Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Look: Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, And More In 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' First Look: Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, And More In 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' First Look: Harley Quinn & The Entire 'Suicide Squad' Cast In Full Costume First Look: Harley Quinn & The Entire 'Suicide Squad' Cast In Full Costume Director Josh Trank Reportedly Fired From His ‘Star Wars’ Film For “Erratic" Behavior On The ‘Fantastic Four’ Set Director Josh Trank Reportedly Fired From His ‘Star Wars’ Film For “Erratic" Behavior On The ‘Fantastic Four’ Set Robert Downey Jr. Trashes Indie Moviemaking, Fires Back Over Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Superhero Diss Robert Downey Jr. Trashes Indie Moviemaking, Fires Back Over Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Superhero Diss First Look: Clear Photos Of Ben Affleck In Costume From 'Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Look: Clear Photos Of Ben Affleck In Costume From 'Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Kristen Stewart Says "Hollywood Is Disgustingly Sexist," Questions When Actresses Decide To Go Nude Kristen Stewart Says "Hollywood Is Disgustingly Sexist," Questions When Actresses Decide To Go Nude Warner Bros' DC Comics' Franchise Is Reportedly A Big Movie Universe Without A Clear Leader Warner Bros' DC Comics' Franchise Is Reportedly A Big Movie Universe Without A Clear Leader Data On Netflix Original Programming Reveals Everyone Is Watching 'Daredevil,' Not Tuning Into 'Bloodline' Data On Netflix Original Programming Reveals Everyone Is Watching 'Daredevil,' Not Tuning Into 'Bloodline' Rumor: Asa Butterfield Is The Frontrunner To Play Marvel's Spider-Man Rumor: Asa Butterfield Is The Frontrunner To Play Marvel's Spider-Man Rumor: Jared Leto's Joker To Appear In 'Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Rumor: Jared Leto's Joker To Appear In 'Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Ranked: All The Characters Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe Ranked: All The Characters Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel & More To Star In Xavier Dolan's Next Film 'Only The End Of The World' Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel & More To Star In Xavier Dolan's Next Film 'Only The End Of The World' Cannes: New Images From 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender And Marion Cotillard Cannes: New Images From 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender And Marion Cotillard Plot Details And Opening Sequence Revealed For Gaspar Noe's 3D Cannes Midnight Movie 'Love' Plot Details And Opening Sequence Revealed For Gaspar Noe's 3D Cannes Midnight Movie 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Check Out Teaser Posters For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' & Nicolas Winding Refn's 'The Neon Demon' Check Out Teaser Posters For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' & Nicolas Winding Refn's 'The Neon Demon' The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season Best To Worst: Every Marvel Movie Ranked Best To Worst: Every Marvel Movie Ranked

Director Brenda Chapman Says Being Removed From 'Brave' Was "Devastating"

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist August 16, 2012 at 11:17AM

The story of Disney/Pixar's "Brave" is a complicated one, fraught with battle-hardened debates and hurt feelings, and we're just talking about what happened behind the scenes of the Scottish-set fairy tale. Originally conceived as the first feature from a female filmmaker at the notoriously male-oriented studio, it was to be written and directed by Brenda Chapman, an animation vet who shepherded the second Disney Renaissance and directed "Prince of Egypt" at DreamWorks. However, eighteen months before the movie was set to premiere, she was removed from the project and, in subsequent months, the studio. (She recently got a job on a typically secretive project at LucasFilm.) Chapman hasn't said one word about her experience on "Brave." Until now.
7
Brenda Chapman

The story of Disney/Pixar's "Brave" is a complicated one, fraught with battle-hardened debates and hurt feelings, and we're just talking about what happened behind the scenes of the Scottish-set fairy tale. Originally conceived as the first feature from a female filmmaker at the notoriously male-oriented studio, it was to be written and directed by Brenda Chapman, an animation vet who shepherded the second Disney Renaissance and directed "Prince of Egypt" at DreamWorks. However, eighteen months before the movie was set to premiere, she was removed from the project and, in subsequent months, the studio. (She recently got a job on a typically secretive project at LucasFilm.) Chapman hasn't said one word about her experience on "Brave." Until now.

In a wonderfully heartfelt essay she wrote for The New York Times about gender inequality in the film business, she opens up about her experience on "Brave" and how that made her feel, as a filmmaker and a woman. "It has been a heartbreakingly hard road for me over the last year and a half," Chapman wrote. "When Pixar took me off of 'Brave' – a story that came from my heart, inspired by my relationship with my daughter – it was devastating." Yikes.

Chapman goes on to describe how she was at odds with the system itself. “Animation directors are not protected like live-action directors, who have the Directors Guild to go to battle for them,” she wrote. “We are replaced on a regular basis — and that was a real issue for me. This was a story that I created, which came from a very personal place, as a woman and a mother. To have it taken away and given to someone else, and a man at that, was truly distressing on so many levels.”

And while Chapman does maintain that she is, at least, somewhat happy with the movie that was released this past summer ("In the end, it worked out, and I’m very proud of the movie"), she admits it was a difficult road, saying that at one point the movie, without at least her passing input, didn't work at all. And that the fact that her name is attached and she doesn't totally disown the movie doesn't exactly help take the sting out of the situation, which was based on her gender just as much as her creative ability. "Sometimes women express an idea and are shot down, only to have a man express essentially the same idea and have it broadly embraced," Chapman wrote, tellingly.

We wonder if we'll ever really get the full story about what happened on "Brave," given the studios involved and the egos attached to those that made the big decisions, but if it ever comes out it's going to be one hell of a tale. Even these tidbits Chapman dropped have given us a lot to think about.  

This article is related to: Pixar , Brenda Chapman, Brave


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates