bubbles_danharmon bubbles_danharmon
Feature FilmStop Motion

Mark Gustafson and Taika Waititi To Direct ‘Bubbles,’ Based on Michael Jackson’s Chimp

Anomalisa maker Starburns Industries is moving forward with its stop motion feature Bubbles, an unauthorized Michael Jackson biopic told from the point of view of his famous chimp companion, Bubbles.

Stop motion veteran Mark Gustafson will direct the film with Taika Waititi (director of the 2005 Oscar-nominated live-action short Two Cars, One Night and currently directing Thor: Ragnarok). Gustafson was the animation director of Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, and prior to that worked for many years at Will Vinton Studios, where among other things he was supervising director of The PJs tv series. Gustafson is currently co-directing Pinocchio with Guillermo del Toro. Starburns’ pairing of Gustafson and Waititi is similar to its approach on Anomalisa, in which animation director Duke Johnson collaborated with live-action director Charlie Kaufman.

Bubbles is based on a spec script by Isaac Adamson. Community creator Dan Harmon, who is a partner in Starburns, will produce the film with Andrew and Walter Kortschak of End Cue. Adamson will exec produce with Lee Stobby.

“This film is not about Michael Jackson because that’s not a story for me to tell — or a story I’d be comfortable telling — it’s about a chimpanzee’s fascinating journey through the complex jungle of human life,” Waititi told Deadline. “I think animation is the only way to approach a story like this. I really loved Anomalisa because it was beautiful and authentic in its meditation on loneliness. I’m really excited to be working with Dan Harmon and Starburns as we share similar sensibilities and want to tell human stories in unique and artistic ways.”

The film has no distribution at this time. It is being shopped around this week at the European Film Market in Berlin; CAA is handling U.S. rights while Rocket Science is taking care of international sales.

  • ea

    Starburns is becoming the grown-up version of Laika.

  • Capital_7

    Timely.

  • Trent

    The script is incredible. Stop-motion is my favorite. The director is amazing. Anomalisa and Fantastic Mr Fox are two of my favorite films of the last 10 years.. I feel like this movie is being made specifically for me..

  • HalSolo

    Taika Waititi has made three great films in a row: BOY, WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS and HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE. If you haven’t seen between one and all three of these, do yourselves a favor. They’re a damn delight.

  • Seth

    Is Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio still in the making?? I thought that was canceled some time ago!

  • Cody