According to both Blue Sky Disney and The LA Times, Pixar Animation has relieved Bob Peterson of directing duties on their 2014 release The Good Dinosaur. This isn’t anything new for Pixar as they’ve changed directors on three other films.
Jan Pinkava was replaced by Brad Bird on 2007’s Ratatouille, resulting in drastic changes to the film before its release. John Lasseter replaced Brad Lewis on 2011’s Cars 2. Last year, Mark Andrews replaced Brenda Chapman on Brave. However Chapman still received screen credit and even went on to win an Oscar for animated feature alongside Andrews.
Studio president Ed Catmull had this to say about the situation
“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.”
The Good Dinosaur is due to be released in only nine months, so Pixar needs to find a replacement quickly. Until then, the studio is relying on other members of their team to oversee various sections of the movie. That group includes Toy Story 1 & 2 director John Lasseter, Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, and Brave director Mark Andrews.
Obviously Pixar’s technique of a last minute reshuffle has been successful in the past, so this director switcheroo should be no cause for concern.
The Good Dinosaur, which is set in a world where dinosaurs never went extinct, features the voices of Neil Patrick Harris, Bill Hader, Frances McDormand, Judy Greer, John Ratzenberger, and John Lithgow. The film is set for release May 30th, 2014.