Now it’s official: Finding Nemo and WALL-E director Andrew Stanton will be helming his first live-action movie, John Carter of Mars. The movie, based on the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs, will be released under the Disney banner and not the Pixar banner, as was originally rumored/hypothesized, and will be hitting theatres sometime in 2012.
I’m both very excited and a little disappointed with this news. I have every confidence that the movie’s going to be amazing: Stanton’s already a two-time Best Original Screenplay Oscar nominee — and that’s not even counting the fact that Michael Chabon (one of my favorite novelists) worked on the screenplay, too. And I’m glad for Stanton in that he’s stretching himself and trying to do something different. It’s not often that animation directors cross over to live action or vice versa (though Mad Max director George Miller did so with impressive results with Happy Feet).
This means that my two favorite animation directors (combined, they were in charge of four of my top five Pixar movies) are working on live-action flicks instead. The Incredibles and The Iron Giant director Brad Bird is readying 1906 (also due in 2012) about the great San Francisco earthquake and subsequent fires which nearly destroyed the city in — you’ll never believe this — 1906. It’s not as if I’m worried about Pixar’s output dropping in quality while those guys work on non-animated features. Up, for instance, was perfectly excellent without any input from either Bird nor Stanton (well, that’s not entirely true; both Bird and Stanton are senior executives at Pixar who surely have input into everything). But it does mean that we won’t see animated features from either of them until probably 2014 at the very earliest. I trust them both and will gladly rush out to go see both of their live-action movies. What little bit I’ve heard about each sounds like they have the potential to be fantastic. And again, kudos to both for trying new things.
But I’m already looking forward to both of them returning to animation someday.