Go back and watch The Pixar Story, and it’ll be obvious that Pixar is no stranger to overhauling finished stories in order to make them stronger. This what they did in Toy Story 2 and Ratatouille, and it looks like this is exactly what is happening with Pixar’s latest project, The Good Dinosaur.
Following a trio of less-than-optimal responses from Cars 2, Brave, and Monsters University, many may have been quick to label The Good Dinosaur a failure when it was delayed from a May 2014 release to a November 2015 release. It likely did not help Pixar’s appearances when they removed Bob Peterson as director of the project nine months ago (via BlueSkyDisney). And it may have looked even worse that in the nine months since Peterson was removed, there has been no word on who would be picking up the reins as director.
Yesterday, Disney Pixar’s Twitter account broke the silence and confirmed Peter Sohn as the new solo director of Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur.
— Disney•Pixar (@DisneyPixar) October 20, 2014
But despite this change in leadership on the film, is it simply too late for the movie to make the rebound it needs to be successful? In an interview with Collider a couple months back, actor John Lithgow, who stars in the upcoming Pixar film, gave some extra insight on where the film stands and assured them it was still in great shape.
“I recorded the entire role in Good Dinosaur. They have now dismantled it and completely reimagined it, and it is a fantastic new story. So I’m gonna record again on it within the next month. Don’t worry. It’s coming and it’s gonna be better than I ever imagined.”
As mentioned before, Pixar is not an old hand at this process. But while some of their finest work has come from a complete overhaul of the story, some may argue that it always hasn’t resulted in the most stellar of projects (many don’t consider Brave to be the most exemplary piece in Pixar’s catalogue). In an interview with Go Into The Story back in 2012, however, Mary Coleman, a senior development executive, emphasized the importance of this process of filmmaking.
“There’s no short cut for getting it right. We’re willing to keep going back to the drawing board, put it up, look at it, throw it all away and start over. We’re willing to do that over and over and over again. It’s not always fun—despite the images of us all riding around on scooters. On every project, there’s a point where we think we’ll never crack it. We really despair. We think the story sucks. And that’s when everybody does the hand-holding and commits to making it better. It’s never been easy. I’ve been here twelve years and there’s never been an easy one.”
With all this in mind, it makes sense to be optimistic about The Good Dinosaur while still remaining cautious about its storied past.