Trouble could possibly be brewing for yet another Pixar project. The studio famously goes through a rigorous development process on each of its films, and in the past some behind-the-scenes changes have worked out for the better: John Lasseter replaced Toy Story 2’s original director and reworked the entire film with just nine months to go before release, and Brad Bird replaced director Jan Pinkava on Ratatouille and made significant changes to that film. However, recently Pixar has had some production troubles on films that failed to live up to the studio’s previous Gold Standard.
Now it appears that next year’s Pixar film, The Good Dinosaur, may have lost its director just nine months before its release. Hit the jump for more.
Lasseter once again stepped in on Pixar’s 2011 film Cars 2, replacing previous director Brad Lewis and taking the pic’s story in a different direction. Unlike Toy Story 2, however, the result was Pixar’s worst reviewed film thus far. The studio went through yet another difficult production with the 2012 release Brave, as director Brenda Chapman—who developed the film from inception and came up with the story herself—was removed from the film and replaced by Mark Andrews during production. Brave was a commercial success, but it wasn’t the creative rebound that many were looking for after the disappointing Cars 2.
Now Pixar might be going three-for-four with regards to replacing directors, as Blue Sky Disney (via /Film) reports that director Bob Peterson and producer John Walker have been removed from 2014’s The Good Dinosaur by John Lasseter. The report claims that Lasseter is still trying to meet the film’s May 30, 2014 release date and is hopeful that a new director can get the project back on track. Peter Sohn is listed as a co-director on the film and appeared at D23, so one imagines he could be a potential replacement director. That said, the report doesn’t have any specifics with regards to who might be stepping in.
This is an as-yet unconfirmed rumor so we don’t know for sure if Peterson and Walker have been removed, but both were absent from Disney’s big D23 presentation for the film so that’s a bit of a red flag. Personally I’m hoping that this report is unfounded; Peterson has been with Pixar since it’s inception and has had a strong hand in many of the studio’s best films. The Good Dinosaur was poised to be Peterson’s chance to shine solo after co-directing Up, and I sincerely hope that remains the plan.
For those unaware, The Good Dinosaur takes place in a contemporary society in which the dinosaurs never went extinct. The voice cast is led by Lucas Neff, Neil Patrick Harris, Bill Hader, Judy Greer, John Lithgow, and Frances McDormand. If you missed any of our D23 coverage of the film, check out Dave’s panel recap and Steve’s interviews with Neff, Greer, co-director Peter Sohn, and producer Denise Ream.