Friday, August 30, 2013

Replacement Time

It seems there is a changing of one of the Diz Co. creators.

Pixar Animation yanks director Bob Peterson off 'The Good Dinosaur' ...

Pixar Animation has removed the director of its 2014 film, "The Good Dinosaur," and not named a replacement, marking the fourth time in eight movies that the Emeryville studio has made a director change midstream.

With the film's release date fast approaching and various creative choices unmade, Pixar executives decided to replace director Bob Peterson this summer, according to the studio's president, Ed Catmull.

"All directors get really deep in their films," Catmull said this week. "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." ...

Ed Catmull has also made this argument:

... Creative power in a film resides with the film's creative leadership. As obvious as this might seem, it's not true of many companies in the movie industry and, I suspect, a lot of others. We believe the creative vision propelling each movie comes from one or two people and not from either corporate executives or a development department. ...

Except when it doesn't.

To be fair, top studio execs have long had final say over the features under their purview. In recent times, some live-action directors tended to be untouchable, but even that has changed a bit, as fewer have "final cut" and other creative perks they often came to expect.

In the olden days, however, the front office wasn't shy about sharing its own creative vision with directors:

To: Curtiz

From: Wallis

Subject: Captain Blood

I have talked to you about four thousand times, until I am blue in the face, about the wardrobe in this picture. I also sat up here with you one night, and with everybody else connected with the company, and we discussed each costume in detail, and also discussed the fact that when the men get to be pirates that we would not have "Blood" dressed up.

Yet tonight, in the dailies, in the division of the spoils sequence, here is Captain Blood with a nice velvet coat, with lace cuffs out of the bottom, with a nice lace stock collar, and just dressed exactly opposite to what I asked you to do.

I distinctly remember telling you, I don't know how many times, that I did not want you to use lace collars or cuffs on Errol Flynn. What in the hell is the matter with you, and why do you insist on crossing me on everything that I asked you not to do? What do I have to do to get you to do things my way? I want the man to look like a pirate, not a molly-coddle. You have him standing up here dealing with a lot of hard-boiled characters, and you've got him dressed up like a God damned faggot...

I suppose that when he goes into the battle with the pirates (the French) at the finish, you'll probably be having him wear a high silk hat and spats.

When the man divided the spoils you should have had him in a shirt with the collar open at the throat, and no coat on at all. Let him look a little swashbuckling, for Christ sakes! Don't always have him dressed up like a pansy! I don't know how many times we've talked this over...

I hope that by the time we get into the last week of shooting the picture, that everybody will be organized and get things right. It certainly is about time.

Some things change, others things stay the same, but everything comes 'round again eventually.

My take on all this is: when an employee has a creative difference with The Boss, The Boss prevails. It's never been much different, learned articles to the contrary.


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