The Los Angeles Times has an article on Pixar pulling the director of their upcoming and halfway-completed movie The Good Dinosaur. That by itself isn’t too interesting, but the fact that one of the most profitable and critically acclaimed studios of recent times has done it on four of its last eight movies is.Here’s the reasoning according to Ed Catmull, the studio’s president:
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.
There’s some deep shades of rationalization in there, but the stance is defensible, especially since three of those four movies abovementioned went on to become hits (the exception was Cars 2).And it brings to mind those creators who spend forever tinkering with a beloved project to its detriment. For some reason I can only think up Axl Rose and Chinese Democracy, but that’s because my brain hates me today. There are some much better examples out there. I’m not saying this seems like the ideal way to handle massive projects, and big projects usually do have multiple stakeholders with enough weight to ensure a checks and balances system (and to ensure multiple perspectives…especially in movies, where the vision of the cinematographer and editor are often more important than the director).But I do like the “Somebody to love it, somebody to shove it” idea.