Brad Bird Leaves Animation (at Gunpoint)

Is Ratatouille director Brad Bird leaving feature animation? Not if Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg take their guns out of his face.

The moviemaker dropped a bombshell in his videotaped acceptance speech (embedded above) last weekend after he took home a Winsor McCay lifetime achievement honor from the controversial Annie Awards.

“My involvement in the world of animation … comes to an end today,” said Bird, who helmed such standout animated features as The Iron Giant and The Incredibles. “As much as I value my time spent dabbling in cartoons, I’ve moved onto bigger and, let’s face it, better things. I am of course talking about live action. If I’m honest with myself, it’s where I’ve always secretly wanted to be and, truth be told, I’m a lot happier for it. Compared with animation, live-action movie-making is a stress-free, care-free world of creativity without compromise.”

But Bird’s mechanical speech was quickly unmasked as one of the year’s most excellent pranks, once the camera panned out and revealed that Simon Pegg and Tom Cruise, stars of Bird’s first live-action film Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, were holding pistols to his head.

“Some say actors are paranoid that they might find themselves made obsolete by advances in animation technology, but that really is absurd,” Bird quaked. “If some nerd with a paintbrush or computer could replace the likes of award-winning international superstar Tom Cruise and the similarly award-winning British comedy genius Simon Pegg, such notions are absurd, and anyone that thinks that is an idiot and a communist.”

Ghost Protocol arrives this December and Bird’s second live-action film, 1906, is slated for release a year later. The animation industry might turn into a wasteland if Bird truly decided to stick to live-action film.

This article appeared at Wired

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