Damon Lindelof Reveals How He Enlisted Brad Bird to Direct 1952; Says Bird Is Co-Writing the Script and They Hope to Begin Production Mid-2013

     December 21, 2012

brad-bird-damon-lindelof-slice

While there are always many projects in development in the studio system, 1952 is near the top of my list.  That’s because not only is Damon Lindelof writing the film, it’s going to be directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, The Iron Giant, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), who only makes awesome movies.  While plot details are under wraps, everything points towards a large scale mystery film that may star George Clooney.  The last thing we heard about the plot was, “the picture is said to center on the journey of a middle-aged man and his contact with alien life,” but this one liner could easily be wrong.

At a recent Bad Robot press event for the Star Trek sequel (more on that soon), I got to speak to Lindelof about 1952 and asked how it’s going.  He revealed that he hopes to be in production in mid-2013, that Bird is now co-writing the film, and how he got Bird to direct the project.  He also says the film is not yet greenlit but when they figure out some casting elements and the budget, “we’ll be able to announce what this movie is.”  Hit the jump for more.

damon-lindelof-1952As you can read below, the main reason 1952 came together is Bad Robot.  Lindelof explains:

“The writing of Trek was happening around the same time as the post production on Ghost Protocol so we were both in that a Bad Robot space at lot at that time and kind of became buds.  I told him about this thing that I was working on over here at Disney.  We were eating sushi, just one of those like, “So, what are you working on?” “Brad what are you doing after you wrap up on Ghost Protocol?” “Damon what are you doing after Trek?” And so I started talking about this thing and I could just see his eyes light up a little bit and I’m now totally willing to blow up this budding friendship because if I don’t my take a shot at him not I’ll be kicking myself forever.  Which is to say, “Hey, if you would ever want to be involved in this thing in any way, shape or form, just call yourself an executive producer and I’ll give you a parking spot and you don’t even need to do anything on it.  That would be a dream come true.”

Brad-Bird-1952Lindelof went on to reveal that Bird has been co-writing 1952 for the last four months and that it’s been an incredible experience:

“Then we just started exchanging emails and talking about it and then this guy Jeff Jensen, who’s a friend of mine, he and I really worked on the – when you finally hear about what this thing is I’ll be able to be much more explicit about what it is.  Anytime something interesting happened in the development process I would just let Bird know, “Hey we had this cool idea today.” In the spirit of letting him know that I wasn’t letting him off the hook.  And then the next thing I knew I was asking him if he would direct it and he said yes.  He and have now been co-writing the movie for the last four months and that’s been an incredible experience because anytime you write with a partner that you haven’t written with before they call bullshit on all your tricks that you have come to rely on and feel comfortable with, and then you learn from them in terms of how to think and how to evolve.”

Damon-LindelofAnother thing I was curious about was how much creative freedom Disney was giving them, or were they trying to make a specific movie.  Lindelof says:

“We’ve been given a tremendous amount of creative licensee by Disney, which is kind of surprising just because they’re Disney and they have a specific, corporate brand to maintain.  But it’s been really wonderful working with them.  Obviously Brad had Disney in his veins, even though he was fired back in his days as an animator, it’s good to be back in the old animation building knocking a story around.”

The next thing I wanted to know was the start date.  Lindelof says they hope to be in production in mid-2013 and they still have to do some casting and lock down the budget.  But once they do, they will announce what the movie is.  Here’s what he said:

“We have to lock down some key casting elements and we have to make sure that the movie isn’t going to cost them (Disney) an arm and a leg.  I have confidence that we’ll be able to accomplish both those things and hopefully when we do we’ll be able to announce what this movie is.”

Here’s everything Linedlof said about 1952.  Look for more of my interview with Lindelof very soon.  If you missed him telling me that he won’t be writing the Prometheus sequel, click here.

prometheus damon lindelofCollider: I know you can’t say much, but I have to ask.  I am a ridiculous fan of Brad Bird, we all are.  How is it progressing with 1952?

Lindelof:  It’s been a dream come true for me.  I first met Brad at the Speed Racer premiere because Michael Giacchino did the music for Speed Racer and he had also done the music for The Incredibles and Ratatouille, so Brad was there as Michel’s guest.  I met him and got to geek out on everything going all the way back to Family Dog and he was also watching Lost at the time.  The greatest thing about my life is that on occasion I will run into people that I am a massive fan of and they are familiar with some of the stuff that I’ve done, not necessarily even being a fan of it, but just knowing what it is.  In this case Brad liked Lost, so I was sailing very, very high on that for quite some time.  And then we would run into each other just at random things over the years.  Then the writing of Trek was happening around the same time as the post production on Ghost Protocol so we were both in that a Bad Robot space at lot at that time and kind of became buds.  I told him about this thing that I was working on over here at Disney.  We were eating sushi, just one of those like, “So, what are you working on?” “Brad what are you doing after you wrap up on Ghost Protocol?” “Damon what are you doing after Trek?” And so I started talking about this thing and I could just see his eyes light up a little bit and I’m now totally willing to blow up this budding friendship because if I don’t my take a shot at him not I’ll be kicking myself forever.  Which is to say, “Hey, if you would ever want to be involved in this thing in any way, shape or form, just call yourself an executive producer and I’ll give you a parking spot and you don’t even need to do anything on it.  That would be a dream come true.”

brad-bird-imageThen we just started exchanging emails and talking about it and then this guy Jeff Jensen, who’s a friend of mine, he and I really worked on the – when you finally hear about what this thing is I’ll be able to be much more explicit about what it is.  Anytime something interesting happened in the development process I would just let Bird know, “Hey we had this cool idea today.” In the spirit of letting him know that I wasn’t letting him off the hook.  And then the next thing I knew I was asking him if he would direct it and he said yes.  He and have now been co-writing the movie for the last four months and that’s been an incredible experience because anytime you write with a partner that you haven’t written with before they call bullshit on all your tricks that you have come to rely on and feel comfortable with, and then you learn from them in terms of how to think and how to evolve.  That guy’s never made a bad movie.  He’s made excellent movies in fact.  So it’s been amazing and I think that the movie is going to be cool.  We’ve been given a tremendous amount of creative licensee by Disney, which is kind of surprising just because they’re Disney and they have a specific, corporate brand to maintain.  But it’s been really wonderful working with them.  Obviously Brad had Disney in his veins, even though he was fired back in his days as an animator, it’s good to be back in the old animation building knocking a story around. 

Do you guys have a planned start date for the film?  Or a hopeful start date?

damon_lindelofLindelof:  I think that we hope to be in production mid-2013.

Okay.  So this is definitely the next thing?  This is definitely going?

Lindelof:  It’s not greenlit.

That’s my other thing.  But the studio seems amped up?

Lindelof:  I mean….yes.  All the messaging that we’re getting right now is overwhelmingly positive, but you never know.

Totally, but I would imagine having you and having Brad wanting to do it, that’s a big thing.

Lindelof:  We have to lock down some key casting elements and we have to make sure that the movie isn’t going to cost them an arm and a leg.  I have confidence that we’ll be able to accomplish both those things and hopefully when we do we’ll be able to announce what this movie is. 

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