Brad Bird Interview: ‘Incredibles 2’ director
“I always wanted to return to the universe,” reveals director Brad Bird about making “Incredibles 2” 14 years after the original. “The most fun I’ve had making a film was the first ‘Incredibles.'” Since his previous films had been adaptations, it was “the only time I’ve gotten to have the initial spark of an idea and carry it over all the way through to completion.” He adds, “It has a lot of my family in it, so it’s a strangely personal film.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
This Pixar release finds the super-powered Parr family on the outs with the rest of society. Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter) becomes a spokesperson for a PR campaign to rehabilitate superheroes in the public eye. Meanwhile, her husband Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) has to stay at home with the kids.
Although it took 14 years for the sequel to hit screens, the idea had been brewing in Bird’s mind since “we were publicizing the first film.” He knew he wanted to explore what would happen if the mother and father switched roles, while at the same time including a subplot about baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers. All that was missing was “the villain part of the story.”
He settled on a scenario involving artificial intelligence that the studio jumped at. The film was given a release date of 2019, which was then pushed up to 2018. Work got underway, but then Bird realized his idea wouldn’t work because it didn’t “serve the part that I’m committed to,” which was the family storyline. With expectations so high and a deadline on the horizon, the director course-corrected and pushed forward. “I’ve been in tight situations before,” he explains, noting his experience on the first eight seasons of “The Simpsons” as a training ground for “killing your darlings” and moving on quickly.
Bird’s films “The Incredibles” (2004) and “Ratatouille” (2007) both won him Oscars for Best Animated Feature and additional nominations for Best Original Screenplay. He also directed the animated classic “The Iron Giant” (1999) and the live-action adventures “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” (2011) and “Tomorrowland” (2015).