Newt was canceled.

        I mean, they didn’t cancel Ratatouille or Up when they were met with troubles along the way. And, right now, which Pixar production hasn’t been troubled in some way or another?

        I think it’s part of the process, how sad it really is.

        Again, sorry if I came out blunt. I respect all of your opinions, and I’m sure some of you know much more about it than I do. I’m just your typical movie goer.

    • MC

      He said “maybe.” Damn, people.

  • Mclovin

    Let’s back it up. When Disney acquired Pixar, I’m sure Pixar’s announcement of all their ‘future’ projects was an arranged agreement between Pixar and Disney, to ensure the integrity of the studio, and anticipate future franchises. Of course, it was a loose arrangement, and the directors were more than likely assigned based off of their connections with their individual projects. Lee Unkrich was asked to step away from one of his original projects to direct Toy Story 3. He was probably the second best choice to John Lasseter to direct. Andrew and Pete’s projects were already in the works, and unless some dramatic change they were going to finish their own projects. Now these ‘future’ projects, Newt included, were not developed enough at the time of this announcement, so Pixar had the right to change given the conditions at the studio.

    • Steven

      Integrity — is in bill form and it’s color is green.

      • Mclovin


  • Disgusted

    First Doug Sweetland, then this Brenda news (even though she’s supposedly still on staff), and now another high profile Pixar animator is starting a project at DreamWorks?

    The Brenda story has hit as well.

  • d. harry

    Can anyone from the inside tell us about the talk E.C. gave everyone the other day??

  • Mr. Crankypants

    It was probably something along the lines of “Quit posting on Cartoon Brew or we’ll can your sorry asses!!!”

  • Apparently some still think I spent a “weekend” at Pixar back in the nineties.

    I moved to San Raphael in 1997 and worked on two feature films at Pixar. I visit often, and watch rough cuts of their films. I still have great respect for the company, and regard many as my friends and colleagues.

    This is for those who say I don’t know what I’m talking about.

    • The Gee

      This internet thing brings out the worst in people, doesn’t it?

      You don’t need to explain yourself like that. Either people know who you are, know you or they are unfortunately ignorant of your career. It would suck to be in the third group.

      But, people also shouldn’t expect you to spill everything you know either. You definitely don’t have to jump because someone tells you to, or if they ask politely. You are a particular type of professional who uses discretion when offering opinion. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. It just isn’t always easily understood by some people on the internet.

      Here’s my thinking: way too many people these days believe they “deserve” to know everything related to their favorite things. This is combined with their want for their favorite things to be almost tailor made to their likes allows them to become whiney, demanding, cynical and unimaginative people. They ruin it for themselves. Now, with the internet, they can ask people to ruin it for them. It is amazing phenomenon.

    • Karen

      I think it’s spelled “San Rafael.”

    • Don

      Well, I appreciate you putting your resume on here. But WTF? Who cares how much time you spent there? It is still an opinion and not the gospel.

      Those of you preaching that this is the worst thing in the world are only expressing an opinion. Just like everyone else is doing in here.

      I’m no Pixar fanboy, I’ve laid into them plenty over the years and I think their movies have gotten worse over time. And I honestly think that place is very close to being a cult (and I don’t mean that in anything but a negative sense), where people enter normal and come out brainwashed. However, I don’t necessarily believe the conspiracy theories about Brenda’s removal. Maybe the film wasn’t that great in the executives (lasseter) eyes. Nothing to do with being afraid.


    What happened with John Lasseter being so excited about Brenda’s film?

  • Ethan

    If I understand correctly from the posts above, Jan Pinkava, Chris Sanders, and now Brenda Chapman got robbed of their own films after years of hard work, for similar obscure business reasons. Each time, before it happened, there was a very good vibe about their work. I can’t see how anyone could accept a job of direction or even writing at disney/pixar without expecting the worst.

    I wish her to find a better studio where she’ll get more respect. It looks like Chris Sanders got back on his feet quickly, so I don’t see any reason why she couldn’t.

    • Tracey

      American Dog, as a film, was an unmitigated disaster. Everyone who saw it pretty much agrees. Lots of fun ideas but no story.

      • Ethan

        Before the whole thing blew up about American Dog, there were whispers that Sanders has never been allowed to make the film he wanted, and that 80% of the story was changed. I haven’t heard of anyone who saw the film Chris Sanders wanted to do. What I was told is that American Dog never existed.

        So I’m curious, who are you talking about ? Who exactly saw American Dog and deemed it an unmitigated disaster, and what exactly was wrong with it ? “Everyone” is such a far reaching word.

        I wish we could see the “flawed” Pinkava version of Ratatouille, or the “quirky” Sanders version of Bolt, or the “unconventional” Chapman version of Brave. But we’ll never know.

      • Henry

        Saw it and don’t agree at all. American Dog had an original voice and quirky, hilarious sequences. There was still time in the production cycle to find a through-line for the plot when it was axed.

      • Funkybat

        It’s not exactly like “Bolt” had the most memorable or fantastic plot…the most memorable thing about “Bolt” to me was the cat character and her story arc.

        I was really looking forward to “American Dog” given what I knew about Chris Sanders and his sense of humor and take on the world. I think it is all the more amazing that Disney let Lilo & Stitch develop the way it did, considering how “unconventional” it was compared not only to what came before, but what came after. Maybe “American Dog” wouldn’t have worked, but it sounds like the fault lay not so much in shortcomings on Chris’ part than the classic “too many cooks” dilemma, something Pixar is supposedly against.

        For all I know, all the stuff that interlopers threw in that wasn’t working on “American Dog” got thrown out during the fix-it process, but it’s obvious that a lot of what Chris Sanders brought to it was thrown out too. Bolt the dog was probably the least interesting protagonist in an animated film since Will Smith’s fish in “Shark Tale.” And it wasn’t that Travolta was a bad voice actor, it was that most of the characters in the film just came off as kind of bland & didn’t resonate with me or anyone else I know who saw the film. At least Lightning McQueen was memorable and distinctive, even if he was a jerk…

  • MMlemonade

    At the end of the day Pixar/Disney is a company and is here to make great animated films *that make money*. In fact making money probably takes first priority. If the film was heading in a direction that would see lower gross revenue why continue?

    Pixar is a company remember that.

    That is all.

    • “If the film was heading in a direction that would see lower gross revenue why continue? ”
      Well that’s great. Let’s do that everytime.
      Here is the problem.
      See, there was this little movie that Disney released a few years back that they were sure was going to bomb, so they didn’t support it with merch or a decent release date.
      The fim? Toy Story.
      There was another a few years before that everyone in the studio was sure was going to be a massive bomb.
      Hell, I remember hearing execs at Disney expressing fears that The Incredibles would alienate Pixar’s “core audience”.
      In other words, that excuse is flimsy, and cowardly.
      I am well aware Pixar is a company. It’s a company that got where it is by taking RISKS.
      Not kneading their hands and worrying like a bunch of old women.
      Which is EXACTLY what they are.

  • b.furtadi

    As a long time fan of Pixar’s work and a girl who is always happy to see in more ladies in the animation business, I am terribly disappointed. Can’t say I’m surprised, but it’s still sad.

    Brenda Chapman is a truly talented woman. If she is not working as a director anymore, then it’s their loss. Hopefuly she’ll “pull a Chris Sanders” (pff–loved it) and find another project where she can show how amazing she is.

    And here’s something for the many equivocated people in this post: GENDER MATTERS.


  • John

    The sequel to Monsters Inc, The third Toy Story, and Cars 2, what is happening to the studio? I’m guessing here but did Ovitz demand that these sequels be made at the time of the studio acquisition? I’d love to see them take bigger creative risks than these sequels. It seams they are so afraid of not staying on top that they are shooing away good films in the process, the next films have to be Toy Story 3 revenue! This is what destroyed the Disney Feature Animation Division! Pixar now a days is to full of Pixar. Like them pulling their support for the Annie Awards because they should be only judged by top studio insiders, Disney and Pixar have the largest number of voters anyways, WTH! When a studio begins thinking they are so important all you need to do is stand back and watch it crumble!

  • Pedro Nakama

    The truth is they get notes from John Lasseter on how to make the movie. If you follow his notes you stay. If you tell him to shove it you’re out.

  • I think we are bashing Pixar before they deserve to be bashed. So far Pixar has done a lot of good with their directorial changes and the sequels Pixar has created have been just as good if not better then the originals.

    Pixar seems to care about story more then any other film studio in Hollywood. They have proven time and time again that they are willing to take risks. A movie where the main protagonists is Rat or a 70+ year old man, are not sure money makers in Hollywood. However, that did not stop Pixar. I think the main reason for the change with Brenda was because of creative differences, not because it would be hard to market. Pixar seems to still realize the best business plan is to create a good story.

    Sadly I do think that Pixar has limits to their creativity. From the research of John Lasseter I have done, there seems to be curtain things that should happen and curtain things that should not happen in Pixar films. First off the films need to be for the whole family. Brad Bird even had a hard time convincing Pixar to bring his film to a PG rating. John also likes having the “happily ever after” ending. John wants his movies to see all the characters at the end of the film, he wants to shoot for a positive idea of things to come even though we won’t be there to see it happen. These things really are not any different from Walt Disney himself. I personally could not handle a whole career just making happily ever after films, but there is a heck of a lot of things you could do with the requirements Pixar seems to have. Also, it doesn’t surprise me that the director seems to have more freedom on the second film then the first. Both Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter had more daring second films. It does seem fare too me, I would like to see what someone does with a little before I gave them a lot. However, the restrictions did not make Andrew’s or Pete’s first films less entertaining or artistically driven then the second.

    Brenda is a proven story artist and I admit that it is concerning that she has been taken off of Brave. However, Pixar is a proven film studio that has shown they are devoted to the animation art form. This makes me trust that Pixar is making the change for the right reasons.

    • Ethan

      “So far Pixar has done a lot of good with their directorial changes”

      On what basis can you claim such a thing ?
      The fact that the new “safe film” doesn’t suck is not an argument about the “author’s film” it was supposed to be. That statement is a fallacy.

      • Ethan, what do you mean when you say “safe film”? How has Pixar shown that they are interested in “safe films”? We don’t know about Brave yet, but there have been several Pixar films where the directors went against typical Hollywood storytelling. Wall-E (a movie about a garbage robot), Up (a film where the main character is in his 70’s) and Ratatouille (A movie about rats) were not safe films that guaranteed money. The only “safe” part of Pixar to me is they seem to be wanting to create “family films”. They try hard to have their films appeal to a broad audience. This I feel has less to do with the need for money and more to do with Pixar’s belief in making films that they could bring their families to. Pixar has shown that there could be a lot of creativity with that limitation.

        The two directorial changes were not playing it safe, they were made to create a better movie. There is a extreme amount of “risk” in the whole idea of changing a director mid way through a movie. Toy Story 2 has been hailed both publicly and critically as one of the greatest sequels ever made. Ratatouille won several awards, including the Academy award for Best Animated Feature. When Brad Bird was put onto Ratatouille he actually decided to go the less “safe” rout. Brad was the one who made the decision to make the rats actually look like rats, Pinkava tried to make the rats in Ratatouille look more like humans, shortening their tails and having them walk on two feet most of the time. Floyd Norman who worked on Toy Story 2, before John came in to direct the film, has admitted that John helped make the film better. I am sure you would agree that it is not a “safe” idea to change the whole story line nine months before the movie needed to be released. The Toy Story 2 directorial change was a defining moment in Pixar’s history, it told me that they put story first and were willing to sacrifice a lot to make their films Great.

        The statement is based on what I know about John Lasseter and what I know of the results of his decisions so far. So far we have not been given much of a reason to doubt John. John has shown that he cares deeply about story and the Pixar studio. It is possible that the movies Ratatouille, Toy Story 2, and even Bolt could of been good if they stuck with their original director. However, I think it is undeniable that the movies have turned out to be quality films with the directorial changes.

      • Ethan

        Wow. This time you excluded Bolt and Brave from your statement about directorial changes. Way to avoid the actual subject of discussion with so many words, I wonder why you did that. You just said above you think they fired Chapman for the right reason and you are contradicting many people who are in a position to know exactly what happened.

        I will trust directors and story artists who worked for years at disney and pixar over a blogger any day.

      • Ethan I was addressing your problems with my statement, “So far Pixar has done a lot of good with their directorial changes”. Sense in the statement I was addressing Pixar specifically and only the movies I have seen to their completion, both Bolt and Brave would not apply. We do not know the result of Brave yet. I personally think that Bolt turned out pretty good. The problem Ethan is that even though I can not judge if Chris Sanders final film would be better then the “Bolt” movie that came out, neither can you. Neither of us will know the Brenda Chapman Brave or the Christ Sanders American Dog. I however have trust in John, and have liked all the movies so far that have experienced a directors change, especially the Pixar ones.

        Neither John Sanford or Floyd Norman work at Pixar at the moment. I do have my concerns especially from what Floyd Norman has said. I have come to respect Floyd’s voice for Disney animation and even though I think he is not working at Pixar, he does seem to have a solid inside connection with them. I could care less about John Sanford. He doesn’t seem to have any respect for those who are taking the side of Pixar (even though they have 11 great films to back their belief in Pixar up), so why should I have any respect for what he has to say?

        I think we will have to see, I just am not going to call Pixar “safe” or “fear driven”, when they haven’t seemed to be those things so far. And I have not seen the result of their actions with Brave so yet.

      • Ethan

        Okay. You’re not going to call Bolt “safe”? You quote Floyd Norman when it suits you, but I see you won’t quote him about Bolt. You only need to see the concepts of American Dog to see what happened. After that, talk to people who really know about it, all insiders so far confirmed what happened.

        You got it right about one thing. You have seen only the final products, while others have seen the actual work of those fired directors, and have talked to them directly.

        You want to use the “final product” argument ? Look at Dragons and see how it compares with Bolt. Better film, better box office, and they did hundreds of things which pixar would never do. If you want to use statistical conjectures, let’s talk about the directors, instead of the company name. Sander’s track record is speaking for itself. His films before were amazing, his film after was amazing. John Lasseter have lost his reputation the moment Dragon became a better critical and financial success than the “safe” Bolt.

        It’s time we respect the writers/directors instead of the branding and house rules of a corporation. It’s not about which film would be bet

      • Ethan

        Okay. You’re not going to call Bolt “safe”? You quote Floyd Norman when it suits you, but I see you won’t quote him about Bolt. You only need to see the concepts of American Dog to see what happened. After that, talk to people who really know about it, all insiders so far confirmed what happened.

        You got it right about one thing. You have seen only the final products, while others have seen the actual work of those fired directors, and have talked to them directly.

        You want to use the “final product” argument ? Look at Dragons and see how it compares with Bolt. Better film, better box office, and they did hundreds of things which pixar would never do. If you want to use statistical conjectures, let’s talk about the directors, instead of the company name. Sander’s track record is speaking for itself. His films before were amazing, his film after was amazing. John Lasseter have lost his reputation the moment Dragon became a better critical and financial success than the “safe” Bolt.

        It’s time we respect the writers/directors instead of the branding and house rules of a corporation. It’s not about which film would be better, it’s the lack of respect.

      • I have respect for people who know what they are talking about, Jacob.
        That ain’t you. You’re talking out of your ass.

      • Ethan I am not the guy who is saying Pixar is perfect. I just think that John makes his decisions for creative reasons, not because he has given into fear of failure. It is great that Dreamworks let Chris Sanders create How To Train A Dragon, I thoroughly enjoyed that movie. However, Dreamworks has a worse reputation for being run by executives then Pixar. In fact, How to Train a Dragon is a perfect example. Orginally Dreamworks brought in Peter Hastings to make the movie, but mid way through production Chris Sanders and Dean Deibois were asked to take over as the directors and rework the feature. So they seemed to be doing exactly what you have a problem with, not letting the ORIGINAL directors vision be seen.

        Please when you say that How To train Your Dragon, “did hundreds of things which pixar would never do”, give some examples. They may have done some things Pixar wouldn’t do but I think it has nothing to do with “risk”. Out of all the major animation studios I believe Pixar has been the riskiest by far. I have given examples of the risky films they and decisions they have made above.

        I even admit has a curtain way of making movies, but in my opinion it has very little to do with fear and everything to do with what they want to be creatively known as. Pixar is known as a studio that makes movies that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Again, I see nothing wrong with this, you can create a lot of great stories with the requirements Pixar seems to have.

        As someone who has ambitions on becoming a director, I sure hope that my studio or providers have respect in me as a writer and director. However, I hope they put the story above even me. I am not here to say that it is a fact that Pixar was right with their decisions to change directors for Brave. You are right that we might never know. However, as you are trusting those you know from inside the studio, I am trusting the leadership of Pixar animation studios, because to this point they have earned my trust.

      • John, in case you have not noticed, I have never come out and told anyone that the Brenda Chapman change was no doubt for the better good. I just happen to have a basis to BELIEVE Pixar has good artistic driven reason when they decide to make a directorial change. I have explained the basis of my beliefs in all the posts above. Please explain to me how I am “talking out [my] ass”?

      • Ethan

        You aren’t contradicting at all my statistical conjecture about Sanders’ track record, but merely changing the subject to Hastings’ situation like a red herring. You are also trying to turn this into a DW vs Pixar discussion, and you are making assumptions about my opinions erroneously. I’m not against changing directors, far from it, it happens at all studios. I’m against destroying years of a real film maker’s work (a person who is the creator, writer and director) for the wrong reasons, and refusing to give public explanations as if the decision is a mere internal production decision that nobody should care about.

        I’ll follow your change of subject anyway, because it’s interesting. Peter Hastings experience was on great TV animated productions (animaniacs), for which he won several Emmy Awards. Now that it didn’t work on HTTYD, he became director and producer of a TV animated series for Dreamworks, something about a Panda doing Kung Fu in a generally awesome way. I doubt he’s really angry against Dreamworks, or suffered any lack of respect from them. He’s producing a whole TV series for them.

        The approach of following the light hearted kid comedy of the book didn’t work as expected. These things happen, the director has never been blamed for it. The company never claimed they had “creative differences” with the director, nor the writer of the book. He wasn’t “fired unceremoniously”. Following the book exactly to make the film, simply didn’t work, and they rewrote everything to make a more serious and epic film instead of a light comedy.

        Contrary to the Sanders and Chapman situations, you don’t need to speculate, or talk very privately to people in the know. Nobody fears losing their job for talking about it. Dreamworks have been very public in their explanations for scrapping the initial HTTYD orientation. We have all these informations relatively verifiable, many Dreamworks employees talk about it openly. There’s no secrecy, nor any vague statements about untold artistic reasons. There’s no talk of “creative differences” which is the term Lasseter used to describe his conflict with Chris Sanders.

      • Okay Ethen, it seems that you are wanting to dictate where this conversation goes. I am getting tired of this. I have clearly explained why I trust Pixar in the directorial change. I have explained how, against your beliefs, Pixar has been a very gutsy film studio to this point.

        It is not true that John has been extremely secretive about the reasons he made the directorial changes. John Lasseter has been quoted for saying that Chris Sanders American Dog was “too quirky for it’s own good”. John also has explained in interviews that he didn’t like the fact that Chris was treating the dog more like a human then a animal. The idea that the dog talks and walks on two legs didn’t seem right to John.

        I see why John and Ed say that Pixar is a “director driven studio”, but I do agree that their claims are not completely true. Ed and John, I think, try to give their directors complete control when directing. The director has the final say on what goes into his or her movie and what stays out. I think that John and Ed really do want the film to come from the heart of their director. However, it is John and Ed who need to decide whether the film is working or not, whether the director is willing to listen to fellow artist, and whether or not the director has the respect of those working under him or her. If John and Ed do not think one of those things are happening, they have shown that they are willing to make the change. I don’t think we can know whether it is fair or not unless we were able to see the whole story of what went down.

        So I think it comes down to who do you trust more? At the moment I have some huge doubts about Disney animation. But Pixar, even though part of Disney, has not shown that they make decisions based on how safe the story is or how much money the film would make in the box office. So far Pixar has seemed to put story above everything else. Because of the past examples of Pixar and what I know of the heads of Pixar, I am choosing to believe they are making the decisions for the right reasons on the upcoming movie Brave.

      • Ethan

        It’s the SAME PERSON making the decision. You try to dissociate pixar from disney as if Lasseter is only managing pixar.

      • Ethan

        “”John Lasseter has been quoted for saying that Chris Sanders American Dog was “too quirky for it’s own good””

        Nope. He never said that publicly. It was only reported by someone unofficially.

      • Ethan there are some HUGE differences about Disney animation and Pixar animation even though both are owned by the Disney company. First off Disney animation had several box office flops before John and Ed came in. You can’t just change the direction of a animation studio in a few months. Bolt however, was considered by many critics to be a step in the right direction for Disney animation. Also, it seems logical that Bob Iger would exert far more input and control over Disney animation then Pixar animation. Pixar has been a success with them just doing their own thing. It would be good business to just keep on letting them do their own thing. In Pixar’s last four films it seems obvious to me that Pixar has done their own thing. A different story with Disney animation however, they have never really been able to do their own thing like Pixar has, higher executives have always controlled Disney storytelling. I think it is safe to suspect that John needs to deal with far more input from the higher ups at Disney for Disney animation then Pixar.

        To say that only one person is making decisions, I do not think is true, especially at Pixar. Pixar’s success has come from a whole group working together to create great movies. There is no reason for Pixar to drop that idea of teamwork. I am sure that more than just John had a voice in the Brave directorial change. Changing directors is not a easy or “safe” thing to do. But, so far PIXAR has had excellent results from their decisions to change directors.

        Even if you want to say that Pixar is really just the same as Disney animation when it comes to who makes decisions. Bolt was not a bad film. And, one good movie and two excellent movies from directorial changes, is not a bad record.

        Ethan, what do you want John to tell you about the directorial change in American Dog, to make you think he wasn’t trying to hide it? John changed directors and everybody in the animation world knew. John has said that it was a very hard decision. He explained some of the things he did not agree with when talking about what they changed when they made the movie Bolt. There was just as much explanation as there was for How to Train a Dragon. Just like Chris Sanders and Brenda Chapman, John Lasseter is a proven film director too. I do not think it is too far out to trust that he is making decisions for the right reasons.

      • Ethan

        I am talking about the decision to fire those directors. This is not Bob Iger’s decision, it was confirmed to be Lasseter’s responsability in a previous CB article. Lasseter said in an interview it was because of “creative differences”.

        “”John also has explained in interviews that he didn’t like the fact that Chris was treating the dog more like a human then a animal. The idea that the dog talks and walks on two legs didn’t seem right to John.””

        Oh great. That’s the public reason given, and you think that’s a perfectly good reason to fire the creator, writer and director of the film, and then change everything to be safe and fluffy. The animals were on two legs. He didn’t like it, so he fired him. However a blue ant that talks and walks on two legs acting like humans, that’s all fine. There’s no substance in that explanation. We have seen many concepts, and we heard from those who have seen the early work.

        “”Ed and John, I think, try to give their directors complete control when directing. The director has the final say on what goes into his or her movie and what stays out. I think that John and Ed really do want the film to come from the heart of their director.””

        I think you failed to perceive that the reason given for Sanders’s firing is contradicting this. Is the director supposed to make a film that comes from the heart or is he supposed to do every little details Lasseter tells him to do ?

        “”whether the director is willing to listen to fellow artist, and whether or not the director has the respect of those working under him or her.””

        Do you believe Sanders or Chapman were fired off their own project because they didn’t have the respect of the artists under them or were they unwilling to listen to them?

      • Ethan, the thing is you are trying to make John look like a ugly dictator who has no consideration of the individual artists vision. The FACT is that has not been the case with John through out his career. John Lasseter was in charge when Brad Bird mixed things up and created The Incredibles. John has let Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Lee Uncrich create some marvelous films from their personal vision. This all is not to say that Brad, Pete, Andrew, or Lee did not need to listen to John and the rest of the Brain Trust. John did not try to control “every little detail” of their film, this is obvious based on how different and unique each of the directors films are. However, if John felt like the film was not working and the director was not willing to listen to his “fellow artists”, it is John’s responsibility to make a change.

        If a Dog could walk on two legs and talk to humans, it would be much harder to establish that he had problems not being a superhero. I personally would have a hard time with buying into a normal dog being able to talk to human characters. A Bugs Life is based on entirely different principles. In film you establish principles, if the principles are not clear to the audience or don’t make sense, you have a BIG problem.

        We really don’t know everything that went into the Brenda change or the Chris Sanders change. They do not need to explain everything to me, if the directors have problem with the lack of explanation, then let them take issue with it. The people talking on this blog are not the people who necessarily represent the majority of Pixar or Disney artists. For me they bring up a concern, it is not like I don’t listen to them. However, as I have said before I have reason to Trust John Lasseter and Pixar.

      • Ethan

        You are once again assuming erroneously my opinions and my intentions. I am asking questions which expose contradictions into what you claimed to believe. You refuse to either clarify your statement, give a source, or acknowledge the contradictions.

        I am into the pursuit of truth. You have the informations to verify what I said, and I can give you the source of every statement I said. I exposed the contradictions of your statements so you can make up your mind about them.

        You seem to be into the affirmation of your beliefs, and you are refusing facts when they don’t fit into your beliefs, or you change the subject when you can’t affirm your belief. You have used the word fact to represent a statistical conjecture once again, but ironically, you refuse to acknowledge my statistical conjectures because it does not fit your established belief.

        You could ask questions to some very knowledgeable people here, it would be more productive for you and for everyone else. Ask questions instead of affirming the same sentence over and over and over at the end of all your posts. We KNOW you trust Lasseter because of the interviews and all, you said that already 10 times.

      • Ethan, your last couple comments seem to be directed at Jacob (especially judging from the last sentence of your latest post). However, nothing else you say in that comment seems at all connected to what Jacob has been saying. Yes Jacob has repeated himself. It seems to me that’s because you refuse to take what he has to say as an opinion based on just as much personal information as you have. I get that you feel Pixar is playing it safe, that their claim to be director driven is false (I guess 3 out of 11 director changes means that the directors can’t be creative and are instead mere puppets–go figure). I truly have enjoyed all but one of the Pixar films I have seen. I was extremely excited to see Brave because it would have been the first time a woman directed the main show. I have liked the other films I have heard Brenda had something to do with so I was expecting good things. At the same time, I have no reason to believe that Brave under a new director will not end up being a good film, a different film then it started out being–certainly. However, none of us will ever know which version would have been/will be better. Can you and Jacob please just agree to disagree? Because you, sir, are beginning to sound really silly.

      • Ethan, you are only pointing out the things that you have a problem with, you are not even acknowledging the evidence that I have given to why I trust John. The reason I KEEP on saying the SAME THING again and again and again, is because it does not seem to get acknowledgment. Its like you guys think I am CRAZY for trusting John Lasseter. However, I have given tons of examples to why I TRUST John. You have given me reasons why you don’t trust John Lasseter. One thing I have done that you have not done much of, is explain why I disagree with most of the examples you have given me.

        You have claimed that it was ridiculous that John had problems with the dog in the movie American Dog being able to walk like a human and talk to humans. I explained how that would be a problem. You have claimed that John changes directors if they do not listen to his every little detail of a suggestion. I have explained how that has not been the case with Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, and Brad Bird. You have claimed that John makes decitions to create “safe” movies. I have explained how many of the movies John has produced were far from “safe”.

        So if you think that what I am saying it not true, explain to be how a movie like The Incredibles was not really Brad Birds film? Explain to me how movies like Up, Wall-E, and Ratatouille were “Safe”? Explain to me how someone is supposed to buy into a dog who can supernaturally walk and talk but is sad because he doesn’t have superpowers?

        I understand your concerns, I even share some of them. But, I won’t go down that path as far as you do yet.

      • Ethan

        Sorry for all the quoting, there are many assessments directed at me which I need to answer.

        “”you are only pointing out the things that you have a problem with, you are not even acknowledging the evidence that I have given to why I trust John.””

        Yes, I only speak of what I have a problem with, these posts are long enough, what’s the point of arguing about what I agree with? Making friends and influence people? I do fully understand that you trust John, that’s never been in question.

        “”The reason I KEEP on saying the SAME THING again and again and again, is because it does not seem to get acknowledgment.””

        I acknowledge that you trust John, and I understand why you do. There.

        “”You have claimed that it was ridiculous that John had problems with the dog””

        I never claimed it was ridiculous. I asked if you thought it was a good reason to fire someone with the track record of Sanders. You said Yes, so now I understand why you trust John.

        “”You have claimed that John changes directors if they do not listen to his every little detail of a suggestion.””

        No, I asked you a question about the contradiction in how a director is supposed to react. You claimed to know why Lasseter fired Sanders. Lasseter himself said “creative differences” to be the reason he fired him. It contradicts your statement that Lasseter gives full control to those directors, and that the directors have the final say. Over the years I heard repeatedly from many different sources that Sanders has never been able to do anything he wanted on that film. This information was confirmed in a few posts here.

        “”I have explained how that has not been the case with Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, and Brad Bird.””

        Which is irrelevant. I only spoke about Sanders and Chapman. I have no opinion about the situations of Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, or Brad Bird. One thing is sure, they didn’t have any “creative differences” with Lasseter.

        “”You have claimed that John makes decitions to create “safe” movies. I have explained how many of the movies John has produced were far from “safe”.””

        I never claimed his past films were all safe. I only spoke of Chris Sanders and Brenda Chapman films. But I’ll add to the list all the sequels we know of. Those sequels are safe. Bolt was very safe. Brave will most probably be safe.

        “”explain to be how a movie like The Incredibles was not really Brad Birds film? Explain to me how movies like Up, Wall-E, and Ratatouille were “Safe”?””

        I never claimed those things. I only spoke about Chris Sanders and Brenda Chapman films.

        “”Explain to me how someone is supposed to buy into a dog who can supernaturally walk and talk but is sad because he doesn’t have superpowers?””

        Talking and walking are not superpowers.

        In the “suspension of disbelief” definition: “if a writer could infuse a human interest and a semblance of truth into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative.”

        This can be addressed in the opening shot. As a filmmaker you have the first few minutes to introduce anything that you need the audience to believe in the created fantastic world, the elements which would be implausible in our reality. A talking Dog in an animated film is not “supernatural” unless voluntarily introduced as such, it only needs to be introduced correctly as the narrative requires. A car that speaks, or a rat with human intelligence and behavior are not supernatural either.

      • Okay, it seems that we have developed a few misconceptions. I was never trying to claim that the only creative difference John had with American Dog was that the dog could walk and talk. I personally think that John was as open as any other executive about the reasons he made the change. I have no need for John to go public to bash Chris Sanders by describing every creative difference he had with his movie.

        It is funny that all of Pete Docter’, Brad Birds, and Andrew Stanton’ movies are irrelevant. For the exact reason you brought up Chris Sanders (who is not the subject of this thread), I brought up Brad, Pete, Andrew, and Lee. The four directors are all examples of John letting the Directors vision rule. Also, most of these guys films were not considered conventional or “safe”. The reason I find these guys relevant is because they are perfect examples of John letting other director’s unsafe films come out to completion. If John really was making his demotion of Chris Sanders be for “safe” reasons, wouldn’t it seem logical that he would have made changes with Brad Bird’s Incredibles, Andrew Stanton’ Wall-E, and Pete Docter’ Up, as well? Please, explain how you know that these directors didn’t have any “creative differences” with Lasseter?

        I know these things turn out to be pretty long, but I have a hard time with you just blurting out that all John’s sequels and Bolt are safe, and probably Brave will be safe as well. There is no explanation, just for some reason those movies were “safe”. We have seen unconventional stories from John, and conventional stories from John. Since we have seen both, it is reasonable to think that it has more to do with where John thinks the best story is, then whether the movie is safe or not.

        I have a problem with your explanation on why believing that a talking and walking Dog would work. Who knows, maybe Chris Sanders could have pulled it off. However, in films you establish principles for the audience to buy into. You as a filmmaker want those principles to make some kind of logical sense. This is why bugs only talk to bugs in a bugs life, cars only talk to other cars in the movie Cars, and Rats can’t talk verbally to humans in Ratatouille. It is very hard for even kids to buy into a Dog who can talk and walk like a human, because that obviously doesn’t happen in real life. However, we can buy into a dog who has emotions and could think like Human as we see in Bolt. The actual “dog” characteristics make the whole story more plausible. It is why many kids are convinced even more so after watching Toy Story, that their toys are a live. Movies can have “suspension of belief”, but they need to be grounded in some kind of reality. This should especially be applied if the author is trying to convince us that the dog is sad because he doesn’t have any “superpowers”. We are not used to the dogs being able to supernaturally talk or walk, so it would be even harder to buy into him being sad because he doesn’t have superpowers. To humans, A DOG being able to talk and walk is a superpower.

      • Man. I have to say something.

        “It is very hard for even kids to buy into a Dog who can talk and walk like a human, because that obviously doesn’t happen in real life.”

        Do we have to rationalize everything? If it’s funny and the character is charismatic, who cares? I think Lasseter likes Chuck Jones’ cartoons. Well, the Looney Tunes were full of animals that talked to human beings and acted like those.

        What about Droopy Dog dating a human girl?

        Or Bimbo dating human Betty Boop?

        I loved all this stuff as a kid and I still love it now. But now, somebody would probably consider it too surreal or worse, some kind of bestiality, and they would never do it.

        A universe where everything has the form of a car is a lot more hard to believe to me, and less enjoyable, though I still buy it, cause I like surreal things in cartoons.

      • I agree with you, I at least as a kid bought into all those characters. But, Looney Toons much more then Disney was built on gags not emotion. To get emotionally involved with a character I think you need to find ways to bring the character back to reality and have them make sense to a higher point. It is the difference of feeling for the animals in Snow White compared to Bambi. Walt Disney and I think John Lasseter, know that even though animation has the power to do anything, they “suspend our belief” the best when they give us a real foundation to start from. Especially when they are trying to effect us emotionally with their material.

      • Ethan

        “”Please, explain how you know that these directors didn’t have any “creative differences” with Lasseter?””

        I don’t know, I thought it was clear that I assume based on Lasseter’s given reason: Let’s suppose we accept that the main reason Lasseter fired Sanders was because he had “creative differences” (from the interview). I assume he didn’t have much creative differences with the other directors, because they were… not fired. It makes sense to me.

        “”Movies can have “suspension of belief”, but they need to be grounded in some kind of reality.””

        I have no idea what a “suspension of belief” is, that doesn’t make any sense. Do you mean a suspended disbelief? It doesn’t have to be grounded in reality. It doesn’t have to be realistic. It doesn’t have to be plausible. It is inherently non-realistic because it’s a technique to introduce non-realistic elements… Those who have seen the early work on American Dog told us that the issue was fixable.

        “”It is very hard for even kids to buy into a Dog who can talk and walk like a human, because that obviously doesn’t happen in real life.””

        Have you seen the Fantastic Mr. Fox? It’s among the most acclaimed animated films. Animals walking like humans, talking like humans, dressing like humans, living like humans with technology, interacting with humans, talking with humans, writing letters too. No problem, and it’s even an award winning screenplay. It’s once again the opening shot which makes the suspended disbelief happen. All the required elements are within the first few seconds.

        The problem you have with American Dog is similar but it’s only a small fraction compared to Fantastic Fox. They could have solved it in the opening shot too, or many many other ways I guess.

      • Okay Ethan, you can bash John about the Pixar movie Brave based on American Dog not being made and Bolt (in your opinion) being a mediocre/”safe” film. I am going to choose to trust John because of his career as a artist and his example of letting the majority of his directors create their own films, even though all the movies went through struggles. I think it is a bit neive to think that Andrew, Pete, Lee, and Brad didn’t have “creative differences”, you have no basis to that claim except for the fact that they weren’t fired from their projects.

      • Ethan

        Where did I say Bolt was mediocre? Bolt was a fine film. It was safe too. These are not in opposition. Chris Williams is a good director, but I still wish I could have seen American Dog instead. I expect Brave to be safe, and probably good too. I also wish I could see The Bear And The Bow. My problem is with the firing of directors not the directors taking their place.

        I am not “bashing” John, I am trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together to understand why those directors were fired. It’s not naive, considering I used your statements and Lasseter’s statements as a source. Which one is true, which one is false, it’s your choice. I’m only connecting them together. And expose the contradictions, and here it is:

        Let’s put it this way: If I were a director at a studio and another director was fired because he had creative differences with the boss, I would avoid at all cost having creative differences with the boss. Because that’s what gets you fired.

        Let’s put it another way: I work at a studio and both me and another director have creative differences with the boss. The boss only fires me, stating creative differences. The boss praises the other director. Is that fair ? Are you claiming that’s what happened ? What would be the reason for the firing since both had creative differences ?

      • Sorry for accusing you of saying Bolt was mediocre. For some reason it feels that you are saying that because Bolt was “safe”, it means John took Chris out because he was too gutsy with the story he wanted. I think that had very little to do with it. John has shown that he is okay with risky films. Also Ed and John have expressed that taking off a director is the last resort. We will never know what was the final straw for Ed and John, when it came to Chris being demoted. Neither will we know exactly what happened with Brenda Chapman. In my opinion we don’t need to know every detail.

        “Creative differences” can mean many things. Even though How To Train a Dragon did not specifically say that they made the directorial change because of “creative differences”, it is obvious they did. Even in the reasoning you gave me, you can see they had creative differences. Going more by the book did not work for Dreamworks (a creative difference), they chose to go another rout.

        Here is a Video of Ed talking about their creative process. Based on the examples of their films, I believe Ed and John do their best to walk out what is said on this video.

      • Ethan

        Yes I agree, “creative differences” is vague. Let’s say only SOME creative differences will get you fired. But which ones are those? Which ones should be avoided so you don’t get fired? Is there ANY of those you can ignore? How can you tell which ones?

        From the New York Times:
        “Mr. Lasseter and directors from both Pixar and Disney attended two screenings of the movie and gave Mr. Sanders notes on how he might improve the story, Mr. Unkrich said. Mr. Sanders resisted the suggestions, Mr. Lasseter said. So in January he was replaced by another director.”

        Look, they called them “suggestions”, it’s really funny. Two screenings. He didn’t do what the notes “suggested” to “improve” the film, so he was fired, and they restarted the film from scratch. I have no idea how you can possibly spin this into a “directors have the final say” or “Lasseter wants the film to come from the director’s heart”. It sounds like complete bullshit. It’s more like a design by committee.

      • Ethen, you acting like starting from scratch or replacing a director is a easy thing. It is a big decision and very hard for a boss to make. I have not seen or ever read anything that would imply that John or Ed are dictators.

        Yes, they will get rid of the director if necessary, as Ed explains very clearly in that link I posted. I have already explain to you how John and Ed saying that the company is a “director driven” studio, is slightly miss leading. The thing is I still believe John and Ed still want the films to come from the heart of the directors. You don’t get great movies like The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, and Up, if the director doesn’t have the freedom to make gutsy decisions from their own hearts, that might go against John’s creative instincts and feelings. This is not to say that directors don’t need to listen to their fellow artists suggestions. The “Brain Trust” for Pixar, and the “Story Trust” for Disney consists of a group of experienced artists. If a directors movie is not working and he refuses to listen to criticism, then you most likely will get demoted or fired.

      • Ethan

        He chose not to do some suggestions from two screenings, and you call that REFUSING to LISTEN to criticism. Would following all those notes make a better film? Who’s call is that? I believe the problem at disney IS the story trust.

        The truth is, Sanders then went on to make a much better film than what the “Story Trust” forced on him. All eyes of the industry was on HTTYD to judge if the decision to fire him was reasonable. Sanders’ track record is now BETTER than if he followed the story trust suggestions. So ironically I think being fired could be the best move of his career.

        They did a lot of what they wanted at DW despite the short schedule, and they never backtracked. There was no story trust in their way. Lasseter fired one of the best animation director in the world. The amazing quality and success of HTTYD suggests it was a big mistake. In all this ruckus, DW also gained Dean Deblois along the way and it’s obvious these two work amazingly well together. They indirectly gave Sanders to DW and by doing so they shot themselves in the foot.

        Sanders decided to fight, he won. Period.

      • Ethan I know you are a big Sanders fan and I have already admitted I thought HTTYD was a very good film. Because HTTYD was good does NOT mean American Dog was going to be good. Chris was with Dean Deblois on HTTYD, and I give Dean just as much credit as Chris. Chris and Dean work very well together. I think with Dean, Chris had someone he could trust, something that sadly did not seem to happen between him and John. The real problem is that we do NOT know exactly what happened. You are acting like Chris was fired from Disney because he did not listen to just a few suggestions. I do not believe that to be the case. Chris was demoted from American Dog and he chose to leave Disney. John and Ed have said it is a extremely hard decision to fire a director and they make that decision only as a last result (check out the link I posted).

        I think you are saying American Dog would of been good because HTTYD was good. I am saying that I think John made the right decision based on the results of his decisions, as a whole, so far. As good of a track record as Chris has I believe John to have a better one. He has been one of the most creative artist in the history of animation. John also has many great directors still working for him. Based on the many diverse types of movies that have been made under John’s supervision, I think John is a pretty open man when it comes to how to tell a story.

        I do not think there is anything you can say that would make me think that Dreamworks is less “safe” or less executive driven, then Disney/Pixar.

        I think you have probably noticed that this conversation has gotten slightly repetitive. So we probably will have to just agree to disagree. However, I do want to think you Ethan for having this conversation with me. It is good for us to really think through the reasons to why we believe what we believe. This conversation has done done just that with me. It also helped me figure out how to express my beliefs more clearly. I think both of us would agree it is great to have a website where these kind of conversations could happen.

      • Ethan

        Well, let’s agree to disagree then. I’ll go back to making jokes.

      • Ethan

        Okay, making jokes didn’t work out very well, and I abandoned the idea, but thank you for waiting.

        You don’t believe it, well, believe whatever you want, but it’s clearly stated in the NY Times quote I provided. You can also get other parts of the story from John Sanford and others.

        I have no doubt that the small pixar group are giving each other creative control and allow risks within their own small group, but that doesn’t mean that they are giving any respect to any other directors. Let alone the “directors have the final say” bullshit. They want to start making many films per year, good luck finding directors.

        It’s like they thought the “story trust” was better than Sanders and he should have done what they suggested to make a better film than they thought he was capable of. That is treating him like a first time director.

        By firing Sanders they were shooting themselves in the foot. It doesn’t even matter anymore if American Dog would have been better than Bolt, but it’s not even the point, HTTYD being that great, it exposed that the decision was wrong, they gave great directors to Dreamworks on a silver platter. The awareness of what’s going on started with that event, and it exploded even more with Brenda Chapman.

        Sanders ended up bet.
        I expect Brenda Chapman to win too, no matter what she decides to do next..

  • Jorgen Klubien

    Hi Brenda,

    You’ll be fine!
    All the best from London,

  • my 2 cents

    All gossip.
    Pixar has an unblemished, perfect track record and to date even their sequels top the originals with story and creativity.
    So I’ll just wait and watch the actual film, thanks.
    Then I’ll render my opinion.

    • Ethan

      I’m sorry, what ?!? You’ll render your opinion about Chapman’s unconventional film which you’ll never see ?

      How do you know the new “safe” films are better than the quirky American Dog, or the unconventional Brave, if you’ll never see them ?

      • Karen

        American dog wasn’t “quirky.” It was unwatchable.

      • Almost every single animated film ever made is “unwatchable” or “an unmitigated disaster” for the first few screenings.
        Then, with a little support and a lot of hard work, they come together.
        I’ll say this about American Dog:
        It endured 2 years of fussing by David Stainton.
        Then The Pixar group came in and dictated that almost EVERYTHING be changed, including some of the more fantastic elements. A big one? Chris wanted the dog to talk. “That doesn’t make any sense!” The Pixar group declared! Talking cars are okay, and a house can be lifted by balloons but a talking dog?
        Well, that is just ridiculous.
        Chris’s original movie was like “The Big Lebowksi” meets “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” with talking animals.
        It’s funny, I remember after a Bolt screening up at Pixar, a group of Story Artists standing around and saying “Yeah, this one makes more sense, but…Chris’s was a lot more unique”.

      • Very sad story, John. Neither Chris or much of his art were even in the Art of Bolt book.

        With a little more faith, American Dog could’ve been a wonderful movie.

      • “American Dog” was my most anticipated movie in years.

        I find it odd that the same person who cancelled it also greenlighted the unusual “Up”, which I loved, but I still find the concept and original designs of “AD” more intriguing. At the very least someone should print that material and make a book telling the story in the form of a novel or something.

  • Our notes from Walt were always to ensure a better movie. The “Old Man” never once said he wanted a hit and he was never afraid of failing.

    Sadly, Disney/Pixar is beginning to fear failure. A sure way to guarantee it will happen.

    • I need to say Floyd, I do not completely agree with you about Walt here.

      Walt Disney, even though he might not have admitted it, had his doubts and was afraid of failure just like everyone else. And, I do think it stopped him from really perusing animation after the 1940’s. Walt might of not ever said he wanted a hit, but he did proclaim that he made movies for the people. He never hid the fact that his films were commercially motivated, trying to please the whole family.

      Walt was very artistically driven but one of his greatest motivations was for entertainment of others. I do believe that Walt’s notes were always given to create a better movie, but a better movie based on his ideals. Stephen King and Quentin Tarantino are great story artists, but they would never be the kind of people Walt would be interested in.

      I belive John Lasseter and Ed Catmull give their directors far more freedom then Walt ever did. I think that John really does want the film to come from the artists heart.

      However, this is not to say that John or Pixar in general are afraid of failure, to the point that they are hurting their creativity and stories. I do think when you begin to make decisions based on the fear of failure, you guarantee that it will happen.

      When Walt encountered failure, he did not stop pushing his creativity. He often just concentrated on something else, like Television or Theme Parks. The thing is Walt was artistically driven, that is not the case with Disney anymore. Even if John has good intentions, the heads of Disney seem more interested in profit then anything else. I just hope that is not hindering Pixar yet, due to the fact that Pixar has done both so far. They have made artistically driven films that have made good profit.

  • my 2 cents

    I’ll type slower this time, Ethan, in hopes you can keep up.
    You can’t prove a negative. You can’t debate that which hasn’t or won’t happen…unless playing “What if?” is what you consider reality.
    It isn’t reality, by the way.
    It’s kind of like saying the New York Yankees are the 2010 World Champions, it’s just unfortunate they happened to lose the American League pennant. Boy, if only they played the NL winners, instead of those darn Rangers. See the stupidity? You’re making a barroom argument. I’m dealing with reality.
    You’re welcome to join me. ;-)

    • Ethan

      “See the stupidity?”
      Oh yes. I see it. You actually attacked yourself.

  • d. harry

    Okay, so what’s the latest news on this?? Anyone??

    • droosan

      I don’t have any news .. but I do just want to note that finding the newest posts has become a frustrating challenge in these longer threads, ever since ‘nested’ comments arrived. -_-

  • With all due respect, Jacob, how do you know this?

    • Through heavy research on Walt Disney and the Disney studio in general.

      Sadly I did not get the pleasure to get to know Walt Disney personally. However, I would say that he is the artist that has influenced me the most in my young career. I have devoted a lot of time to researching the guy. Bob Thomas’ biography is what got me hooked. After reading that I started researching Walt and his Nine Old Men, finding out a lot of info on Walt through interviews of him those who worked with him. I have gotten a very lobe sided view of Walt from the many documentaries on the extra feature parts of movies like Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, Lady and the Tramp, The Jungle Book, and so on. John Canemaker’s books and Ollie Johnson’s and Frank Thomas’ books and interviews have, I feel, given a more accurate view on who Walt was. Also, I have done a good amount of research on the strike of 1941 and looked into some of the people who did not seem to like Walt’s Disney, such as Art Babbitt and Bill Melendez. You Floyd have been a fun guy to listen to and research, because of your thoughts and connections with Walt and his philosophy of film making.

      I have done the same kind of research on John Lasseter and most of the “Brain Trust”. I have seen many interviews of John and have heard all his commentaries on his films. When I hear John talk and see his movies, I do not see someone who has given into fear, I see a person who is devoted to good film making. From what I have seen from Pixar’s films so far, I have no reason to doubt my ideas on John. Brave might change my ideas on John and the studio in general, but at the moment I am trusting that Brenda has been demoted for the right reasons.

      • Hey Jacob,
        I hate to break this to you, but seeing an interview with someone and listening to a commentary someone has done, is not the same thing as actually talking to them or working with them.
        They prepare for those interviews and many times, comments are edited.
        In other words, you really have no fucking idea of what’s going on.

      • Hey John, I realized that commentaries and interviews are planned before hand. I also realize those kind of things are monitored. But from trying to dig deep into the good and the bad of the Pixar studio I think I have come up with at least “an idea” of what Pixar is like, or has been like sense the release of Toy Story 3. It is not like I just ignore people like Floyd Norman, Mark Walton, or even you. I have admitted that it does concern me. I just am not going to completely bash Pixar until I see the actual movie.

        So far John Lasseter has backed up his words on those interviews and commentaries with action. So far I have liked and found meaning in the films that have gone through directorial changes. You say that Pixar is scared to death about failure and are making decisions based on that fear. But after watching recent Pixar movies like Up, Wall-E, and Ratatouille, I have a hard time believing you. All three of these films have many story elements that were considered risky in the Hollywood film business. A few examples would be a main protagonist who is 70+ years old in the movie Up, Ratatouille was a film almost entirely about rats, Wall-E was considered a kids movie but has an extremely little amount of duologue and is about a garbage robot.

        It could be that all of this has changed and Pixar has been over run by the Disney heads who don’t care about art. Or maybe Pixar has gotten high off their success and are now afraid of failure so they are now making decisions like scared old woman. But, as crude as you have been towards me and other Pixar supporters, you do not have me convinced. We will see :)

  • Ethan

    I enjoy that recurring argument all over the place “I have no idea what happened, but I love all pixar films! Therefore Lasseter is firing them for a good reason! Everyone in a position to know is lying! The proof is that I still love all pixar films! See? Pure Logic.”

    • Mark

      Yeah, there’s a surprising lack of respect here for anyone that actually works at Pixar. Why on Earth the average film-goer thinks they know more about this than them completely eludes me.

      • MC

        You’re right, but I’ll admit that I can see the logic that some are using. After all, if someone has loved all the films, why should they care about how the sausage is made behind the scenes?

        I certainly believe that something is rotten in Emeryville, but I can at least understand why someone who is generally pleased with the Pixar output would be willing to have a little more faith than the rest of us.

      • I’m much more shocked by the lack of respect displayed by some of the people who HAVE worked at Pixar for anyone who isn’t actively agreeing with them.

  • greg m.

    Pixar is one of the only examples of a studio that produces films based on ideas by animation folk. I have loved to use this fact when discussing with Producers and Studio execs about projects, when they almost always ‘would’ say “But is it a bestselling book? or Comic??”. I’ve always said that nobody knows better what would make a good animation film than animation folk – we live and breathe this stuff! First Pixar and now Sergio Pablos with his “Despicable Me”! Bravo!!! Keep on truckin’!!

  • I am coming late to this conversation but the last two comments have me scratching my head and I want to add my own two-cents. “A surprising lack of respect here for anyone that actually works at Pixar” really Mark? The only disrespectful behavior has come from those who think name calling and actually knowing some of the players involved should mean that they are believed without question and their opinions should be deferred to out of hand. Jacob for one has repeatedly said he can not say demoting Brenda was a good thing but that history has shown that good movies (not necessarily better ones) have come out of such changes. And Ethan, no one has said that those who are upset about the situation are lying but they have shown why they respect the track record Pixar has. Belittling them by suggesting their opinions are based on loving everything Pixar rather than in depth study is rather immature.
    Personally I am disappointed Brenda is no longer directing Brave. I wish her well. And wonder if it’s not time for a new studio to be born.

    • Ethan

      I never claimed that Jacob said that, it’s a generalized parody, which is protected speech. You could say I suck at writing comedy however. Just for that offense the brewmasters should delete all my posts ;-)

  • d. harry

    Hmm, digital domain, anyone?

  • Anthony

    Alot of the comments here seem to be one-sided (against the decision). Has anyone considered that maybe the film just was not working? No film maker is perfect, and sometimes movies can run into trouble. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made in order to save a movie. I mean, look at NEWT. They actually had to cancel it. Obviously there had to be problems along the way.

    Just because Ms. Chapman was replaced doesnt make anyone out to be evil, or greedy, or short sighted. All it means is that a concession had to be made to save the project. Things like this happen in movies all the time, so there is really no reason to be shocked about it. Hopefully, Ms. Chapman will find the project that clicks. From her background, we know she is a talented woman with the capability of directing a feature. Maybe this one just wasnt it.

    I still have high hopes for the movie, and will definately like to see the outcome of all of this. Hopefully it works out for the better of the company and the story.

    • I would accept the possibility that the film just wasn’t working,….except that I saw a screening that was truly amazing. It was a film full of heart, brilliant characters, and great moments. I left the screening thinking “Holy shit! This is going to open things up around here the way The Incredibles did!”The problems the film did have were fixable.
      The idea that this movie wasn’t her cup of tea is laughable. She conceived it from the ground up! For the film not to be working at this point, someone must have thrown a pretty big monks wrench into it.

    • Geneva

      I actually figured that Newt was canned partially because it had the exact same basic idea as Alpha & Omega and Rio (Rio especially– both of the leading pairs are even blue!)

  • Dan Ang

    Man, either way, this is disappointing. Regardless of what goes on behind the scenes, I am a huge fan of their movies, and as someone interested in film, as many of us are, I really feel like they’ve just always hit it out of the park, and more importantly, served as a great example, just because of how well put together their stories are. I’d hate to think that they’re in a downward spiral, but their recent director woes certainly make me think otherwise :[

    It’s also a shame that we’ll probably never hear what really happened, and what happens behind the scenes, at least in this lifetime, simply because of how under lock and key everything is. Even the people who know can only hint at what’s going on. And I HIGHLY doubt anyone’s going to write a “tell all” in the near future, especially considering it would probably be fairly boring.

  • I would have thought by now that Pixar and Disney would have realized that Creativity is the best Business plan. You can’t be very creative if you are not willing to take risks. I am trusting John still knows that. If he and the rest of the Disney decisions makers have forgotten that, it will be their loss.

  • Was my face red

    The final film may turn out to be good, but that doesn’t automatically mean the junked movie would have been bad. It might just have been different or not to the consensus taste.

    The sad thing is we’ll never know now and there’s enough in the posts by the people who have actually seen what she was working towards to feel we may well have lost something very Brave, if not perhaps as toy sales safe as Cars 2.

  • redrum

    I don’t have a lot to add to the discussion that hasn’t already been stated, but I did want to say a couple of things. I, too, saw the original version of Brenda’s story. It was a beautiful, heartfelt, coming-of-age story with strong, outspoken female characters. Like all films in the early stages of development, it needed some tweaks, but as John Sanford (and others who saw it) have said, there was nothing major wrong with that story. The problem Brenda had from waaaaay back was that the execs did not find the female characters appealing and wanted them “toned down.” I don’t know what happened in the “toning down” process, but I suspect a lot of Brenda’s original story and voice got progressively muted and diluted until you were left with a story that was no longer working.

    Mark Andrews is a great guy, and a real talent, but I can’t imagine what he is going to do with Brenda’s story. Honestly, other than the setting (Scotland), I would imagine the entire story is probably going to be changed and that’s a real shame. Pixar had a real opportunity to showcase a completely different type of storytelling and they blew it.

    Brenda, if you are reading this, know that you have a lot of people out there in the animation community that love and respect you and can’t wait to see what you’re going to do next.

    • MC

      Thanks for your interesting comments. Can you shed a little light on the aspects of the characters that the execs thought needed toning down? I know very, very little about the film so I don’t have a good read on the characters.

      I find the whole series of events interesting. The Pixar “brain trust” is composed of a very specific type, and as a middle-class-raised theme-park-animation-nerd manchild myself, I realize my own kind when I see them.

      • optimist

        No, he or she CAN’T “shed a little light”.

        Really, this is not a place for that kind of stuff. It’s nobody’s business at this point in time. And by “nobody” I mean the public and/or fans. Take the remarks by redrum for what they are (or don’t), but don’t expect to suddenly be told all the details of the plot and characters.

  • I returned to see the discussion continuing. Wow! What passion for an uncompleted film. I’m sorry things got a little over heated, but maybe that’s a good thing.

    You’re all too young to even remember this, but back in the old days at Disney, some artists wanted to settle matters out in the parking lot. No kiddin’. This stuff actually happened. Such was the passion at that once creative studio.

    However, this is a business and these things happen. All is not lost. Let’s just hope they don’t screw up the film too much.

    • d. harry

      Floyd, any particular incidents come to mind, that you can share?!! :)

    • Anonymouse

      Floyd, I’ve noticed you’ve soured on Pixar over the last couple of years. Not a stalker or anything (not intentionally anyway), but I recall you used to write very flattering things about them… I’m just a fan but I’ve been souring a bit on Pixar also ever since Chris Sanders left. This one just broke the camel’s back for me.

      What in the world is going on over there? Is this coming from up higher above or are the old Pixar guard just not as comfortable with change and giving newer artists freedom as they said they would be?

      Is Chapman leaving for greener pastures? I mean, this has got to sting.

      • All of the above Anonymouse. All of the above.
        Not sure about what Brenda will do. I just hope she’s okay. She’s an amazing talent. She’s too good for that place.

      • Anonymouse

        Again, just speaking as a fan – I think it’s going to take a Pixar/Disney dark age before those guys understand that they’re killing the golden goose. I hated the new slate they announced (Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Brave – which they’re apparently de-soulifying, and Monster’s Inc 2), and Disney coming up with Winnie the Pooh 2…

        It’s like Lasseter and the rest of them have forgotten what made them great in the first place. Isn’t John on record saying stuff like, he wants the studio to be director-driven and he hated it when the upper-ups kept giving them notes when they first started out? It’s really disappointing.

        Nothing a few animated oscars going to Jeffrey Katzenberg for a couple of years won’t fix. Hopefully Dragon can pull off the upset this year (I loved Toy Story 3, don’t get me wrong, but I enjoyed Dragon more), and I guarantee you there is no way Cars 2 is taking home the hardware next year. Have you guys read the synopsis for that? It’s laughable that these are the same guys who felt the need to take Brenda Chapman off her own movie.

      • Marco

        I’m just going to comment that I found Toy Story 3 easily superior to How to Train Your Dragon. One was an emotional and dark rollercoaster; the other was a step in the right direction for Dreamworks, but was still very predictable in terms of the story.

      • Ethan

        Disney has always been in long cycles of up and down periods. It’ll get much worse in the next few years before it gets better.

      • I disagree and I worked on TS3.

      • Marco

        Then let me sincerely commend you for helping to create a phenomenal film. It actually made my mother cry as it drove my mother to think about the time we had to part when I left for college, and if someone had told me in 1995 that a sequel to TS would do that, I wouldn’t have believed him/her.

        As for How to Train Your Dragon, I can’t see anything that would give it a leg up. It was a HUGE step in the right direction for Dreamworks — no pop culture references, a more character-driven story — but as soon as I got 25 minutes into the movie, I knew the plot it was going to follow, and it’s one that has been done 100 times over in a very similar fashion. The young vikings were also too contemporary for the setting they were in; just let them be vikings from a past time. TS3 has a timeless message that affected adults in a way I haven’t seen in an animated film in quite a long time.

      • Funkybat

        I enjoyed both TS3 and How to Train Your Dragon, but there was a lot more depth IMHO in Toy Story 3 than Dragon. Maybe it’s because I share that whole aforementioned “suburban-raised middle-class white male geek” aspect, but there was a LOT in that film that I could relate to, both on a direct basis and by extension/analogy. Anyone who has gone through loss of loved ones and big shifts in their life should see something they recognize in there. That movie seriously did a job on me, it was like experiencing the emotional roller-coaster of the first 15 minutes of “Up” for 2 hours.

        How To Train Your Dragon was very “un-Dreamworks” in that it was far less pop/contemporary culture-driven, and had more genuine emotion and drama than slapstick comedy. It was a great film with some strong characters, but I agree with Marco that the teenagers behaved too “modern” for my tastes, and Astrid’s change in attitude toward Hiccup was kind of abrupt. There was a lot that had to be covered in that film, so I can’t really fault it for having a pace that seemed kind of quick or rushing things like Astrid’s change of heart, but overall I still felt like Toy Story 3 was a little stronger. There may be some bias there, due to the familiarity of the characters. Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing How To Train Your Dragon win the big prize this year. It’s no fun having the same team win every single year, even if they are still fantastic. And DW and the Dragon team deserve recognition of what they accomplished. Of course, the Oscars are hardly the definitive barometer of superiority in animated film anyway, I’d trust the Annies more for that.

  • Andrea Davis

    Interesting comments and debates. Three things I have to say:
    1. The Internet really needs a sarcasm font. Can someone invent one and put the button on all future keyboards? You’ll make a fortune.
    2. YAY Powerpuff Girls!Go Sedusa!
    3. You know what really jumps out at me and makes me happy while reading these comments? Everyone’s smart and well spoken,and no misspelled words/typos/bad grammar, etc. It feels so good on the eyes.

  • MarieMJS

    It’s disappointing really, when I try to explain to my male coworkers how important it was for us, women in animation (I’ve had many conversations on the topic with the very few woman animators I know), they think I overreact and that I’m just a feminist in disguise. Because that’s what it’s about right, feminism??? *headdesk*
    No matter how good or bad the film will be, in the end, there was something bigger behind this, because today, still, women winning awards for films, women directing some films, is like “woah, amazing” and the only thing that will stop that feeling of something “exceptionnal” is just making even more films directed by women, and even more awards won by women.
    Everytime something like that happens, it’s like taking a step back. Most of you would argue that it might have nothing to do with gender, and that it was just how the film was made, but still, there is a tiny part of me that can’t help but feeling frustrated… It mattered as it was, that’s all.
    Again, no offense, but guys really can’t understand what it’s all about, even if they’re smart and feminist as well, that’s just something they will never experience, ever, in their life :) I know some female animators who also don’t give a shit and are fairly happy with the situation as it is, but I’m not, and sometimes, it’s tiring…

  • Ethan

    I expect the development about Brenda Chapman to cause as much if not more ruckus in the industry than the past events with Chris Sanders. Shaking things up has always been the best way to help our industry advance. My goal is to bring some public attention to the issue, so I’m satisfied that this story has now beyond 300 comments and counting. Thank you Jacob, as much as I disagree with you on some points, you made it happen ;-)

  • Anonymouse

    An anonymouse tipster at the Pixar Blog ( says:

    “The New York Times is wrong. Brenda has left Pixar but is still technically on payroll because of squabbles over her contract. Once those are resolved, she will be officially out of the company…”

    Sound right? Wouldn’t be shocking to me. Nice job, Pixar.

  • Pony Boy

    Maybe John Sanford is so bitter and angry, spiteful and filled with hate because Pixar fired him for not being very talented?

    • John being a big storyboard artist for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Atlantis, and Lilo and Stitch, I doubt he was fired for lack of talent. He also directed Home on the Range, and although it did not turn out exactly the way he wanted, it seems that John has gained an extreme amount of experience. John might have been fired or just chosen to leave because of creative differences. But if Pixar said they fired him because he, “wasn’t very talented”, it is Pixar who was wrong.

  • Ah! A personal attack from an ANONYMOUS poster!!! What a big man you are!!!
    The details of how and why I left Pixar are well known to the people that matter. I cannot discuss the particulars of the case, as I am contractually bound not to do so.
    I will say this: NOT ONE person on the story crew or in many of the management positions felt my treatment was in anyway fair. Many came to me and told me I got a raw deal INCLUDING Brenda.
    In addition, I CAN discuss how a few other folks have come to leave Pixar in recent years and say that maybe that might have some bearing on why I left.
    Here is the scenario: A story artist is brought in for an interview based on his portfolio and the strenght of his work at other studios. They like his drawing style, his approach to problem solving, his humor, and his approach to storytelling in general. He passes the interview with flying colors. He is a classic story man who can board an idea from scratch, board from a script and plus it, blue sky for gags,identify and diagnose structural problems and reccomend solutions and write usable dialogue. They hire him based on these strengths.
    They assign him to a project where he discovers that at Pixar, you board from the script, and your job is basically to create perfectly drawn animatics with perfect layouts and perfectly on-model characters. Each sequence is roughly 800 to 1700 panels long, and they must be presented every friday. NO OVERTIME. This artist flounders. Why? BECAUSE HE HAS NEVER DONE THIS JOB BEFORE!!! The position of story artist means something else at Pixar. They have Michael Arndt, Andrew Stanton and people like that for IDEAS..they don’t need yours. You just illustrate what they want. This artist struggles…and is ultimately laid off.
    It is the old Bait and switch. He was hired for one set of skills, and asked to do a job where none of those skills come into play. Like I said, this may or may not be what happened to me.
    Am I angry? Eh..maybe. I believe I have every right to be. Tell you what, Pony Boy. Next time you see me at CTX, or even at the comic store or what ever, come up to me and introduce yourself. I’ll tell you all about it.
    Maybe we’ll see just how big a man you really are.

  • d. harry

    According to many, Peexar is not the perfect place one might envision. No contract, not the best pay – especially taking the cost of living up there into account, a couple of primadonnas who make story artists lives hell, to describe but a few of the things I have been told. The Brenda issue will end up joining that list. This takes it up a notch though, as they are now showing a willingness to replace people right at the top – so lesser beings should be fearful (to the delight of Disney management types, I’m sure).

  • Milo Thatch

    Wow, what an exciting time to be in animation! For better or worse, there is no doubt that there is a PASSION for this artform and with great passion comes great art. That, for one, makes me very happy.

    Second, I think many people are LOOKING for Pixar to finally bomb. Their winning streak is becoming both amazing and stomach-turning to those not on the winning team. Just ask any Boston Redsox fan what they think of the NY Yankees amazing World Series history.

    It’s human nature to root for the underdog and feel a sense of pride when the unlikely choice becomes the hero. Frankly, we would have about 98% LESS movies if you took away that concept. And while Pixar WAS the underdog back in the ’90s, they are no longer in that spot. They are king now, a place they have absolutely earned. However, no matter who the king is, history has shown us that someone, somewhere always wants him dead…

    My point? We all clearly have passion, but very few of us have the FACTS. Let’s assume the best for all parties involved and see where the chips fall as time goes on.

    Last, I find it frustrating that people are so quick to say this is a crime against “women in animation” when the reality is, if for whatever reason Brenda was not up to par directing this film, it would be WORSE to keep her at the helm because she IS a female than to remove her regardless of gender for the benefit of the story! Being a female voice in a male dominated industry doesn’t inherently mean that same voice will be successful (just as no male voice is inherently successful by virtue of being male).

    Now this is no sleight against Ms. Chapman as a person or an artist, but a generality for anyone feeling like a “minority” fish swimming in a “majority” ocean: If you want to achieve equal success as those around you, you must also be just as vulnerable to failure as they are. If it were someone named, say, BRANDON Chapman who created Bear & The Bow and then had it removed from HIM, this whole discussion would be focused solely on Pixar as a studio making tough decisions. The director would be regarded as simply a director and not a man by gender.

    I personally believe it is more respectful of “women in animation” to refer to Brenda as “DIRECTOR” and not “WOMAN” in this arguement. She is an amazing artist and has earned the title DIRECTOR in her lifetime, so let’s give her that respect. An idea is no better or worse because it comes from a woman or a man. It is only as good as the artist, the visionary, the storyteller behind it. And that, my friends, is genderless.

    Now fear and loathing for Pixar’s future as a STUDIO is a more valid and fair debate! :)

    • Milo Thatch

      Let me just clarify I in NO way am assuming Brenda could not handle the position. I have NO knowledge about anything related to FACTS – other than the fact that something is clearly going on over there!

      I just have passion. And I greatly appreciate and respect the honesty John and Floyd are showing here, while still respecting the sanctity of the names and events involved. If they REALLY wanted to do damage, believe me, I’m sure they could.

      Maybe Pixar isn’t the heaven it once was. Good thing is, they’re not the only studio on the block and other joints like Dreamworks, Sony, and Blue Sky (among MANY others) are only getting better! :)

  • Handel

    My late take on the whole Brenda thing…
    Does it suck? Yeah…
    Is it the end of the world? Nah.
    Lookie..I think Brenda is a fantastic artist, with the experience to bring a great vision to WHATEVER film she eventually directs.
    No, I do not know all the underlying details. But I do know that whatever they are, it’s nothing new. Yes it sucks, but Brenda is a big girl who has been around for some time and knows how these things work and play out. She’s not new to studio politics. Yeah, she’s pissed and has every reason and right to be pissed! But she knows she’ll be fine and she knows that she WILL direct a film and have the opportunity to shine (as I’m sure she will), at whatever studio she ends up at. And I look forward to that time which will no doubt come sooner than later due to this type of thing raising her profile, which is…part of the political game.

    As for the title “pixar being an directors driven studio” (or something like that), Pixar has a great track record. The reason they have that track record is because they WERE putting out great films that WERE different from the rest of the group. They were easily the most clever and creative. In all ways. They weren’t warmed over formula. So in truth…they were more artist/director driven. But lets be grown ups about this. That doesn’t mean that they are going to let directors have 100% free reign over the 100’s of millions $ plus budget films. (cameron? hello?). That just aint happenin’.
    Are they as director friendly now? I don’t know. I DO know that they aren’t as crisp as they used to be. I remember shuddering when I heard that they were merging more with the Disney brand. Broke my heart because it’s only a matter of time before the bad habits from disney was integrated within pixar model. In SOME form or another.
    I’ve seen things from pixar that really rather bother me.
    I love Brad Bird. I’ve had an opportunity to work with him. I LOVE “Iron Giant”. I LOVE the “Incredibles”…because they felt different and fresh and CRISP! But…I thought that “ratatouille” was starting to get into a more…’typical’ type of film. I didn’t think it was bad per se. But it did not have a freshness to it that I felt the other two had. It felt more like a ‘studio’ film.
    I found it interesting that Brad left shortly after that. I don’t know the reasons but I do remember him (on “GIANT”) saying that when it’s not fun anymore, he’d leave whatever studio he was at. I don’t know if that is what happened. But it is interesting.
    But getting back to the ‘director driven’ title…more ‘director driven’ doesn’t mean ‘director free reign’.
    Which brings me back to Brenda:
    There is alot of talk about this pixar film being ‘her film’ to work on. That is of course wrong. This is NOT her or any artists/directors film. It is the studios film. They bought the rights and they are putting the hunert kazzzillion bucks into making it. If the artist or director want this to be ‘their film’ and they want to have free reign, then THEY can buy rights to it and THEY can fliip the kazillion of bucks to budget and make that film.
    Otherwise your gonna butt heads with the no-nothings. And that’s the way it is. I mean, it’s not that complicated.
    Their film. Their money. Their rules. And the directors get paid quite handsomely to work/play in that sandbox. If they choose NOT to, then there are free to hit up the competition, which I’m sure are just clammoring for someone as beez kneez as Brenda. (sa-woooooon!)
    Ironically, things like this (Brenda’s pixar situation) doesn’t necessarily make the studio stronger, but it DOES make the animation industry stronger AND better- by spreading out the top people to different places.

    “Pony Boy”:
    People in this industry (or any creative industry) where you are ‘in-studio’ or working FOR a big studio..layoffs and firings happen all the time and really for any and all sorts of reasons. Doesn’t matter WHO you are. You could be the most talented individual in the world…and still get fired.
    At the same time, there are tons of mediocre people in this industry, that play the political game and play it well. And remain in a very sweet and safe spot. It is a very political, and a very petty industry with studio heads with HUGE ego’s dealing with artists with HUGE ego’s….all fighting for the bigger portion of the ‘Eggo’. And shite happens..
    We all have stories and we all have moved around from studio to studio. For whatever reason.
    John S. is no different. Sometimes (more often than not) people just aren’t good fits for that particular studio OR that particular studio is NOT a good fit for the artist.
    In johns case, I VERY MUCH doubt that it was because he’s not a ‘talented enough’ individual.
    It might simply be that he wouldn’t ‘put out’ (it is San Fransisco after all), but not because he doesn’t have what it takes to do the work and do it quite well.

    Good luck to you Brenda. In whatever film you do eventually direct and whatever studio that is lucky to have you.
    And ‘Mandrews’? Knock it outta the park, baby! I know you will.
    And ‘pony boy’…quit using my nickname for John S.
    And John S…I found a cd I borrowed from you, like…17 years ago. And I’M KEEPING IT! (so go $%[email protected]! yourself!) LOL!

    >: D

  • Karen

    Pixar isn’t now nor ever has been a “director driven” studio. That’s just lame p.r. It’s a profit driven studio like every other studio. Period.

  • Handel

    Well, I don’t FULLY agree with you on the ‘director driven’ studio thing. At least in the earlier films. The reason being is that those films are just too damn good. Too damn creative. From concept to completion, I think that they were very VERY different from what was happening at the time.
    It’s interesting to me to see alot of hate directed at Pixar. This used to be the thing to do with Disney.
    I guess since Pixar is the ‘big dog’, it’s fashionable to do this with them now? Ok…whatev.

    “”It’s a profit driven studio like every other studio. Period.”””

    I hope your not saying that as if it’s a bad thing. Cuz it aint. These things don’t make money, you’ll get nothing but “benji” movies.
    Not that there’s anything wrong with “benji” movies. I usually like to watch mine with a nice classic red wine and pantless. But that’s me.

    It’s a profit driven industry. And that’s a good thing.

  • Handel

    You know…the more I think of it, the more I think that this is very much the same type of thing that Disney faced in the 90’s.
    Where alot of people come out and bag on a studio mainly cuz its..’fashionable’.
    But would they JUMP at the chance to work there? Oh you betcha! In fact they would easily and proudly sport an entire ‘PIXAR’ wardrobe which would include some edible “I love John Lassiter” man pannies.
    And this is aside from the whole brenda thing…Lookie, I am not PRO Pixar as much as I’m Pro Animation.
    Every studio has its up and its share of downs. Right now It looks as if Dreamworks has the magic. But I would argue that Dreamworks owes quite alot from those very creative trolls at Pixar, who pushed the bar WAY UP. And set the example of the new high as far as quality.
    So lets all take a off, and just celebrate the wonders of competition.

    • Marco

      I wouldn’t really say they have the magic. I’ve watched Monsters vs. Aliens and I have no interest in what looks to be a very generic Dreamworks film in the way of Megamind. I really think How to Train Your Dragon worked because the talented man who directed it came from Disney, which has decades of roots in the animation business.

      But I’m with you overall. Last year, I loved the amount of high-quality animated films I saw, from the touching, adventurous and highly creative Up, to the darker Coraline which made terrific use of 3D, to the hilarious and witty Fantastic Mr. Fox, to the colorful Ponyo, to the very funny Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. It’s a GREAT time to be into animation. Let’s not mistake passion with anger; we can be passionate and not insult the living hell out of people via your keyboards. I’m glad a website like this exists and am really taken aback by the animosity toward total strangers.

      • Handel

        Well Marco, as you say “I am with you overall” :D
        I disagree with you on what might be looked at as a small point. And thats this:

        “”I really think How to Train Your Dragon worked because the talented man who directed it came from Disney, which has decades of roots in the animation business.”””

        There is a…misconception that a creative mindset is ONLY a quality mindset BECAUSE of coming from disney. Disney did not ‘make’ this director “good” or “talented”. NO studio does. The only thing a studio does is put limits on the creative channels that a truly creative and original creator has. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And if the creator is truly experienced and clever, he can still make a pretty good film.
        The fact that this guy ‘came’ from Disney is really irrelevant..And actually almost works against him as there is/ was a sort of ‘formula’ that many of them were forced to work through. Some adapted to it (sadly) and some just flat out left the studio.
        But one could say that one of the most creative people in the biz WASN’T from disney. And that’s Brad Bird.
        “How to Train” worked and worked well due to the vision of a hungry director MATCHED with a studio that had the wisdom to see a great possibility and not stand so much in the way of that directors vision.
        VIVA LA’ ANIMATION!! And that goes for Television as much as Feature. Because TV animation is what has saved feature animation when feature animation goes on through its butt scratching periods.
        So we should salute those working in tv every bit as much as those in features. Perhaps even more.
        Damn…four glasses of wine sure makes one have a ‘twinky’ craving sompin fierce!

  • John

    Lee Unkrich the director of Toy Story 3 talks about Brenda being replaced on Brave.

    BD: And it’s painful when directors have to be replaced, which just happened [with Brenda Chapman being replaced by Mark Andrews on Brave].

    LU: Yes, and it’s happened several times in our history, sometimes publicly and sometimes not, but it’s always the last resort. In the end, the movies are going to outlive all of us and so we need to do whatever we can to make [them] great. Our egos can’t be a part of that. We have to do what’s right for the movie, and sometimes, yes, we’ve been in situations where we’ve had to make some very difficult choices, and we’ve all worried about it happening to ourselves. I would be lying if I didn’t think there were certain times on this movie when I worried about being taken off it, so you do what you need to do.

  • S. R.

    I couldn’t help but notice in the end credits of TS3 that there weren’t any female story artists on the film. I went and checked out the end credits of some of the previous films, Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up – no female story artists. Some of them have female story managers. What exactly is a story manager?

    I’m not ‘attacking’ Pixar. If their decisions are what led to these great movies being made, I trust them. I’m just legitimately curious to what it is a story manager does & if/how they contribute to what shows up on screen.

  • Lindsey

    I think that it is a shame that Brenda Chapman got booted off the project. From research it shows the concept was hers and some of the story elements are based off her family relations. So to be booted off a project that is close to home should be quite the kick in the mouth.
    I do wish that people would stop looking only at Man vs. Woman in this but it would be nice to see a feminine touch in a PIXAR film. We can only hope that the film retains it’s feminine value in the story and emotion.
    I for one wish Chapman the best of luck. It would be easy for me to look at this and think “Gee, if she can’t make it then no one can” but sometimes taking the easiest route isn’t always the best.

  • J_Kandefer

    This is why I write and illustrate children’s books. Creative control over storytelling, character and artistc freedom…as long as the publisher likes it.