‘Incredibles 2’ director Brad Bird shares 6 interesting points | Inquirer Entertainment
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‘Incredibles 2’ director Brad Bird shares 6 interesting points

By: - Columnist
/ 12:30 AM April 29, 2018

Scene from “Incredibles 2”

LOS ANGELES—“Don’t remind me,” Brad Bird quipped with a smile when asked why it took him 14 years to bring back the Parrs—that family of undercover superheroes—whom the moviegoers embraced and loved in 2004.

Brad was at the Sony Pictures Studios lot, supervising the scoring session, with Michael Giacchino conducting a full orchestra, for the third act of Pixar’s “Incredibles 2.”


He praised the orchestra members: “They’re the best. They can look at something and just play it.”


The Oscar best animated feature film winner for “Ratatouille” then sat down to discuss his much-awaited follow-up to “The Incredibles.”

This time, Helen/Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter) is called on to save the world, while Bob/Mr. Incredible (voice of Craig T. Nelson) is a stay-at-home dad, taking care of Jack-Jack.

When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the Incredibles sprint into action together again.

Brad is back voicing his memorable Edna Mode character, along with a fine voice cast: Samuel L. Jackson (Lucius Best/Frozone), Isabella Rossellini (Ambassador), Sophia Bush (Voyd), Jonathan Banks (Rick Dicker), Catherine Keener (Evelyn Deavor) and Bob Odenkirk (Winston Deavor).

Brad, casual in a black polo shirt, blue jeans and an “Incredibles” cap, proudly pointed out that his wife, Elizabeth Canney, the mother of his two sons, Nicholas and Michael (who voiced kid characters in the first film), was here in the Rita Hayworth Room.

“That’s the original Elastigirl right there,” he said with a laugh.


The 60-year-old Montana native, who also directed the live-action films, “Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol” and “Tomorrowland,” shared six interesting points with us.

The Incredibles are back after 14 years.

1. Why it took 14 years to follow up “The Incredibles.”

It’s not like I intended it to be 14 years. I had other stories I wanted to tell. There’s an unwritten law right now that if you make a successful film, you must follow it up immediately with another one of the same one. I just don’t subscribe to that.

Fortunately, Disney and, more significantly, Pixar were very supportive. Like someone would say, “It would be cool—when do you ever think about doing another one?” And I’d say, “Yeah, that would be fun.” Because the most fun I ever had making a movie was making “The Incredibles.”


2. Brad got the idea for “Incredibles 2’s” story when he was promoting the first film.

I had the idea, oh, that would interesting… I knew I had the unopened present of Jack-Jack’s powers because the audience knew that he has multiple powers. But the family didn’t. I knew that if we made another one that was a present, I would get to unwrap that.

So that’s the core idea I’ve had since the first film. It was all the other stuff—the superhero part, the villain and all of that I had to work on and on.

Frozone is voiced by Samuel L. Jackson.

3. Filmmaking is just as challenging even with all the improved tools available to animators.

I don’t think it’s easy to make any kind of film. Films are hard. Even the lowest budgeted horror movie is hard to make. You have to gather people together, get them all focused on doing something that’s abstract and hope that things work out your way. So, I salute any filmmaker. Then beyond that, making a film that’s good—that’s even rarer.

The job for any filmmaker, whether live-action or animation, is hard. But there are tools that make it more intuitive and make you able to achieve looks more quickly and thus improve them.

We had a new thing at Pixar that allowed us to render lighting in shots at low resolution and see what our frames were going to be without spending two weeks rendering an image. So we could see the image in a rough form and go, “Oh, that’s what it looks like” and respond to it right away, which was great for artists.

Before, it was like drawing on paper without seeing what you’re drawing. Then, waiting two weeks for the image to appear on the paper. So there was a certain blindness. People got good at guessing, but it’s not the same as doing something and seeing it right away. So, our tools got much better and much more intuitive for artists. That part was excellent and I’m so happy.

Things got better between “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille.” That was only one movie between those two films. By the time of “Ratatouille,” the human rigs which we struggled with on “The Incredibles” were fantastic. Now, they’re even better.

So, it shouldn’t seem like a change to the audience. They’re still the same design. Still the same characters but, for us, they’re more like what we wanted them to be in the first film. We just didn’t have the technology. We were pushing everything, and we still are. But now, it’s a better machine.

Edna Mode is back.

4. A “crude” way of saying how to feed creativity.

Milos Forman, the late fantastic genius director, said something and it was crude. But I believe in it. He said, “In order to make good s**t, one must eat well.”

The best thing that you can do as an artist is to take in other people’s art and open up your life, have new experiences, visit foreign places, talk to people, look at paintings, listen to symphonies and to music that was written last week, take in interesting stuff that stimulates you and makes you excited about art. Art to me is an ocean that is infinite. The more I’m in it, the more I want to swim.

Mr. Incredible stays home with his superpowered kids in the new film.—Disney Pixar

5. His influences.

There are probably too many to mention. Obviously, Walt Disney. The animation that was done during Walt Disney’s lifetime is hugely important to me. My first mentors were all from Disney—the Nine Old Men (Les Clark, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman and Frank Thomas)—I knew many of them. They had a huge impact on me.

Also Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Oskar Fischinger, John Hubley and Hayao Miyazaki. There are just so many, all really powerful artists. I still learn from them to this day.

6. No “The Iron Giant” sequel.

As far as I’m concerned, that story is complete. I don’t think “Jaws 2” worked as well as “Jaws,” you know. “The Incredibles” is a different deal, though. That one I always thought that a sequel could work. That’s a different story. I’ve had a blast returning to that world.

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TAGS: Brad Bird, Incredibles 2

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