Odd as it may sound, Pixar animation titan Brad Bird (Ratatouille, The Incredibles) is in talks to direct the fourth installment of Mission Impossible. THR says star/producer Tom Cruise and fellow producer J.J. Abrams of Star Trek and Lost fame have met with Bird, among others, in their frantic search for a new helmer. I say “frantic” because Paramount is keen on starting production as soon as this summer. Find out who else made the short list after the jump.
Ever since Cruise announced that Mission Impossible IV, penned by Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum (writers on ABC’s short-lived Life on Mars), will be his next starring film, the pressure’s been on to find a fitting director. Along with Bird, THR sites Cruise and Abrams as having spoken also to Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, upcoming Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), and I’ll be honest, among the three, I’d really like to see Fleischer take it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Brad Bird. The Iron Giant is arguably one of the best family films of the 90s. However, from what we’ve seen, he’s incapable of doing a movie that doesn’t punch you in the gut with “awww” factor, and I mean that in the best of ways. His films are stunning and inspired, but they’re not Mission Impossible fare. I’m not going to a Cruise action flick to get my insides tickled.
As for Wright, though I’m sure he’d do an excellent job, I think his vision and sheer power as a filmmaker are put to better use on less derivative work. Really I feel Fleischer, who is another highly talented director (did I mention this short list is super impressive?), would handle it the best. If Zombieland proves nothing, it at least shows he can balance top-notch storytelling and edge-of-your-seat action with the best of ’em. That is, assuming Fleischer isn’t too busy with 30 Minutes or Less.
Who knows, Brad Bird could prove me completely wrong. I’m just a firm believer in the saying “Why fix what’s not broken?” Bird is an absolute god in the arena of animation, and I’d hate to lose him to the allure of live action.
Paramount plans to release Mission Impossible IV on May 27, 2011.