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Feature Film

Which Famous Animation Director Just Got Removed From Their Film?

Received an interesting email tonight. No way to confirm the story, so we pass it along as a blind item, with the name of the director and film removed:

Following a harsh internal review, he has been removed as writer/director of the latest film in this beloved series. The review was brutal. He can’t write. The studio will spin it as he was stretched too thin.

If you know more, get in touch.

  • Slim Cognito

    Assuming either Paul Tibbitt, Dean DeBlois or Genndy.

    • Luke

      Dean seems likeliest because HTTYD 3 has already had its release date delayed twice.

      • Aislin Gry

        That would suck tough, he has done a really good job with the series so far

        • Slim Cognito

          Paul could be a contender. Now I don’t know about the “can’t write” comment, dude’s very talented and has boarded a lot of great episodes for shows he’s worked on. But on social media, he has posted some frustrations at Nick corporate and allegedly there was a lot of fighting involved with SOOW.

        • Quiubo

          The second one is not good.

      • brandon

        It can’t be Dean. His vision is too integral to the trilogy for DWA to pull a dumb and kick him off. Plus, the man can write a story (last I checked, he already had a few completed drafts and was beginning work on storyboards).

        Also, release dates for animated films shift constantly, and it isn’t always a sign of trouble. A variety of reasons could come up (animators need more time, story needs more work, etc). Just recently, LEGO Movie 2 was pushed back to 2019 while HTTYD3 was moved forward to May 2018.

        Trust me, hell would freeze over if Dean is kicked off.

        • 24 Fps

          Thanks for your take on this. How long has Dean had you as his agent?

          • brandon

            If only I were his agent. Pretty cool guy and a great storyteller.

        • Probability correct, but remember that Dreamworks is in crises since Katzenberg ran off and Illumination is now in control. Their model of production is vastly different and I’m sure Chris Meledandri wouldn’t be able to run two studios. I mean Croods 2 has already been delayed and there is no news about Boss Baby.

          • brandon

            DWA’s massive layoffs at the beginning of 2015 is closer to my definition of an animation company in crisis mode.

            I don’t think getting purchased by a multi-billion dollar corporation for nearly the same amount as LucasFilm can be considered a crisis. Although, Meledandri has yet to demonstrate his ability to be Universal’s John Lasseter (running two studios at once), so there’s that.

        • Quiubo

          Lego Movie 2 was delayed because of Young Han Solo movie getting priority in Lord & Miller’s dance card. The MIB/Jump Street crossover also died because of this.

          • brandon

            WB also hired a new writer to revision the script, so there was definitely more to it than Lord & Miller being extrodinarily busy nowadays.

    • Memorian

      I don’t think I’d consider any of them “Famous” though. Maybe Genndy?? But that’s stretching it. OP must be using the term famous loosely.

      • Chinoiserie

        In blind items famous does not mean A-list but well-known.

    • Tim Critchley

      Chris Sanders?

      • Ginormous Canvas

        I think this could be a possibility. He is famous. Lilo and Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon, and The Croods. That is pretty famous. And the release date for The Croods 2 has been pushed back which could be explained by this. I think he is a good writer because of his previous work, but we don’t know who wrote this. It could be an executive or an animator or anybody…

        This is kinda scary. All the major possibilities would be really sad if it was them.

  • ogglar

    better not be Tartakovsky

  • Chris

    Brad Bird! Wouldn’t that be nuts…

    • brandon

      I don’t know. The Incredibles is just now getting a sequel, so it isn’t much of a franchise.

      • Chinoiserie

        Film with even two films is a franchise even if the second is not out yet.

    • ???

      Or John Lasseter. :P

    • Quiubo

      They wouldn’t make it without Brad Bird, even though he took over Ratatouille.

    • honbadger

      Didn’t Brad Bird completely rewrite Ratatouille after coming on 15 months before the release date?

  • Memorian

    This is hard for me to even guess. What’s a beloved animated film series currently ongoing with a FAMOUS director. When they say famous do they mean in the animation world or in general?

    • brandon

      That’s the problem I have with this email. The context of the word ‘famous’ is being used pretty vaguely here.

      Is it referring to somebody who is well-liked and respected in the animation world? In that regard, you could make somewhat of a case for some of the names being thrown around. But if we’re talking someone that people outside of the animation world are familiar with, than that list gets much shorter. Brad Bird? John Lasseter? Genndy Tartakovsky? Those are really the only names that come to mind when it comes to animation directors receiving mainstream attention.

  • tombeet

    From the sound of it I think it’s Dreamworks studio, so it might be Dean after all.

    • Quiubo

      Might be Dean DeBois with How to Train Your Dragon. Right, he has new bosses.

      • brandon

        HTTYD is a beloved franchise, but Dean’s not popular in the same way that Lasseter/Bird/Tartakovsky are popular. All depends on the context in which the word ‘popular’ is being used.

  • Cameron Ward

    It has to be a big name and a loved franchise to be a big deal….Can’t be Brad Bird because Incredibles isn’t REALLY a franchise yet,

    Maybe Genndy since HT has two movies

    or maybe it’s Pixar with Lasseter…

    • Luke

      But John isn’t writing Toy Story 4.

      • Callum

        He isn’t writing the screenplay but the story is from him, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich.

      • Also, Brian Fee isn’t a “famous director”. He has no previous directing credits at the IMDb — not even a short film or anything like that.

    • Callum

      I can’t see it being Lasseter, he is the heart and soul of Pixar. I don’t think it would be anyone from Pixar, as Cars 3 would be way in production and Lasseter seemed happy with Brian Fee.

  • Memorian

    I think it might be Genndy Tartakovsky. He seems the most “famous” out of all of them in the animation world for all of his well known animated series and even if Hotel Transylvania isn’t that great, people obviously do love it, or at least like it. The first film brought in over $300mill while the 2nd grossed over $470mill. With the 3rd greenlit and given a release date for sometime in 2018.

    Also the “stretched thin” angle seems to work best for him since he does always have his hand in many things. Like him being involved in the upcoming continuation of Samurai Jack Series and then Marvel finally releasing his Luke Cage series this October.

    I find it hard to believe “he can’t write” though. This is the man involved in Dexter’s Lab, Samurai Jack, Powerpuff Girls, Sym-Bionic Titan and Star Wars: Clone Wars.

  • Let it be John Lasseter, just so everyone’s heads would explode at the same time!!!!

    • Quiubo

      Impossible for Lasseter to be removed… though he can be convinced to step aside. Cars 3 isn’t worth it.

      • Phin68

        I’m pretty sure John isn’t directing Cars 3 because of Toy Story 4, not because of Pixar preventing him.

      • He isn’t writing or directing Cars 3 – he’s on Toy Story 4. Not saying it his him that is being removed – just saying it would be hysterical and a bit poetic if it was him. Even he does have a boss.

  • Callum

    Maybe it’s a director that we don’t know is directing yet, like Shrek 5.

  • Tre

    I’m betting on Gendy too. I still can’t quite wrap my head around why Sony shelved his ‘Popeye’ movie when the test animation showed great promise. Hopefully someone will let you know soon if the email was legit…

    • I think it was a good call. I didn’t care for the super over- the- top cartoony animation and what was that yellow floating creature? Although Popeye would be better over Emoji.

      • AlunClewe

        That “yellow floating creature” was Eugene the Jeep, a relatively famous character from the original Popeye strips and cartoons.

      • otterhead

        The over-the-top cartoony animation was its entire reason for existing, really — to let Genndy and crew try some super stylized cartoony motion. The yellow floating creature was Eugene the Jeep, one of the main Popeye characters. The bigger problem here is that no kid in 2016 cares about Popeye.

        • Daniel Dylan Davis

          No kid really cared about classic monsters in 2012 aside from Halloween props, yet Hotel Transylvania was a hit.

          It’s largely about the execution. Kids today could very well be interested in seeing a Popeye film, if it turned out to be well-done.

  • Insider

    It’s JL. He’s been off TS4 for a while now.

    • Slim Cognito

      But he runs Pixar (alongside WDA), I would assume he would have some say in if he gets to stay on the film. He didn’t get fired from Cars 2, even though that was…less than stellar, let’s just put it at that.

  • Sony shelved Medusa, Popeye (not sure if just the director or the whole thing), and a project related to shadows (I think Me and My Shadow). But instead of those, we have The Emoji Movie? I just don’t know what’s going on there and who makes these horrible decisions.

    • J.S

      Shadows was from Dreamworks, and it’s still in development.

  • Don’t think it’s Bird, but he hasn’t done animation in nearly 10 years and his last film (Tomorrowland) wasn’t a success critically of financially.

    • He is currently working on the sequel to the Incredibles for Pixar. Also, I don’t believe any animation director to do a live action film with Disney will have a chance of winning. Even Steven Spielberg isn’t doing well with Disney’s BFG.

      • Oh, I forgot about that. Andrew Stanton suffered the same thing Brad did with John Carter, although now he’s obviously recovered. The director in question is probability from either Sony or Dreamworks. Both are having issues right now.

  • Aidan Wilson

    I really can’t agree more

  • Yep, but apparently he came back for Hotel Transylvania 3.

  • Ginormous Canvas

    I’ve been looking for that for a while. Where did you find a copy? Is it online?

    • Greg Manwaring

      Brad had me read it back when he was developing it at Turner.

  • Ginormous Canvas

    Could you not just release this as a possible rumour or speculation. We’re all dying to know!!

    • Aidan Wilson

      That would be a pretty bad move on Cartoon Brew’s part. Best not to spread rumors since were talking about people’s careers here

  • Julian velez

    Maybe it’s Hyao Miyazaki. He writes and directs almost all his movies. Also Miyazaki doesn’t really retire. Last time I heard, he’s making a 3D animated feature?

  • c

    Cartoon Brew! The TMZ of animation.

  • Slim Cognito

    Huh. Never knew that.

  • I think the idea is, CB apparently doesn’t have a way of confirming this or getting more info about it on their own, so they’re putting it to their user base in case somebody here has real information about it for a follow-up.

    But yes, it’s pretty ridiculous to be speculating about this when we have no information. It’s just that that’s clearly not the purpose of this to begin with.

  • Because this is an industry website and it’s entirely possible that a credible source who can confirm this news is reading it right now.

  • I haven’t been following HT3 all that much, but a cursory glance at the IMDB page shows that Tartakovsky isn’t the writer. Was that a recent change maybe? Or is he co-writing and it’s just not updated yet? I don’t know, but whoever it is has to be the writer

  • Chinoiserie

    I think it makes more likely it is him. If he has not written before it makes more sense he would fail now, it is not like he could not have been writing this one. But I do not know how exactly he would be that much worse than the previous writers.

  • Cars 2 should have been direct- to- video or released under the Disneytoon Studios banner as it nearly destroyed Pixar’s reputation.

  • Mack

    Assuming it’s someone at DreamWorks. Universal/Illumination’s style is so different that I can see them thinking something like How to Train Your Dragon 2 is too complicated or mature for family audiences.

  • jojo

    Given the anti-Lasseter inclination of Amid, I’d guess he’s talking about the Pixar founder…

  • animationfan

    Since CB just reported a reboot of Croods 2, maybe its a Croods 2 director??

  • dermot

    I like that Miyazakis own admission he never “wrote” any of his films ( nobody else did either )….but he was required to state his name as write for copyright reasons. Anyway…..seemed like an awkward suggestion for a topic…….to speculate on who might be fired as a director……kind of turns into who ought to be fired as a director.

  • otterhead

    I can’t see Pixar attempting an Incredibles movie without Brad Bird at the helm. He’s the reason it exists and why a sequel was even being considered.

    • Mesterius

      Deepmouth: “Brad just had a disastrous internal screening for Incedibles 2 where the lack of story was THE issue.” Do you have a source for this information?

      Also, I’m afraid I can very easily see Disney-owned Pixar attempting an Incredibles movie without Brad Bird. I wouldn’t be surpriced if they’ve kept nagging Brad about if for several years, then given him an ultimatum: either you do it, or we do it without you.

    • Mesterius

      And otterhead — Brad is not the reason why a sequel “was even being considered”. The reason is that the first Incredibles movie was a huge success. Look to every other Pixar sequel that’s come out over the past six years. Commercial success was clearly a key motivator for all of them… and for the people at Disney’s management, it no doubt is for The Incredibles 2 as well.

      • otterhead

        The one and only person who could bring Incredibles 2 to the screen is Brad Bird. End of story.

  • Mesterius

    You’re saying that as if the three animated films he has already done isn’t proof enough. ;) (That said, Tomorrowland – which was co-written with Damon Lindelof – had some serious script problems.)

    But cool to hear about Ray Gunn. :)

  • Chad

    Just read somewhere that Chris Sanders is no longer the writer for Croods 2. Maybe they consider that a series?