Saturday, May 23, 2015

2D Talk: Brad Bird Wants To Do Another Traditionally Animated Film

Of course, who wouldn't?

In a recent interview with Tom and Tony Bancroft for their Bancroft Brothers podcast, Bird said the following...

"A lot of the projects that I want to do beyond [Incredibles 2] are both live-action and animation, and I would love to do another hand-drawn thing.

As wonderful as CG is and can be, and I really enjoy it, and I enjoy being able to move the camera, and I enjoy the control over lighting, and really tiny movement that you have in computer generated stuff, there’s an itch that is not scratched that only hand-drawn can really scratch in me.

There’s a sense of wonder that’s very specific to me about hand-drawn animation where it kind of announces its artificiality at every moment, and yet, if you do it right, you can make people disappear into that world just as well as you can into CG. I miss that, and I would love to do somewhere down the line, to return to a hand-drawn film."

Wonderful to know!

The bigger question is this... Will he be able to do just that?

Bird has been a hot commodity since Ratatouille was an unexpected smash (outside of people who knew a new Pixar film would do well, some out there doubted that people would see a movie about a rat wanting to become a chef in Paris), even more so after his foray into live-action with the critically acclaimed box office smash Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.

Now we're at Tomorrowland. I'm not going to say what I think will happen, because despite a very weak opening day, something good could happen that could help the film. Even if it doesn't live up to expectations, Bird will still be wanted because his other hits... And also for what he's doing next: The Incredibles 2. That film shouldn't be out until 2018 at earliest, though I'm honestly thinking 2019 will be the year it comes out, so it'll be a while before we see another original Brad Bird project... Unless he somehow develops and directs films simultaneously, and is able to get a new film out every 2-3 years. If he can do it, I think he would, but we shall see...

(Oh, and go see Tomorrowland. Comes highly recommended!)

I assume 1906 is still on his mind, as he did mention it in a recent interview at the Tribeca Film Festival. He also said during that interview that he would love to make a Western, and also brought up Ray Gunn, an awesome-sounding 2D retro-futuristic sci-fi/noir detective story that he developed at Warner Animation in the mid-to-late 1990s. A feature that he wanted to aim to older kids and up, something that would probably get a PG-13 rating. I can't imagine him doing this at Pixar...

If anything, if he were to make a 2D film in the future, it would probably be Ray Gunn. It's the one I - and I assume many others - would love to see. It would probably be done by a smaller studio though.

But there's a wall in the way of 2D, and that's the ignorance of American animation executives, pesky conventional "wisdom", and no one being willing to explore the roots of hand-drawn's first and second demise in North America. We all know what happened and we all know it's not as simple as "audiences have given up on 2D", but they don't. Here's hoping Bird will be the one to take a proverbial wrecking ball and smash that proverbial wall...

Plus, adult-oriented animation still arguably struggles in the feature animation world here. 2016's Sausage Party could open up a new market for animation that isn't kid-friendly, or maybe it'll just make way for more raunchy R-rated features like it and not truly mature/smart animated features that don't carry anything lower than a PG-13 rating, but we shall see...

One can only hope, right?


  1. Brad Bird, you are a saint! God bless his soul.

  2. None of us asked for animation executives to look down on 2D animation in the first place! I do hope we can do something about this ourselves. Can we?

  3. I would love to see Brad Bird do another 2D animated feature film. His IRON GIANT was absolutely amazing.