EXCLUSIVE: Skydance Animation has scored a major coup by acquiring rights to make Ray Gunn. That will be the next animated film by writer-director Brad Bird, the Oscar-winning Pixar fixture who made The Incredibles films, Ratatouille and The Iron Giant, as well as the live-action Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. He will direct and produce the film from an original story by him. Bird wrote the script with Matthew Robbins.
John Lasseter, David Ellison and Dana Goldberg will produce for Skydance Animation. Ray Gunn will be Bird’s first animated film since 2018’s Incredibles 2, Pixar’s highest-grossing film of all time. Bird reunites with former Pixar head Lasseter and joins a growing roster of animation talent at Skydance.
“From his work on The Iron Giant to The Incredibles films and the work we did together on Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Brad is one of the greatest filmmakers working in the industry today,” said Skydance CEO Ellison, in confirming the deal. “As a lifelong fan of animation, it is incredibly rewarding to be re-teaming with him to create this bold new world and we’re excited to get started.”
Skydance Animation head Lasseter and president Holly Edwards said they are “thrilled to partner with Brad to finally bring his vision of Ray Gunn to the screen. From its immersive world to its rich characters, we can’t wait to explore this story and to create a one-of-a-kind animated experience for audiences around the world.”
Bird said he’s “had some of my best filmmaking experiences with Skydance and Pixar, so it’s wonderful to be working with David, John and Dana again under one roof on Ray Gunn, a film I’ve wanted to make for a long time. We all love movies, and are crazy excited to create something new, thrilling and intensely cinematic.”
Bird won two Best Animated Feature Oscars and 10 Annie Awards and was executive consultant for the first eight seasons of The Simpsons. Bringing him aboard is a get for Skydance Animation, whose first animated feature, the Peggy Holmes-directed Luck, premieres on August 5, 2022 on Apple TV+. The studio’s second animated feature is Spellbound, directed by Vicky Jensen, with several more animated film and TV series percolating.
Luck follows Blush, the inaugural short film from Skydance Animation and Apple Original Films. That short premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, and has received numerous awards noms for the film by Emmy winner Joe Mateo (Prep & Landing, Big Hero 6). The short is currently streaming on Apple TV+.
Bird is represented by UTA and attorney Michael Schenkman.
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