UPDATED: August 31, 2013 – Bob Peterson opens up and gives a little more insight on his feelings regarding The Good Dinosaur via Twitter. From the tweet, we are thrilled to hear he is in good spirits and forging ahead to work on future projects as well as he has eased our minds about his future with Pixar. We wish nothing but the best for him!
Earlier this week, we noted that rumors had been swirling regarding Bob Peterson no longer being part of the production team on Pixar’s upcoming, The Good Dinosaur. Today, we can report that the rumor has been confirmed as Ed Catmull, Pixar’s President and co-founder, spoke to in a recent conversation with the LA Times (via /Film). Details were discussed regarding the intermittent Directors (yes, plural), Producer change, the timing of the film’s release, and Peterson’s employment status with Pixar.
“All directors get really deep in their films,” Catmull said this week. “Sometimes you just need a different perspective to get the idea out. Sometimes directors … are so deeply embedded in their ideas it actually takes someone else to finish it up. I would go so far as to argue that a lot of live-action films would be better off with that same process.”
The next logical question that comes up is who will be taking over for Peterson? Will the movie fall to Peter Sohn since he has been the co-Director since the beginning of the film? Luckily, Catmull addressed that fact as well in the article,
Until a new director is named, Pixar is relying on a team of people to shepherd various sections of the movie, due in theaters in nine months. That group includes Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, “Toy Story 3” director Lee Unkrich, “Brave” director Mark Andrews and the film’s original co-director Peter Sohn (at Pixar, a co-director plays a deputy role to the director).
As we also discussed earlier this week, Denise Ream is now the official Producer for The Good Dinosaur (as noted from her D23 Expo appearance). John Walker, the film’s previous Producer has left and is now concentrating on Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland film.
What we were most concerned about when hearing this rumor was the potential of Bob Peterson’s exit from Pixar, as he is a studio legend and jack-of-all-trades. Jim Morris (General Manager and Vice President of Production) did put our minds at rest by mentioning that Peterson is still employed at Pixar and is actually already directing another project in development.
Finally, Ed Catmull also mentioned that the timeline for the films release is still on track at this point with no major story changes at hand.
As of now, the release date for “The Good Dinosaur” is unchanged and the movie is proceeding on its production schedule, according to Catmull. “We’ve been around long enough to know it will never be smooth,” Catmull said. “But getting this process smooth is not our goal; our goal is to make the movie great.”
From our personal perspective, one item that has rung through loud and clear is that this news seems to be affecting fans more than any other directing change we’ve seen in the past. This is most likely because Peterson is so well-loved within the Pixar fan community – as evidenced by the feedback that has been pouring in after the rumor was announced. Business decisions are never easy, especially when it involves someone that is so loved in Pixar’s long and storied history. Let’s remember that we’re only looking in from the outside and we’re sure this decision wasn’t easy for Pixar’s management team either.
What are your thoughts – can Pixar meet the existing release date? Leave a comment below or continue the conversation in the Pixar Post Forum and chat about the change overall, or who you would like to see take the lead directing role.