Brad Bird has established himself as one of the most reliable quality directors in Hollywood today. From animated films like The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, to live-action fare like Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, he’s proven to be a man of many talents. There aren’t many who have the experience of working in both mediums, and as such, he stands alone as a unique visionary. Given his stellar track record, it makes sense that he’d be in such high demand among the big studios, namely Disney. Yet when the time came around to direct Star Wars, Bird turned it down, and the job ultimately went to J.J. Abrams, another talented director in his own right.
So, why did Brad Bird decide to turn down Star Wars? There were a few reasons, and during his press tour promoting Tomorrowland, Bird goes into detail with a couple different outlets. In an interview with Yahoo! News, Bird explains how far they were already into production of Tomorrowland.
“It absolutely [turning down Star Wars] was [a tough decision]. But there was no way to do that film without junking [Tomorrowland], and we had already gotten George Clooney involved and I was excited about this film. I understand they had to get [The Force Awakens] made, and they would’ve had to push it in order for me to do it.”
Given that Tomorrowland was already so far into the process, ditching the project now would likely have hurt its future prospects. In an interview with IGN, Bird elaborates on that idea of momentum in the filmmaking process.
“I love Star Wars, but Star Wars is going to get made whether I do it or not. They wouldn’t delay Star Wars for me to do Tomorrowland. Momentum is fragile, and movies need momentum, and we had a lot of momentum on Tomorrowland, and I really loved what the movie was, and I thought that there’s a chance that Tomorrowland won’t get made simply because it loses its momentum…and I thought it deserved to be made, and Star Wars is a very robust thing right now, and it’s going to be fine.”
At the end of the day, a director may also look at the project and question what he himself brings to the project. While he’d be a key player in Star Wars, the film would go one without him, as Bird mentioned. Tomorrowland, on the other hand, is truly a film that may not have ever been birthed into the world without him.
Do you think Brad Bird made the right decision? Let us know in the comments below!