Dec. 26, 2011 | 5:45 a.m.
Brad Bird won two Oscars for his animated accomplishments at Pixar, but taking on “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” for his first live-action feature film was, in its own way, just as audacious as the aerial stunts Tom Cruise executes in the new spy thriller. Bird knew that to succeed he would need to draw on his experience — and that meant reaching for a sketch pad and a pencil at every stage of the project. “I would never claim my skill set is unique in all the world, but when you come from animation, you have to know how to represent things visually,” Bird said. “If you have a thought, you don’t have to just talk about it, you can sit down and draw what you have in mind…. There’s so much wiggle room in the way we interpret […]
Dec. 06, 2011 | 3:32 p.m.
Motion-capture apes overran cineplexes this year. Photo-realistic animated worlds teemed with fighting pandas and an adventurous young reporter. But one of 2011’s most jaw-dropping sequences comes courtesy of the human special-effect himself, Tom Cruise, and the craftspeople behind director Brad Bird’s “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” which opens Dec. 21. In it, Cruise’s spy Ethan Hunt and his squad (Jeremy Renner as Brandt, Paula Patton as Jane Carter and Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn) find themselves in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa — the world’s tallest building. Complications force Hunt to travel several stories above the team’s 119th floor command center — from outside the building — using electronic gloves that allow him to climb glass. The dizzying experience is made all the more vertigo-inducing by being shot in Imax. And, yes, that really is Cruise doing the climbing. Here’s a breakdown […]
Nov. 02, 2011 | 12:25 p.m.
The Los Angeles Times Holiday Sneaks issue runs Sunday, here’s an early look at one of the stories. Brad Bird, who has two Oscars for his Pixar films, is on a mission to make his first live-action blockbuster but, on a recent morning, as he regaled some journalists with behind-the-scenes tales of Hollywood, there was really only one word to describe his raconteur style: animated. Waving his arms, hunching over and making high-decibel sound effects, the writer-director was a one-man cartoon as he unspooled a story about working on the “Ratatouille” recording sessions with Peter O’Toole. It was a good story but one suspects Bird will walk away from his new project, “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” with far more exotic memories. The fourth film in the “Mission” franchise, with Tom Cruise back as super-spy Ethan Hunt, opens everywhere on […]
Sept. 28, 2011 | 2:00 p.m.
Brad Bird is thinking big with his first live-action feature film: A deal is being finalized by Paramount Pictures that will open “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” five days early at more than 200 IMAX theaters. The goal, according to the Oscar-winning writer-director of “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille,” is to bring back a “level of showmanship” to the opening of a big-budget Hollywood film. Bird is so enthused about the plan that last week he brought footage from the film to Rave Motion Pictures 18 to show it as preamble to his interview with Hero Complex lead writer Geoff Boucher. The elaborate, high-adrenaline sequences (part of the 25 minutes of the film that was shot with IMAX cameras) took the action to the top of the tallest building in the world and into the face of a blinding desert sandstorm. GB: There’s been intense interest by studios to release films in the stereoscopic 3-D […]
June 17, 2011 | 7:56 p.m.
There are few actors that have stepped into as many fanboy-favored universes as Simon Pegg. The British Comedian has beamed Spock onto the Enterprise (as Scotty in “Star Trek“), squared off against The Doctor and Rose Tyler (as The Editor in a “Doctor Who” episode), and performed some technical wizardry to help Tom Cruise‘s Ethan Hunt (as Benji Dunn in “Mission: Impossible III“), not to mention the genre projects Pegg wrote, such as “Paul,” “Shaun of the Dead” and “Spaced.” In her Friday story about his new memoir, “Nerd Do Well,” Los Angeles Times writer Carolyn Kellogg calls Pegg “as close as you can get to a real-life geek superhero.” Here’s an excerpt from her story: Fans who are eagerly anticipating reading about [Pegg's] experiences working on, say, “Star Trek,” may be surprised that there are few on-set anecdotes. He […]