Filmmaker Brad Bird is working on a live-action musical - one that features 20 minutes of animation - as his followup to Incredibles 2. Pixar fans spent fourteen years waiting for Bird's Incredibles sequel and, on the whole, they weren't disappointed when it arrived last year. Incredibles 2 went on to become the highest-grossing animated film of all time at the U.S. box office (not adjusted for inflation) and served as a rebound for Bird, after his costly live-action adventure Tomorrowland bombed at the box office, three years earlier.
Naturally, in the wake of the film's success, Bird has been asked about the possibility of Incredibles 3 happening in the near future (or, failing that, less than fourteen years from now). The director's been noncommittal on both that subject and his future plans in general, beyond ruling the possibility of sequels to his movies The Iron Giant, Ratatouille, and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. Now, however, Bird has shed some light on what he's currently got in the pipeline.
Variety interviewed Bird at a "tea party" for the 2019 BAFTAs this weekend, where the filmmaker revealed he's working on an original live-action musical. The director was hesitant to reveal too much about the project, other than it's one he's wanted to make for a "long time" and will feature around 20 minutes of animation in total. He went on to confirm that Michael Giacchino - who's scored all of Bird's movies save for Iron Giant - is composing the film's music.
It's good to see Bird getting back to working on ambitious original material after his Incredibles sequel. As critically and commercially successful as the film was, Incredibles 2 has also been criticized for playing things safe and rehashing much of what the original Incredibles did, but to diminished returns. Tomorrowland may've been messier and far more divisive by comparison, but it took some big swings and pushed the storytelling envelope in ways that massively budgeted tentpoles (much less, the few original ones these days) rarely do. It seems Bird's musical will try to do the same, with the filmmaker describing the project as something he's "deathly afraid of [but which] sounds like a cool thing".
Musicals, in general, are something more and more directors are willing to try their hands at these days, in the wake of the genre's recent resurgence in popularity. Case in point: Steven Spielberg is currently in pre-production on a new version of West Side Story (his first full-blown musical) and Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is developing an In the Heights movie musical, all while Bird works on his latest project and Tom Hooper shoots his upcoming Cats musical adaptation. The animation component makes Bird's movie sound all the more intriguing, following last month's Mary Poppins Returns and its own dazzling animated sequence. Given his previous experience in animation, Bird has a good shot at upping the ante even further with his original musical hybrid.
We will bring you more details on Bird's musical as they become available.