Brenda Chapman, the original director of Pixar’sBrave, has officially left Pixar and has been revealed to be working as a consultant for LucasFilm Animation on a mystery project.
Chapman originally developed the story for Brave, which was a very personal project based on Brenda’s relationship with her daughter. When Pixar pulled the directing rug from under her last summer, she was wasn’t fired but continued on as an employee. In the year that followed, she was very diplomatic and positive when speaking about the film (although I sense she was clearly biting her tongue). But now that Brave has been released, it seems he co-directorial obligations with the studio are up and that Chapman has clearly said “goodbye” and moved onto greener pastures.
Brenda has a long and prestigious history in animation and has hopped around for various studios over the years. She obtained a BA in Character Animation from CalArts and got her first job Disney during its Renaissance, working in the story department on various films such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, and The Lion King. She then moved over to DreamWorks Animation and became the first female director of an feature-length animated film in 1998 when she directed The Prince of Egypt. She then moved to Pixar in 2003, where she had been instrumental until she was let go last year.
Personally, I’ve found Brenda and her career inspiring. I’ve appreciated her ability to adapt to the changing world of animation and take advantage of different opportunities, no matter what studio they are at. Not saying that she’s not loyal, but as a woman in animation, she has been instrumental in promulgating the art form in new and exciting ways.
What are your thoughts about Brenda leaving Pixar? What do you think Brenda’s new project will be?
I’ve started consulting for Lucasfilm Animation. I am not directing. This was a wonderful opportunity to work with someone whom I’ve admired from a distance in the film industry for years: Kathleen Kennedy. I was completely surprised and honored when she asked me to work with her on this particular project – which I am not at liberty to discuss. (Sorry, I know you wanna know, but I just can’t tell ya.) I feel very privileged to have this opportunity, even for a short time.