Brad Bird

Phillip Bradley Bird (born September 24, 1957) is an American director, screenwriter, animator, producer, and voice actor.

Bird developed a love for the art of animation at an early age and was mentored by Milt Kahl, one of Disney's legendary Nine Old Men. He was part of one of the earliest graduating classes of the California Institute of the Arts alongside John Lasseter and Tim Burton. Afterwards, Bird worked as an animator for Disney in The Fox and the Hound (1981) and The Black Cauldron (1985) and wrote the screenplay for Batteries Not Included (1987). Bird served as a creative consultant on The Simpsons during its first eight seasons, where he helped develop the show's animation style. Afterwards, Bird left to direct his first animated feature, The Iron Giant (1999), which fared poorly at the box office but came to be regarded as a modern animated classic. He rejoined Lasseter at Pixar in 2000, where he developed his second picture, The Incredibles (2004), and his third picture, Ratatouille (2007). Both films place among Pixar's highest-grossing features and gave Bird two Academy Award for Best Animated Feature wins and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay nominations.

In 2011, Bird directed his first live-action film Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which became the highest-grossing and best reviewed film of its franchise. His second live-action film, Tomorrowland, starring George Clooney, was released in May 2015. In 2018, Incredibles 2 was released, which Bird wrote and directed. Like its predecessor, the film was a critical and box office success.

Brad Bird
Brad bird cropped 2009
Bird at the Venice Film Festival, September 2009
Born Phillip Bradley Bird
September 24, 1957 (age 60)
Kalispell, Montana, U.S.
Alma mater California Institute of the Arts (BFA)
Occupation
  • Director
  • screenwriter
  • animator
  • producer
  • voice actor
Years active 1979–present
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Canney (m. 1988)[1]
Children 3

Early life

Bird was born in Kalispell, Montana, the youngest of four children[2] of Marjorie A. (née Cross) and Philip Cullen Bird. His father worked in the propane business, and his grandfather, Francis Wesley "Frank" Bird, who was born in County Sligo, Ireland, was a president and chief executive of the Montana Power Company.[3][4][5] On a tour of the Walt Disney Studios at age 11, there he met Frank Thomas & Ollie Johnston and he announced that someday he would become part of its animation team, and soon afterward began work on his own 15-minute animated short. Within two years, Bird had completed his animation, which impressed the cartoon company. By age 14, barely in high school, Bird was mentored by the animator Milt Kahl, one of Disney's legendary Nine Old Men. Bird recalls Kahl's criticisms as ideal: Kahl would point out shortcomings by gently delivering thoughts on where Bird could improve. After graduating from Corvallis High School in Corvallis, Oregon in 1975, Bird took a three-year break. He was then awarded a scholarship by Disney to attend California Institute of the Arts, where he met and befriended another future animator, Pixar co-founder and director John Lasseter.[2]

Career

Upon graduating from the California Institute of the Arts, Bird began working for Disney, where he would only work for a few years before being fired from the company.[6]

He next worked on animated television series, with much shorter lead times. He was the creator (writer, director, and co-producer) of the Family Dog episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories. In addition, Bird co-wrote the screenplay for the live-action film Batteries Not Included. In 1989, Bird joined Klasky Csupo, where he helped to develop The Simpsons from one-minute shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show into a series of half-hour programs. In 1990, he directed the episode "Krusty Gets Busted" (which marked the first speaking role of Sideshow Bob) and co-directed the Season Three episode "Like Father, Like Clown." He served as an executive consultant for the show for its first eight seasons. Also while at Klasky Csupo, he was one of the animators of the Rugrats pilot "Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing." He worked on several other animated television series, including The Critic and King of the Hill, before pitching Warner Brothers to write and direct the animated film The Iron Giant. Despite receiving near-universal acclaim from critics, it failed at the box office due to lack of marketing and promotion from Warner Bros. He was then hired by Steve Jobs who wanted him to work for Pixar.[7] Bird pitched the idea for The Incredibles to Pixar. In the finished picture, Bird also provides the voice of costume designer Edna Mode.[2] As an inside joke, the character Syndrome was based on Bird's likeness (as was Mr. Incredible) and according to him, he did not realize the joke until the movie was too far into production to have it changed.[8] The film, written and directed by Bird, was released in 2004 to major critical and financial success. As a result, Bird won his first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and his screenplay was nominated for Best Original Screenplay.[9]

Bradbird
Brad Bird with his second Academy Award for Best Animated Feature

In the middle of 2005, Bird was asked by the Pixar management team to write and direct Ratatouille, which Jan Pinkava had been in charge of at the time. This change was announced in March 2006 during a Disney shareholders meeting. The film was released in 2007, and was another critical and box office success for Bird. Ratatouille won the Best Animated Feature award at the 2008 Golden Globes; it was also nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature and Best Original Screenplay. On February 24, 2008, Ratatouille won Bird his second Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.[9]

Bird has spoken passionately about animation as an art form. When Bird and producer John Walker recorded the Director's Commentary for The Incredibles' DVD, he jokingly offered to punch the next person that he heard call animation a genre instead of an art form. Bird believes animation can be used to tell any kind of story – drama or comedy, for an adult audience or children.

Before he was sidetracked by Ratatouille, Bird began work on a film adaptation of James Dalessandro's novel 1906, which would be his first live-action project.[10] In March 2008, Bird resumed work on the film, which is a co-production between Pixar and Warner Bros. The novel, narrated by reporter Annalisa Passarelli, examines police officers battling corruption in the government that causes the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to turn into such a disaster. The script was co-written by John Logan.[11] Blogger Jim Hill suggested the film has been on hold due to Disney / Pixar and Warner Bros.' nervousness over the projected $200 million budget.[12] In May 2010, with 1906 apparently still stalled, Bird signed on as the director of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, produced by Tom Cruise and J. J. Abrams.[13] The collaboration was suggested by Tom Cruise following the release of The Incredibles, and was created with the help of J.J. Abrams, who sent Bird a late night text message saying "Mission?".[14] The film was an international hit, grossing almost $700 million.

Bird directed and co-wrote Disney's science fiction film Tomorrowland (2015),[15] whose screenplay was co-written with Damon Lindelof.[16] Bird returned to Pixar to write and direct Incredibles 2 (2018). Released 14 years after The Incredibles (2004), the sequel received critical acclaim and was a box office success.[17]

Personal life

Bird has three sons. One of his sons, Nicholas, was the voice of Squirt in Finding Nemo.[18][19][20] Bird's other son, Michael, voiced kids in The Incredibles.[21] Michael later voiced Tony Rydinger in Incredibles 2.[22]

Filmography

Feature films

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1987 Batteries Not Included Yes
1999 The Iron Giant Yes Yes Directorial Debut
2004 The Incredibles Yes Yes
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie Special thanks
2007 Ratatouille Yes Yes
2011 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Yes
2015 Tomorrowland Yes Yes Yes Also designer of logos
2018 Incredibles 2 Yes Yes

Animator

Year Title Notes
1980 Animalympics
1981 The Fox and the Hound Uncredited
1982 The Plague Dogs
1985 The Black Cauldron Uncredited
1999 The Iron Giant Animator on Hogarth when he's hyper on espresso[23]

Voice Actor

Year Title Roles
1999 The Iron Giant Singer: Duck and Cover sequence
2004 The Incredibles Edna Mode and additional voices
2007 Ratatouille Ambrister Minion
2015 Jurassic World Monorail announcer
2018 The Incredibles 2 Edna Mode and additional voices

Senior creative team (Pixar)

Year Title
2009 Up
2010 Toy Story 3
2012 Brave
2013 Monsters University
2015 Inside Out
2017 Coco

Short films

Year Title Director Writer Producer Other Notes
1979 Doctor of Doom Yes Voice role: Don Carlo, Bystander
1983 Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore Yes Uncredited animator
Mickey's Christmas Carol Yes
2005 Jack-Jack Attack Yes Yes
Mr. Incredible and Pals: Commentary edition Yes Yes Yes Executive producer
Vowellett - An Essay by Sarah Vowell Yes
2006 One Man Band Yes
2007 Your Friend the Rat Yes

Unmade projects

Television

Year Title Notes
1983 Garfield on the Town Animator
1985–1987 Amazing Stories Writer of episode: "The Main Attraction"
Director, writer and animation producer of episode: "Family Dog"
1989–1998 The Simpsons Executive consultant and directed episodes: "Krusty Gets Busted" and "Like Father, Like Clown"
1991 Rugrats Animator
Episode: "Tommy Pickles and The Great White Thing"
1993 Family Dog Creator
1994–1995 The Critic Executive consultant
1997 King of the Hill Creative consultant and visual consultant

Music video

Year Title Notes
1990 Do the Bartman Director and storyboard artist

Video games

Year Title Voice role
2018 Lego The Incredibles Edna Mode

Critical reception

Critical response to films Bird has directed:

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Cinemascore
The Iron Giant 96%[35] 85[36] A Cinemascore
The Incredibles 97%[37] 90[38] A+ Cinemascore
Ratatouille 96%[39] 96[40] A Cinemascore
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol 93%[41] 73[42] A- Cinemascore
Tomorrowland 49%[43] 60[44] B Cinemascore
Incredibles 2 94%[45] 80[46] A+ Cinemascore
Average 88% 81 A Cinemascore

Accolades

In addition to his Academy Award, BAFTA Award and Saturn Award wins, Bird holds the record of the most animation Annie Award wins with eight, winning both Best Directing and Best Writing for each of The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille, as well as Best Voice Acting for The Incredibles. His eighth Annie was the 2011 Winsor McCay Award for lifetime contribution to animation.

Year Award Category Film Result[47]
1999 Annie Award Best Animated Feature The Iron Giant Won
Directing in an Animated Feature Production Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production Shared with Tim McCanlies Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Best Animation Won
2000 BAFTA Children's Award Best Feature Film Shared with Allison Abbate, Des McAnuff and Tim McCanlies Won
Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation Shared with Tim McCanlies and Ted Hughes (Based upon the book) Nominated
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Award Best Script Nominated
2004 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Best Animation The Incredibles Won
2005 Academy Award Best Animated Feature Won
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Annie Award Best Animated Feature Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Won
Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation Won
London Critics Circle Film Awards Screenwriter of the Year Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Screenplay, Original Nominated
Saturn Award Best Writing Won
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Award Best Script Nominated
2006 Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation Jack-Jack Attack Nominated
2007 Boston Society of Film Critics Award Best Screenplay Ratatouille Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay, Original Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Best Animation Shared with Jan Pinkava Won
2008 Academy Award Best Animated Feature Won
Best Original Screenplay Shared with Jan Pinkava and Jim Capobianco Nominated
Annie Award Best Animated Feature Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production Won
BAFTA Film Award Best Animated Film Won
Golden Globe Award Best Animated Feature Film Won
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Screenplay, Original Nominated
Saturn Award Best Writing Won
2012 Best Director Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Nominated

See also

References

  1. ^ "Director Brad Bird (R) and spouse Elizabeth Canney pose for a photo at the premiere of Disney's Tomorrowland in Anaheim, California on May 9, 2015". gettyimages.com. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Brad Bird – Director Bio". Retrieved December 31, 2009.
  3. ^ Berens, Jessica (September 29, 2007). "Ratatouille: Year of the rat". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  4. ^ "Brad Bird ancestry". Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  5. ^ Gaiser, Heidi (November 12, 2004). "Kalispell Native is the Superhero Behind "The Incredibles"". Daily Inter Lake. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  6. ^ How 'Incredibles 2' director Brad Bird got his start at Disney - CNBC.com
  7. ^ Gigaom | Pixar's Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation
  8. ^ Brad Bird (January 19, 2008). "Not My Job: NPR". Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!. Retrieved January 27, 2009.
  9. ^ a b "Brad Bird". Montana Kids. Montana Office of Tourism. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  10. ^ Utichi, Joe (October 26, 2007). "Brad Bird Takes RT Through Ratatouille". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
  11. ^ Sciretta, Peter (March 13, 2008). "Pixar teams with Warner Bros for Brad Bird's 1906". /Film. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
  12. ^ Hill, Jim (February 10, 2009). ""Incredibles" sequel is stalled until Bird can get "1906" off the ground". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved February 11, 2009.
  13. ^ Kit, Borys (March 24, 2010). "'Incredibles' helmer on 'Mission: Impossible IV' list (exclusive)". Heat Vision. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  14. ^ Barnes, Brooks (December 9, 2011). "His Mission: Telling Stories to Grown-Ups". New York Times.
  15. ^ "Brad Bird's 1952 is Now Tomorrowland". ComingSoon.net. January 28, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  16. ^ Chitwood, Adam (May 3, 2012). "Brad Bird to Direct Disney's Large-Scale Mystery Film 1952, Written by Damon Lindelof". Collider. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  17. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/movie/incredibles-2
  18. ^ Susman, Gary (May 30, 2013). "'Finding Nemo' Turns 10: 25 Things You Didn't Know About Pixar's Classic Fish Tale". moviefone.com. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  19. ^ "Nicholas Bird". behindthevoiceactors.com. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  20. ^ "See The Voices Behind Your Favorite 'Finding Nemo' Characters". ew.com. May 31, 2016. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  21. ^ Beck, Jerry (2005). The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Review Press. p. 123. ISBN 9781569762226.
  22. ^ Meszoros, Mark (June 15, 2018). "'Incredibles 2' a dazzling sequel". Journal Advocate. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  23. ^ "The Iron Giant commentary". Warner Home Video.
  24. ^ Paul Leiva, Steven. "‘The Spirit’ movie that could have been", Los Angeles Times - Hero Complex, Dec. 12, 2008
  25. ^ Fiamma, Andrea (2015-04-15). "Il trailer del film di Spirit mai realizzato da Brad Bird" (in Italian). Fumettologica. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  26. ^ "The Making of The Iron Giant". Warner Bros. Archived from the original on March 21, 2006. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  27. ^ Linder, Brian (2001-07-31). "Grazer Curious About CG George". IGN. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  28. ^ Olly Richards (2007-05-24). "Homer's Odyssey". Empire. pp. 72–78.
  29. ^ Christopher Orr (June 22, 2012). "'Brave': A Disappointment Worth Seeing". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  30. ^ Gardner, Eric (February 15, 2012). "Warner Bros. Wins 'Last Samurai' Lawsuit". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  31. ^ Fischer, Russ (January 27, 2010). "What Happened to Brad Bird's 1906?". Slashfilm. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  32. ^ Bastoli, Mike. "'1906' to be Disney/Pixar/Warner Bros. collaboration". March 13, 2008. Big Screen Animation. Archived from the original on December 8, 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  33. ^ Adam Chitwood (June 18, 2018). "Brad Bird Says '1906' May Get Made as an "Amalgam" of a TV and Film Project". Collider. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  34. ^ Bernardin, Marc (May 16, 2013). "Brad Bird on 'Incredibles' Sequel: 'I Would Probably Wanna Do That' (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  35. ^ "T-Meter Rating of 'The Iron Giant'". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  36. ^ "The Iron Giant Reviews, Ratings, Credits". Metacritic. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  37. ^ "T-Meter Rating of 'The Incredibles'". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  38. ^ "The Incredibles Reviews, Ratings, Credits". Metacritic. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  39. ^ "T-Meter Rating of 'Ratatouille'". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  40. ^ "Ratatouille Reviews, Ratings, Credits". Metacritic. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  41. ^ "T-Meter Rating of 'Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol'". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  42. ^ "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Reviews, Ratings, Credits". Metacritic. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  43. ^ "Tomorrowland (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 14th, 2018. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  44. ^ "Tomorrowland Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  45. ^ "Incredibles 2 (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 14th, 2018. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  46. ^ "Incredibles 2 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 14th, 2018. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  47. ^ "Brad Bird (I) Awards". IMDb. Retrieved January 14, 2013.

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