Sunday, May 11, 2014

Director of Dinos

Has the new director of The Good Dinosaur been revealed?

For those who don't know, here's the short version: Pixar had a film about dinosaurs in the works called The Good Dinosaur for years. Bob Peterson, Pixar veteran and co-director of Up, was supposed to direct. In August 2013, it was announced that he was removed from the project and Denise Ream replaced producer John Walker. The project was then pushed back from its May 30, 2014 release date to November 25, 2015.

Now I was sure that the film was going to move again, because up until now, no new director was even named. Usually Pixar names the new director after they remove the other one, the day it happens too. All we heard was that John Lasseter, co-director Pete Sohn, Lee Unkrich and Mark Andrews were "shepherding" sections of the film... That was back in August when the removal was announced. I was thinking that it wouldn't be ready, but Pixar still hasn't moved the film which made me wonder...

Last night, however, former Pixar TD Stephan Bugaj tweeted this to Pete Sohn...

So basically... Pete Sohn is the director of The Good Dinosaur?

If that's so, did they wait a while to decide who would take over the project after Peterson was removed from it? Or if Sohn was the "finishing director" all along, did they not feel the need to announce it? Why the "Sohn, Lasseter, Andrews and Unkrich are shepherding sections of the film" comment instead of "Sohn is the new director"? This is all so weird...

Also, he mentions it'll be out next year... I guess it's still on track for fall 2015 despite the fact that it was being completely restarted and retooled (going by Ed Catmull's recent words). But if Sohn was always the finishing director since the day Peterson was booted off, then I think it'll be more than ready for a late 2015 release.

This is basically a Kingdom of the Sun situation, as I've mentioned before. At Walt Disney Feature Animation in 1994, Roger Allers, director of The Lion King, was ready to tackle his next big project: An Incan musical love story epic called Kingdom of the Sun. The project ran into issues by 1998, and another director was added to the film, a certain someone named Mark Dindal, who had directed the well-liked but financially unsuccessful Cats Don't Dance. But then things got even more complicated, Allers was booted off and by early 1999, Dindal completely retooled the film into an irreverent buddy comedy which was set to come out nearly two years from that point. The result was The Emperor's New Groove, a critical success and a cult hit, as it gains more and more fans since it wasn't very successful upon its release.

It all adds up. Peterson removed, his co-director taking over, Catmull talking about a complete "restart" of the film... We have Pixar's Emperor's New Groove here. Assuming all of this is true, we will get The Good Dinosaur, directed by Pete Sohn, on November 25, 2015.

The plot thickens...

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