Given that the typical animated film is a three-year commitment at the very least, it’s unsurprising that some directors don’t make it to the end of production with their name still on the credits. Beauty And The Beast, co-helmed Gary Trousdale, for instance, was originally on the credits as co-director of DreamWorks’ upcoming Megamind, and yet, his name is now nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, Pixar replaced Jan Pinkava as director of Ratatouille less than two years before its release (with Brad Bird subsequently taking the reigns).
Thus, it’s not uncommon – although it’s hardly the norm – for a director to leave an animated project once it’s been set into motion.
And that seems to be what’s happened with one of Pixar’s 2012 releases, Brave. The movie had been set to be directed by Brenda Chapman, the first woman to take the director’s chair on a Pixar project. Chapman also co-directed the hugely underappreciated maiden DreamWorks Animation feature The Prince Of Egypt, incidentally.
However, she won’t be completing work on Brave. According to Cartoon Brew (neat name!), Chapman “was pushed aside from directing duties a while back”, and she’s reported to have now left the project and the company. Instead, Mark Andrews, who helmed the Pixar short One Man Band, is steering the ship.
This follows problems that Pixar has been experiencing on its upcoming Cars sequel, where John Lasseter has joined the film as its co-director. Although, as most animators will tell you, there’s not an animated feature that doesn’t have dark days in the midst of the production…