What's known about the Pinkava/Chapman situations?

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What's known about the Pinkava/Chapman situations?

Post by Jpcase » December 9th, 2014, 10:35 pm

Has any real detail ever come out on why Jan Pinkava and Brenda Chapman were fired from their respective projects?

I never heard anything about the Pinkava situation and am really sad that he seems to have disappeared almost entirely, as Geri's Game is quite possibly my favorite Pixar short.

I followed a bit of the news when Chapman got kicked off of Brave (and was crushed when it happened - she seems to be incredibly talented). Most of the "official" details that I read were vague. I'm aware of this http://www.pixarportal.com/blog.php?id= ... -two-brave interview, in which she says that the story was too complicated and unfocused. Has anything more than that ever been revealed?

Around the time that the film came out, there was a topic on the IMDB message board, started by someone who claimed to be an employee of Pixar (or Disney - it could have been either or). He/she had supposedly seen an early test-screening of the film back when Chapman was still involved and sent private messages to those interested in knowing how her cut differed from the finished version - the person didn't want to post anything on the public forum, because he/she was apparently concerned about getting in trouble at work.

Obviously, one can't trust everything that an anonymous user posts on IMDB - but if this person was just trying to get attention, then I have to wonder why they didn't post the details on the public forum, where more people would have noticed. I'm really curious now, whether what they shared is true or not. Did anyone here by any chance ever see this thread?

I assume that enough time has passed between then and now, that this person wouldn't mind some of what they shared being made public. If they were really that worried of word getting out, then I'm sure that they wouldn't have blabbed to tons of people online. But out of respect for their wishes, I'll just say that (according to this person) Chapman's version was going to be a lot more expansive, dramatic, and less heavy-handed in its feminist overtones. It also gave greater relevancy to certain plot elements - which is one of the reasons why I feel that the information might have been true.

If anyone is interested in knowing more, then I don't see the harm in elaborating. It looks like IMDB automatically deleted the message I received from the person though, so I could only tell you what I remember from two years ago.

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Re: What's known about the Pinkava/Chapman situations?

Post by ShyViolet » December 9th, 2014, 11:27 pm

Really interesting Jpcase. Thanks for the info! :) Also, Brenda Chapman went back to DWA to direct another film as far as I know. Although with DWA's future so up in the air who knows what will happen now. :?

I thought (although I could be wrong) that Pinkava went to Laika.
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Re: What's known about the Pinkava/Chapman situations?

Post by EricJ » December 10th, 2014, 3:01 am

"Unfocused", I'll believe, but that's the first time I've ever heard Brave's story described as "too complicated". :?
(And Chapman was going to be less heavy-handed/feministic? From the final product, and backstage dramas, got the impression it was the other way around.)
I love fairy tales, but I am tired of the message of waiting around for your prince to show up and you'll live happily ever after.
(Yep...Chalk up another Meryl-Streeper who got Snow White wrong.)

As for Pinkava, what I'd heard was that he was taking the Rat movie in the wrong direction--Jan wanted to go more Paris-jazz stylized, and keep Chef Skinner and his frozen-dinner plot as the main antagonist of the movie. You can see what's left of that plot just sort of...go nowhere once the new restaurant-critic plot establishes itself.

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Re: What's known about the Pinkava/Chapman situations?

Post by Jpcase » December 10th, 2014, 5:42 pm

I thought (although I could be wrong) that Pinkava went to Laika.
I took a look at his Wikipedia page - he did a short film with Laika called Little White Lie (here are some details - http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/t ... ttle-20920), but left the studio in 2011 (per his Linkedin page - https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jan-pinkava/2a/aa8/202) I've looked for the film online, but can't find it, so if anyone knows how where it can be viewed, let me know! :)

From there, he and Doug Sweetland (the director of Presto) created a short film called Windy Day for the phone company Motorolla. You can read about that here:

http://www.cgw.com/Press-Center/Siggrap ... gs-Te.aspx
http://www.digitalfish.com/news/150-win ... m-s-uplinq
http://www.wired.com/2013/10/motorola-google-mouse/all/

This film is online (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lszHEu7oxE) and its gorgeous. The above articles make a big deal about how Pinkava used something that had been developed by Pixar called "OpenSubdiv" - I have no idea what that is though. Apparently, if you were to watch the film on a Moto X phone, you could control where the camera focuses and explore parts of the world where the main action of the film isn't happening.

I definitely hope to see Pinkava direct a feature one of these days, but it's nice to see that he's still doing great work.
"Unfocused", I'll believe, but that's the first time I've ever heard Brave's story described as "too complicated". :?
Between the above interview with Chapman and the information from my anonymous source, it seems that one of the biggest problems Disney had with her vision was that it tried to tell two stories - Merida's and Mor'du's. I haven't actually seen Brave since it first came out and have no inclination to rewatch it any time soon, so I'm a little sketchy on just how much of Mor'du's backstory is given in the film. Could someone give me a refresher?

I also had no idea about the Legend of Mor'du short film until all of five minutes ago. I just watched it on YouTube and thought it was pretty cool (better than Brave honestly) - but it is not the same backstory that my source filled me in on. Not sure what that means.
And Chapman was going to be less heavy-handed/feministic? From the final product, and backstage dramas, got the impression it was the other way around.
You might be right - the information that I have is nothing more than a rumor after all. But what I heard is that Merida's big speech about not picking a suitor wasn't even in Chapman's version, and that in fact, Merida would have fallen in love with the dorky blond suitor, who would have been revealed to have a great personality. If this is at all true, then the quote you cited may simply be a reference to the fact that Merida doesn't rely on a man to save her, but takes care of her own problems.

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Re: What's known about the Pinkava/Chapman situations?

Post by EricJ » December 11th, 2014, 12:36 am

Jpcase wrote:
And Chapman was going to be less heavy-handed/feministic? From the final product, and backstage dramas, got the impression it was the other way around.
You might be right - the information that I have is nothing more than a rumor after all. But what I heard is that Merida's big speech about not picking a suitor wasn't even in Chapman's version, and that in fact, Merida would have fallen in love with the dorky blond suitor, who would have been revealed to have a great personality. If this is at all true, then the quote you cited may simply be a reference to the fact that Merida doesn't rely on a man to save her, but takes care of her own problems.
I remember in the big "Merida hates men!" arguments, back during the time when Brenda was throwing a tantrum over the "sexy" character marketing, and fans were debating whether the heroine was a "role model for our daughters" or just a selfish privileged snot, thinking how the character could be more sympathetic:
Suppose, for example--this being the Pixar of odd little character moments--during the archery contest, we caught a shot of one of the #2 sons, who will obviously not get a chance, react to Merida's bullseye with this smitten archery-geek-in-love look of "Oh, wow, she can shoot! :D " Even if nothing ever came of that character beyond just that one reaction shot, it would establish that maybe there are boys that like Merida for her adventurousness, and maybe there are boys she could like even if they weren't the ones she was "supposed" to, and the whole issue really was about not being allowed to follow her heart.

But NO: That wasn't what Brenda had in mind. What she had in mind for Our Daughters was "Don't marry princes, they're jerks!" (Or dolts, or farting old lunatics, or what have you.)
Which explains why it's harder to see story perspective when you're standing on top of a soapbox.
Oh, and for the Nth time, Brenda, Snow White wasn't "sitting around waiting" for a prince, she already had one at the beginning of the movie, and that one even came as a surprise to her.

(There was a well-publicized article by Dani Coleman reality-checking a lot of the feminist idolization of Frozen, and one humorous point she raised was, trivia time: Out of 53 Disney animated movies, exactly HOW many end with a happily-ever-after marriage at the end?
Answer:
click to reveal content
Seven. Little Mermaid, Cinderella and Princess & the Frog constituting the royal marriages, with Robin Hood, Treasure Planet, Wreck-It Ralph and 101 Dalmatians for the commoners. Obviously poisoning the minds of our empowered daughterhood. :roll: )

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Re: What's known about the Pinkava/Chapman situations?

Post by Jpcase » December 11th, 2014, 12:57 am

But NO: That wasn't what Brenda had in mind. What she had in mind for Our Daughters was "Don't marry princes, they're jerks!"
How do you know this for sure? Has she ever said anything explicit to this end?

Oh, and thanks for the Pinkava information. Where did you hear about that?

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Re: What's known about the Pinkava/Chapman situations?

Post by EricJ » December 11th, 2014, 1:05 am

Jpcase wrote:How do you know this for sure? Has she ever said anything explicit to this end?
Her comments in the interview drop a few loud pennies about the above-mentioned "Married princess" urban-legend/stereotype.
Oh, and thanks for the Pinkava information. Where did you hear about that?
Can't recall whether it was Jim Hill or the TAG Blog, but recall that a lot of Pinkava's visual ideas were later recycled for an art storybook.

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