Monday, July 4, 2016

Another Go: Andrew Stanton To Return To Live-Action For Next Project

Well, it looks like Andrew Stanton may dive back into the live-action pool...

In an interview with CinemaBlend, the Pixar director himself said...

"I’m not getting any younger, so I’m probably going to flop to live-action for a little bit. Because it’s quicker and it’s a little bit more of the opposite… It’s the antithesis of animation. Animation you get to control everything, and it’s awesome in that sense. But there’s no spontaneity, and it takes a long time! And so there’s high risk for the complete opposite reasons of live-action, but I need a little bit of short term spontaneity — to play with that."

As a lot of us all know, Stanton's transition into live-action was a little rough. John Carter of Mars was a bit of a troubled production, and if it's true that a lot of the problems came from Stanton's lack of experience, then he needed a voice to keep him in line. Who did he really have? Rich Ross, the worst of the Walt Disney Pictures chairmen. (He barely lasted two years at the Mouse, and for a good reason.) The budget spiraled out of control, to $250 million. All for a property that isn't all that well-known, one that iconic and very successful properties have borrowed from.

Things were made worse when Disney forced him to change the title to the terrible, bland "John Carter" (I refuse to call it that, the movie was clearly meant to be called John Carter of Mars, no matter what Stanton may have said in interviews afterwards.), and then they dumped it. The marketing for the movie was abysmal. So bad that a fan-made trailer made the rounds and was ten times better than any scrap of marketing they made for the film. The hyper-expensive film did poorly in the states, and despite some good overseas gross, it wasn't enough to get the film into the black. The planned sequels were out the window, Stanton found himself revisiting the fish world that launched him. The press made Stanton out to be a hack, when the movie itself was actually not all that bad.

(Actually, my favorite story comes from hearsay. Supposedly John Lasseter was furious about how Disney marketing handled John Carter of Mars and how the blame was laid on Stanton, and had wanted to break Pixar off from Disney...)

John Carter of Mars may have had some serious editing and pacing issues, but it had a fun pulp sensibility to it, some beautiful cinematography, and some very well-staged action. With a little script polish and much tighter editing, you would've had something really solid there. There are some very striking moments here and there, the CG work is top-notch, and I quite liked Carter, Dejah Thoris, and Tars Tarkas. Oh, I also loved the framing device with Carter's nephew.

Now that Finding Dory is done, I was hoping he'd do a new original for Pixar, because the last time he did that... Was in 2008. Now that the John Carter of Mars episode is over and done with, perhaps he'll know what to do next time and have better people overseeing his project. What will he do? How big will the picture in question be? Will it be for Disney live-action? Or another studio?

Apparently he wants to get started really soon, so I can only imagine. What say you?

1 comment:

  1. Well, the part about John Lasseter being as pissed at Ross for blowing John Carter and maybe more pissed than he was at Katzenberg for the whole Antz/Bug's Life deal isn't exactly far off; allegedly, Lasseter threatened to leave the company if Ross wasn't fired (Disney fired Ross for this). Some people have also alleged there was an Iger-Lasseter feud over John Carter that made Lasseter want to bolt from Disney; obviously, that calmed down.