This year marks the first since 2006 that moviegoers were not treated to another offering from Pixar, the famous animation studio that has been entertaining audiences since the original Toy Story broke new ground in 1995. For nearly two decades now, a collection of imaginative filmmakers have put the brand's now-classic spin on stories as diverse as a superhero tale (The Incredibles) to a lonely robot looking for love (WALL-E).
The good news is that fans will get not one, but two original movies from Pixar in 2015; Inside Out will hit theaters in June, with The Good Dinosaur following in November. News on both projects has been somewhat scarce, but we now have an update on the latter, thanks to actor John Lithgow.
Lithgow will be voicing Poppa in The Good Dinosaur, and in an interview with Collider, he took the time to address the production process. The film has a slightly troubled history, since original director Bob Peterson was replaced by a brain trust of Pixar talent last year. That move caused the project to be delayed from May 2014 to next November.
Lithgow spoke on the affect the shift has had on The Good Dinosaur:
They have now dismantled it and completely reimagined it, and it is a fantastic new story. So I’m gonna record again on it within the next month. Don’t worry. It’s coming and it’s gonna be better than I ever imagined.
The genesis of Peterson's departure was allegedly his inability to crack the film's third act, a claim that seems validated by Lithgow's comments. In fact, it would appear that the entire narrative has been altered, since the studio is now calling Lithgow back to record vocals for his part. Clearly, something must have been off in the script for Pixar to commission a complete overhaul such as this.
There's no word on if Lithgow's fellow cast members will be required to return to the recording booth as well, but it's certainly in the realm of possibility if the story has been "completely reimagined." Collider notes that this could theoretically lead to some last-minute recasting (given the in-demand nature of stars such as Neil Patrick Harris), but Lithgow confirmed that Frances McDormand is still voicing Momma. Perhaps all will be right on the vocal front.
This news probably isn't what Pixar fans wanted to hear at this stage in The Good Dinosaur's development, but this isn't the first time one of the studio's films had some behind-the-scenes turmoil. On three previous occasions, the studio has replaced the original director and saw those releases gross over half a billion dollars worldwide. Two of those instances (Ratatouille and Brave) even went on to win the Oscar for Best Animated Film, so viewers shouldn't push the panic button just yet.
The Good Dinosaur will be in theaters November 25, 2015.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.
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