Last month it was reported that amongst the list of potential directors for Mission: Impossible IV there was a surprising contender: Brad Bird (Incredibles and Ratatouille). He was on list along with the likes of Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland).
But now we're hearing word that Bird has emerged as the frontrunner to direct Mission: Impossible IV and is in final negotiations with Paramount Pictures for the Tom Cruise and J.J. Abrams-produced project.
The deal isn't done yet, however, and one of the key points the deal hinges on is Bird's paycheck. Bird has never directed a live-action feature (more on that in a minute) but is an accomplished, well respected animation director (both The Incredibles and Ratatouille won Oscars for Best Animated Feature Film). To make one of those animated movies it can take about three years, thus, the director's fee isn't exactly small.
Having said that, shooting such a big-budget and large-scale film like Mission: Impossible IV takes about a third of the time an animated movie does (especially one from the perfectionists at Pixar), so Paramount is hoping they can get Bird for a lower cost. The current speculation is that if Bird can accept a lower fee, then he's got the gig.
Whether Paramount closes a deal with Bird or get someone else, they will need to get things moving pretty soon: the film is being slated to start shooting this summer and the set release date is just over a year away on May 27th, 2011. This isn't a small indie film that will take just a few months from pre-production to finish, but rather one that will take a lot of work, even before shooting begins (finding worldwide locations, sorting out everything for the big set-pieces and so forth).
So now that it's looking like Bird will direct M:I IV, let's ask ourselves if he is the right man for the job or not. On the downside, he's never directed a live-action film before and certainly not one of the size and budget as this. However, on the plus side, Bird has been known and praised for his great storytelling abilities and his penchant for creating intricate and exciting action scenes (even if they're animated). He's a strange choice when you first think about it, but ponder it a bit more and I think he's a rather inspired choice for M:I IV.
Are you glad that Brad Bird has emerged the front-runner to direct M:I IV? Or would you have liked Edgar Wright or Ruben Fleischer (or someone else entirely) to direct it instead?
Although Mission: Impossible III director J.J. Abrams is not directing the fourth movie, he is still producing it along with Tom Cruise, who is returning as Agent Ethan Hunt. Abrams has also worked on the story (which is being kept under wraps for now) along with Andrew Nemec and Josh Appelbaum, who both wrote the script.
As stated, Mission: Impossible IV is aimed to start shooting this summer and has a release date of May 27th, 2010.