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Brenda Chapman Parts Ways with Pixar!

Brad Lewis, Brave, Brenda Chapman, Cars Land, Lou Romano

Posted by Brkyo614 • August 7, 2012

Despite being pulled from the head directorial spot during the production of Brave in 2010, Prince of Egypt director Brenda Chapman remained at work at Pixar through 2012. As of late last month, however, the mind behind Brave has joined a growing list of Pixar employees, including Doug Sweetland, Lou Romano, and Brad Lewis, who have left the studio.

Pixar Portal claims that Chapman is now working as a consultant for Lucasfilm’s animation department. A creative talent who worked in the story department on classics like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, we wish her luck at Lucasfilm and can’t wait to see what she works on next.

Still, the growing amount of talent leaving the studio could be a cause for concern. Disney cited "creative differences" as the reason for Mark Andrews taking the helm of Brave, which, combined with Andrews’ action-oriented directorial style, leads me to believe that executives wanted to broaden the appeal of the film to male audiences. A since-removed piece of art on Lou Romano’s blog depicted Pixar characters in chains beneath a Mickey Mouse caricature. Something could definitely be going on behind the scenes at Pixar following the 2006 acquisition by Disney, but we know little for sure.

New talent continues to be cultivated at Pixar, however. Dan Scanlon, Ronnie Del Carmen, and Peter Sohn, who are working as directors on upcoming Pixar productions, are all first-time feature directors at the studio. Brave and La Luna both prove that Pixar continues to release creative and exciting films, and all of their upcoming projects sound inventive and promising.

Regardless of any controversy at Pixar, Brenda Chapman and her creative contributions to Brave should be celebrated. Clearly one of the most talented women in the animation industry, we hope the best for her at Lucasfilm and anywhere else she goes in the future.

Your thoughts?

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Brad Lewis + Jay Shuster to Headline AutoWeek Event in Support of Cars Sequel!

Brad Lewis, Cars 2

Posted by Martin • October 26, 2010

Into cars? What about Cars? Then this is your kind of event!

Brad Lewis and Jay Shuster are hitting the stage for AutoWeek’s Design Forum to promote the upcoming Pixar sequel in "Inspiration Behind the Design."

As co-director and art director on a film like Cars 2, Lewis and Shuster weren’t just creating an animated film, but designing vehicles. So, it only makes sense that the duo would be invited to headline a major automotive event in the Motor City.

The AutoWeek Design Forum will be held on January 13th, 2011 in Detroit. For more information, check out the official press release.

Your thoughts?

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Upcoming Pixar Reviews Miyazaki’s Ponyo

Brad Lewis, John Lasseter, Review

Posted by Martin • August 14, 2009

What can I say? It’s been a slow news month without counting the big home video announcements. I would like to apologize for that, but there’s not much I can do.

I was going to start posting reviews to all Disney (and Disney/Pixar affiliated) animated movies on Upcoming Pixar starting with The Princess and the Frog this winter, but due to excitement and enjoyment I will begin with Walt Disney Studios’ release of Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo (Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea.)

I’ll briefly start off by pointing out the Pixar connection, besides the fact that John Lasseter and director Hayao Miyazaki are good friends and that Pixar and Studio Ghibli could almost be sister studios. Like past Ghibli localizations, the English Ponyo dub was directed by Pixarians; in this case John Lasseter, Brad Lewis and Peter Sohn.

The story is about a mystical goldfish named Ponyo who, with the help of her human best friend Sosuke, quests to become human. It’s a tale of friendship, bonds, love and loyalty loosely inspired by The Little Mermaid. As it turns out, the balance of the universe rests on one little sea creature and that’s when the sweet and equally hilarious adventure begins! I’m not going to delve into the plot much more, it’s more complicated than the trailers would have it seem.

The story may come off a bit strange, but the characters are adorable, rich and full of life, a Miyazaki trademark — much like Pixar. The voice talent, full of big name celebrities, was actually not distracting as you’re captivated by the story, animation and personalities. My favorite part about seeing Ponyo on the big screen was enjoying the pristine 2D visuals which have become a rarity in today’s cinema.

So if you find yourself at a megaplex this weekend, do yourself a favor and watch Ponyo (tickets here), especially if you’ve enjoyed Miyazaki’s past works!

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Brad Lewis Wins Top Dog Award

Brad Lewis

Posted by Martin • October 2, 2008

California State University, Fresno’s most distinguished alumni will be recongnized on October 10th at the Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala being held at the Save Mart Center.

Brad Lewis, Ratatouille producer and director of the forthcoming Cars 2 got the nod in the category of CSU’s College of Arts and Humanities.

If you’d like to attend the gala, tickets are $100, more info here. To learn more about other Top Dog recipients, click here. Congratulations, Mr. Lewis!

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Chatting With Pixar’s Michael B. Johnson

Brad Bird, Brad Lewis, Interview, Pete Docter, Pixar Employees, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, WALL-E

Posted by Thomas • July 21, 2008

Adaptive Path have a particularly interesting interview with Pixar’s Michael B. Johnson, who is head of the Motion Pictures Group at the studio. 

They talk about Johnson’s development of the storyboard pitching program he developed called "Pitch Doctor". They look at how this program was used in the development of The Incredibles, Ratatouille and WALL•E. They also discuss sucess, morale and how they effectively manage at production at the studio.
Take a read here

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Brad Lewis 9th in Toyota Pro/Celebrity Charity Race

Brad Lewis

Posted by Thomas • April 20, 2008

Ratatouille producer and Cars 2 director, Brad Lewis, participated in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity charity race on April 19, and finished 9th overall and 5th out of the celebrites. 

Pixar producer/director Brad Lewis, the PEOPLE pole winner, led the first eight laps and appeared to be on the way to victory before going into the tire wall as he attempted to hold off Little and Skinner.

says the press release

Toyota donates $5,000 to "Racing for Kids" in the name of each celebrity racer, and another $5,000 to the winner’s charity of choice. Racing for Kids is a non-profit program benefiting children’s hospitals in Southern California. On behalf of the race and its participants, Toyota has donated close to $1.6 million to various children’s organizations since 1991. 

The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race will broadcast on Speed, Saturday, May 3, at 3 – 3:30 p.m. EDT, with repeats on May 4th, 9th and 25th.

Congratulations Brad!

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Discussion: Cars 2: Is It Really That Bad?

Box Office, Brad Lewis, Cars, Cars 2, Disney, Merchandise, Online, Pixar, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Toy Story, Toy Story 2

Posted by Thomas • April 13, 2008

Now over the past few months, when the internets were rife with rumours and rumblings of a sequel to Cars, I was very skeptical. Could you blame me? 

Cars is generally accepted as the least spectacular of Pixar’s fine films, even though it was the best animated film of 2006, and is still better than a lot of other animated films. So why would Pixar consider creating a sequel to their "worst" (and I use that term very lightly) film? Brad Bird said it wasn’t in Pixar’s business model to create sequels, and even then, Pixar maintain that they don’t create sequels unless there is a story begging to be told. What possible story could their be for Cars 2 that was in such desperation to be told? There were better Pixar films to create a sequel to. Monsters, Inc. for example, it was left open at the end, which just cries out for a sequel. The Incredibles, the second most popular Pixar film that definitely warrants a sequel eventually. Back in June, 2007, Disney announced in a press release that Cars merchandise had accounted for more than $2 billion dollars of their financial earnings. Cars is definitely one of Disney’s biggest properties, and they want to milk it for all it’s worth, and are soon opening an online Cars virtual world, as well as Cars Land at DCA in 2012.

The rumours made it appear as if this was a Disney influenced decision, only making the Cars sequel, to even milk the property for more of it’s worth, and not because a sequel was wanted or warranted. I eagerly dismissed a Cars 2, and condemned it for the above reasons, as did many others. Even some irrefutable evidence upon which I wasn’t allowed to disclose, nor discuss, was presented to me and I dismissed it as rumours and untrue.  However, to many a shock and awe, Disney•Pixar announced on Tuesday the 6th of April, Cars 2 was in production, being directed by Ratatouille producer Brad Lewis, and was slated for Summer 2012.
Everybody everywhere asked questions, "Why? How? Who? What?". It didn’t make much sense to anybody except to those at Disney•Pixar who are close to the project. But is it a good thing? Let’s take a look at some opinions held on the matter.

The first and most obvious is that it’s purely for money, by expanding on a very popular money-making asset for the Walt Disney Company. This leads to many readings, including that the Walt Disney Company is pressuring Pixar into doing things it wouldn’t have done normally. A different perspective on this is that the big wigs at Disney have asked Pixar to make a few sequels to existing films, which are a sure-fire guarantee for money, to balance out their original films, which aren’t as certain to make it at the box office. Ratatouille is an example of where the mouse house was apparently worried it wouldn’t perform well, but it turned out to make it into Pixar’s top three, box office wise.
Another opinion is that Pixar are going to try and redeem themselves for Cars. I like the sound of this one. Toy Story was great, but Toy Story 2 is known for one of the few sequels which are better than the original. And then the money is only second in the decision. 

And perhaps the other opinion circulating is that Pixar really do have a good story to tell, and are eager to explore the world of Cars more. It was hinted in the synopsis that Lightning McQueen and Mater would be travelling internationally, in which case might take them to Europe for the F1 and maybe even Australia for V8 Super Car racing. This would make the film appeal internationally to racing fans everywhere, unlike Cars which dealt with NASCAR and only appealed to USA racing fans, and only hinted at international racing with Guido and Luigi and Michael Schumaker. 
But what about the merchandise? Cars was known for its fantastic merchandise. I myself have a quite a few pieces. And the soundtrack. I maintain it’s one of the best soundtracks for an animated film to date. It’s compilation of new and original songs was great. Hopefully Cars 2 would mean another great soundtrack, perhaps with a few songs influenced by other countries if McQueen & Mater travel the world. It would also mean more diecast models which many have eagerly collected, and Disney•Pixar keep releasing more. 
For a Cars 2, I only ask for them to include the following cars, a MINI Cooper, an Aston Martin, an Alfa Romeo and a BMW. Feel free to share your opinions below in the comments, and check out the opinions of the members of Pixar Planet.  

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