The Playlist

'Brave' Director Brenda Chapman Says Animation Is “Run By A Boys Club” & Weighs In On 'Frozen' Controversy

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 16, 2013 11:00 AM
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  • 16 Comments
Over the past week, Disney Animation has had a rough go of it. To explain: Jenna Busch, reporting for Fan Voice, picked up on a distressing comment made by Lino DiSalvo, a veteran Disney animator at a long lead press day for "Frozen," the studio's forthcoming animated feature. These comments were somewhat unsettling, especially considering they were delivered completely free of context, but the comments were, of course, quickly picked up around the web, most notably by bastion of journalistic integrity Buzzfeed, who complemented their Tumblr-like piece with funny gifs and images taken from other websites. Now Time has actually gotten someone of note to weigh in on the controversy: Brenda Chapman, the former Pixar director who won an Oscar for "Brave," who claims that animation as a whole is “run by a boys club.”

Pixar Filmmaker Bob Peterson Reportedly Off 'The Good Dinosaur,' Studio Seeking Replacement

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • August 26, 2013 7:09 PM
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  • 10 Comments
“The Good Dinosaur”
A couple of weeks ago at the D23 Expo, during the lengthy presentation on Walt Disney Animation, there was a noticeable absentee: Pixar alum Bob Peterson, whose debut feature as a director, "The Good Dinosaur" (he co-directed "Up" with Pete Docter), was featured heavily. Co-director Pete Sohn was there, as was producer Denise Ream, plus a few members of the movie's starry voice cast (including Lucas Neff, Judy Greer and Bill Hader). Peterson's absence was conspicuously odd and according to Disney personnel on the scene, Peterson wasn't available due to "scheduling difficulties." But of course it looks like now that isn't the case: Blue Sky Disney is reporting that Peterson is officially off the project and that the movie is frantically looking for a replacement so it can make its May 30th, 2014 release date.

Gary Rydstrom Now Directing Mysterious LucasFilm Animation Project That Brenda Chapman Was Once Involved With

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • June 12, 2013 10:44 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Oh, the tangled web of feature animation. When Brenda Chapman, who had directed "Prince of Egypt" and was set to become the first female director of a Pixar feature, was fired from "Brave" 18 months before it was set to be released, after a contentious (sometimes outright hostile) production period, she regrouped at Lucasfilm Animation, working as a creative advisor on an unspecified feature film project. When Disney acquired Lucasfilm, it seemed to most that Chapman would quietly move along too, and she has, but not before finishing up work on the Lucasfilm project and passing it along to a more-than-worthy successor. She also spills some details about what she's working on now.

First Image Debuts From 'Toy Story of Terror' Halloween Special; Brenda Chapman Weighs In On 'Brave' Princess Controversy

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • May 15, 2013 9:45 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Anyone who thought that Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story" franchise would really be kaput following "Toy Story 3" (a movie that practically crow-barred tears out of even the most hardened misanthrope) were, of course, out of their collective minds. Since the third film was released, we've had three dazzling theatrical short films ("Hawaiian Vacation," "Small Fry," and "Partysaurus Rex") and idle chatter of a fourth film, while the characters still live on in the ever-evolving Toy Story Midway Mania attraction at both the Disney California Adventure and Disney's Hollywood Studios parks on either coast. And come Halloween, we'll get something even more special – a 22-minute TV special called "Toy Story of Terror," the first image of which debuted today. Also, former Pixar director Brenda Chapman weighs in on the controversy surrounding her "Brave" character Merida becoming an official Disney Princess.

Director Brenda Chapman Says Disney Animation Hired Her Because She Was A Woman

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 20, 2012 1:28 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Animation fans were shocked when, a year-and-a-half before the film’s release, animation giant Pixar fired Brenda Chapman, an animation vet and the studio’s first female director (she was also the only female member of the studio’s vaunted Brain Trust creative committee), from her deeply personal first project, “Brave.” While Pixar maintained that she was still on staff, the writing was on the wall, and earlier this year it was announced she had decamped for an unspecified role at LucasFilm Animation. As one animation vet told me yesterday, “Pixar definitely has a glass ceiling.” A recent blog post by Chapman, who has become more outspoken about how she was treated on the film, claims that the only reason she was hired at Disney Animation, back during the studio’s upswing, was because she was a woman.

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

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • August 16, 2012 11:17 AM
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  • 7 Comments
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.

Original 'Brave' Director Brenda Chapman Leaves Pixar For Mystery LucasFilm Project

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • August 8, 2012 10:40 AM
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  • 8 Comments
Well, this isn't exactly going to be shocking news to anyone who followed the long, sad history of Disney and Pixar's "Brave," but it looks like Brenda Chapman, the film's original director (she still wound up with a co-director credit even though she was removed from the film 18 months before the movie opened), has left Pixar for good. It seems LucasFilm Animation has hired her for an as-yet-unannounced project. Oooo mysterious!

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