Blue Sky Disney is reporting that The Good Dinosaur‘s director Bob Peterson is no longer at the helm of the film. This wouldn’t be Pixar’s first time replacing a director. There was the infamous replacement of Brenda Chapman, who would’ve been the first woman to direct a Pixar feature, back in 2011 for Brave. And then, more successfully perhaps, when Brad Bird took over Jan Pinkava and changed the focus and story of Ratatouille, eventually earning his second Academy Award.
Bob Peterson didn’t attend the D23 and was barely mentioned in the panels where The Good Dinosaur was featured. The main panel, where the cast was introduced, was presented by the film’s co-director Peter Sohn. Reports say the backstage drama wouldn’t affect the film’s release date. We’ll keep you updated.
[UPDATE 8:27 PST AM] The LA Times is also reporting the story with a new statement from Pixar’s president Ed Catmull about the situation:
“All directors get really deep in their films. 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.”
So…it’s official. Bob Peterson is gone. Apparently, he’s still employed at the studio, but declined to comment on the situation. According to Jim Morris, general manager and executive VP of production for Pixar, Peterson apparently has another project in development that he’s directing. Morris said, “Bob is still working at the studio, and we hope he will stay here for the rest of his natural life.” So it seems that Peterson is have a good working relationship with the studio of which he’s been a longtime contributor. While it’s good that he’s still working at Pixar, it’s still saddening news, especially for those Pixar fans who were excited to see the Up director work his magic again on this particular prehistoric project.
So where does that leave The Good Dinosaur? Until a new director is selected, a Pixar brain trust will take over the film in the interim. This group includes John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Mark Andrews and the film’s original co-director Peter Sohn.
The Good Dinosaur‘s release date is still set for May 30, 2014. Catmull brushed the situation off, making it seem like this bumpy production road is the norm. He said, “We’ve been around long enough to know it will never be smooth. But getting this process smooth is not our goal; our goal is to make the movie great.”
So, the situation with The Good Dinosaur doesn’t seem as bleak as we initially thought. The release date is still in tact, the movie is still moving forward, and Peterson is still employed at the studio. Hopefully, all its woes are behind it and The Good Dinosaur can finish off production on a high note, leaving us with yet another Pixar classic.