Bird at the Venice Film Festival, September 2009
Phillip Bradley Bird
September 24, 1957
Kalispell, Montana, U.S.
|Alma mater||California Institute of the Arts (BFA)|
Phillip Bradley Bird (born September 24, 1957) is an American animator, director, screenwriter, producer and voice actor, best known for his animated feature films The Iron Giant (1999), The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007), and Incredibles 2 (2018). His live action films are Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) and Tomorrowland (2015).
Bird developed a love for the art of animation at an early age and was mentored by Milt Kahl, one of Disney's reputed Nine Old Men. He was part of one of the earliest graduating classes of the California Institute of the Arts alongside John Lasseter and Tim Burton. Afterward, Bird worked as an animator for Disney in A Goofy Movie (1995) and The Black Cauldron (1985) and wrote the screenplay for Batteries Not Included (1987).
Bird served as a creative consultant on The Simpsons during its first eight seasons, where he helped develop the show's animation style.
Bird directed his first animated feature film, The Iron Giant, in 1999. Although it fared poorly at the box office, it came to be regarded as a modern animated classic. He rejoined John Lasseter at Pixar in 2000, where he developed his second animated film, The Incredibles (2004). He directed his third film, Ratatouille, in 2007. Both films place among Pixar's highest-grossing features and gave Bird two Academy Award for Best Animated Feature wins and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay nominations. In 2011, Bird directed his first live action film, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which was a critical and commercial success. His second live action film, Tomorrowland, starring George Clooney, was released in May 2015, to mixed reviews and less commercial success. In 2018, Incredibles 2 was released, which Bird wrote and directed. Like its predecessor, the film was a critical and box office success.
Bird was born in Kalispell, Montana, the youngest of four children of Marjorie A. (née Cross) and Philip Cullen Bird. His father worked in the propane business, and his grandfather, Francis Wesley "Frank" Bird, who was born in County Sligo, Ireland, was a president and chief executive of the Montana Power Company. On a tour of the Walt Disney Studios at age 11, he met Frank Thomas & Ollie Johnston and announced that someday he would become part of Disney's animation team. Soon afterward he began work on his own 15-minute animated short. Within two years, Bird had completed his animation, which impressed Disney. By age 14, barely in high school, Bird was mentored by the animator Milt Kahl, one of Disney's Nine Old Men. After graduating from Corvallis High School in Corvallis, Oregon in 1975, Bird took a three-year break from animation. He was then awarded a scholarship by Disney to attend California Institute of the Arts, where he met and befriended another future animator, Pixar co-founder and director John Lasseter.
Upon graduating from the California Institute of the Arts, Bird began working for Disney. He worked as an animator on The Small One (1978), The Fox and the Hound (1981), The Black Cauldron (1985) albeit uncredited. While animating at Disney, he became a part of a small group of animators who worked in a suite of offices inside the original animation studio called the "Rat's Nest", which was pejoratively dubbed by animator Don Bluth during production of The Small One. There, he would vocally criticize the upper management for not taking risks on animation and playing it safe. During the middle of production of The Fox and the Hound, Bird was fired by animation administrator Ed Hansen.
He next worked on animated television series, with much shorter lead times. He was the creator (writer, director, and co-producer) of the Family Dog episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories. In addition, Bird co-wrote the screenplay for the live-action film Batteries Not Included. In 1989, Bird joined Klasky Csupo, where he helped to develop The Simpsons from one-minute shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show into a series of half-hour programs. In 1990, he directed the episode "Krusty Gets Busted" (which marked the first speaking role of Sideshow Bob) and co-directed the Season Three episode "Like Father, Like Clown." He served as an executive consultant for the show for its first eight seasons. Also while at Klasky Csupo, he was one of the animators of the Rugrats pilot "Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing." He worked on several other animated television series, including The Critic and King of the Hill, before pitching Warner Brothers to write and direct the animated film The Iron Giant. Despite receiving near-universal acclaim from critics, it failed at the box office due to lack of marketing and promotion from Warner Bros. He was then hired by Steve Jobs who wanted him to work for Pixar. Bird pitched the idea for The Incredibles to Pixar. In the finished picture, Bird also provides the voice of costume designer Edna Mode. As an inside joke, the character Syndrome was based on Bird's likeness (as was Mr. Incredible) and according to him, he did not realize the joke until the movie was too far into production to have it changed. The film, written and directed by Bird, was released in 2004 to major critical and financial success. As a result, Bird won his first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and his screenplay was nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
In the middle of 2005, Bird was asked by the Pixar management team to write and direct Ratatouille, which Jan Pinkava had been in charge of at the time. This change was announced in March 2006 during a Disney shareholders meeting. The film was released in 2007, and was another critical and box office success for Bird. Ratatouille won the Best Animated Feature award at the 2008 Golden Globes; it was also nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature and Best Original Screenplay. On February 24, 2008, Ratatouille won Bird his second Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
Bird has spoken passionately about animation as an art form. When Bird and producer John Walker recorded the Director's Commentary for The Incredibles' DVD, he jokingly offered to punch the next person that he heard call animation a genre instead of an art form. Bird believes animation can be used to tell any kind of story – drama or comedy, for an adult audience or children. In July 2018, Bird doubled down on his views that just because a movie is animated does not mean it is just for kids when he called out concerned parents over Twitter for referring to Incredibles 2 as a “kids movie”, saying, “With all due respect, it is NOT a 'kids movie.' It is animated, and rated PG.” Later in November 2018, Bird called out iTunes for classifying both Incredibles movies as “kids movies” saying, “Our classification should be no different than adventure films from Marvel or Lucasfilm just because we're animated. What would you call sexism or racism for an art form? Medium-ism?”
Before he was sidetracked by Ratatouille, Bird began work on a film adaptation of James Dalessandro's novel 1906, which would be his first live-action project. In March 2008, Bird resumed work on the film, which is a co-production between Pixar and Warner Bros. The novel, narrated by reporter Annalisa Passarelli, examines police officers battling corruption in the government that causes the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to turn into such a disaster. The script was co-written by John Logan. Blogger Jim Hill suggested the film has been on hold due to Disney / Pixar and Warner Bros.' nervousness over the projected $200 million budget. In May 2010, with 1906 apparently still stalled, Bird signed on as the director of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, produced by Tom Cruise and J. J. Abrams. The collaboration was suggested by Tom Cruise following the release of The Incredibles, and was created with the help of J.J. Abrams, who sent Bird a late night text message saying "Mission?". The film was an international hit, grossing almost $700 million.
Bird directed and co-wrote Disney's science fiction film Tomorrowland (2015), whose screenplay was co-written with Damon Lindelof. Bird returned to Pixar to write and direct Incredibles 2 (2018). Released 14 years after The Incredibles (2004), the sequel received critical acclaim and was a box office success.
On January 6, 2019, Bird, during a red carpet interview for the BAFTA Tea Party, announced he was working with frequent collaborator Michael Giacchino on an original musical film that will contain about 20 minutes of animation in it.
Bird and his wife Elizabeth have three sons. One of his sons, Nicholas, was the voice of Squirt in Finding Nemo. Another son, Michael, voiced Tony Rydinger in The Incredibles and its sequel.
In 1998, during production of The Iron Giant, Bird's older sister, Susan, was shot and killed by her estranged husband in a murder-suicide. While coping with the tragedy, Bird decided to adjust the story of the film to include a message of anti-gun violence, and dedicated the film to her.
Contrary to popular beliefs, Bird denies his films being influenced by Ayn Rand's objectivism though he claims he had been drawn to Rand’s work in his younger years but states that, "Me being the Ayn Rand guy is a lazy piece of criticism." He has praised Disney's use of hand-drawn animation and the work of Hayao Miyazaki.
|Year||Title||Director||Writer||Producer||Voice Actor||Animator||Voice Role||Notes|
|1982||The Plague Dogs||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|1985||The Black Cauldron||No||No||No||No||Uncredited|
|1987||Batteries Not Included||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|1999||The Iron Giant||Yes||Story||No||Additional||Additional||Singer: "Duck and Cover" sequence||Feature directorial debut|
Animator on Hogarth drinking espresso
|2004||The Incredibles||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||Edna Mode (E)||Brain Trust - uncredited|
|2007||Ratatouille||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||Ambrister Minion/Waiter (Teaser)|
|2011||Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Jurassic World||No||No||No||Yes||No||Monorail Announcer|
|2018||Incredibles 2||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||Edna Mode (E)/Additional Voices||Song Lyrics: "Frozone"|
Senior Creative Team
Senior Creative Team Only
|2008||WALL-E||Senior Creative Team|
|2010||Toy Story 3|
|The Good Dinosaur|
|2019||Toy Story 4|
|1979||Doctor of Doom||No||No||No||Yes||Voice role: Don Carlo, Bystander|
|1983||Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore||No||No||No||Yes||Uncredited animator|
|Mickey's Christmas Carol||No||No||No||Yes|
|Mr. Incredible and Pals: Commentary Edition||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Vowellett - An Essay by Sarah Vowell||No||No||Yes||No|
|2006||One Man Band||No||No||Yes||No|
|2007||Your Friend the Rat||No||No||Yes||No|
|2018||Auntie Edna||No||No||Yes||Yes||Voice role: Edna Mode|
- Technological Threat (1988)
- The Spirit, an animated feature Bird developed with Jerry Rees and producer Gary Kurtz, based on Will Eisner's acclaimed comic strip. The studios they pitched it to liked the script, but were unwilling to take the gamble on an animated feature for the adult audience.
- Ray Gunn, a project that he was working on at Turner Feature Animation before he got pulled for The Iron Giant and TFA merging with Warner Feature Animation. A script has been made with Matthew Robbins but was never animated. Even though lost, Bird has expressed interest in resurrecting the project.
- The Incredible Mr. Limpet, a project that is still in development hell. Bird was attached to direct at one point but was replaced by Mike Judge and many others.
- Curious George, wrote a draft of the film at one point, but his script was not used in the produced version.
- The Simpsons Movie, the crew from The Simpsons including Matt Groening and James L. Brooks were hoping to get Bird to direct, but was too busy with Ratatouille at the time. David Silverman, who was also working at Pixar at the time and quit his job after finishing work on Monsters, Inc., became the film's director.
- 1906, a collaborative project from Warner Brothers and Pixar (which could have been their first live-action project), in association with Walt Disney Pictures, where Bird would have directed. Disney and Pixar left the project in 2012 in development limbo at Warner Bros. due to delays in the film's several planned releases, several rejected scripts were not picked up, and going over budget ($200 million). However as of June 2018[update], Bird has expressed interest as to adapt the book as a TV series and the earthquake sequence as a live-action feature film.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Bird was on a shortlist of directors to direct the seventh Star Wars film. He passed on the project in favor of Tomorrowland; The Force Awakens was directed by J. J. Abrams.
|1983||Garfield on the Town||Animator|
|1985–1987||Amazing Stories||Writer of episode: "The Main Attraction"|
Director, writer and animation producer of episode: "Family Dog"
|1989–1998||The Simpsons||Executive consultant and directed episodes: "Krusty Gets Busted", "22 Short Films About Springfield", and "Like Father, Like Clown"|
Episode: "Tommy Pickles and The Great White Thing"
|1994–1995||The Critic||Executive consultant|
|1997||King of the Hill||Creative consultant and visual consultant|
|1990||Do the Bartman||Director and storyboard artist|
|2004||The Incredibles||Edna Mode|
|The Incredibles: When Danger Calls|
|2018||Lego The Incredibles|
Critical response to films Bird has directed:
|The Iron Giant||96%||85||A|
|Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol||93%||73||A-|
In addition to his Academy Award, BAFTA Award and Saturn Award wins, Bird holds the record of the most animation Annie Award wins with eight, winning both Best Directing and Best Writing for each of The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille, as well as Best Voice Acting for The Incredibles. His eighth Annie was the 2011 Winsor McCay Award for lifetime contribution to animation.
- "Director Brad Bird (R) and spouse Elizabeth Canney pose for a photo at the premiere of Disney's Tomorrowland in Anaheim, California on May 9, 2015". gettyimages.com. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
- Berens, Jessica (September 29, 2007). "Ratatouille: Year of the rat". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Brad Bird ancestry". Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
- Gaiser, Heidi (November 12, 2004). "Kalispell Native is the Superhero Behind "The Incredibles"". Daily Inter Lake. Archived from the original on May 25, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
- Canemaker, John (August 8, 1999). "FILM; A Disney Dissenter Shuns Song and Dance". The New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
- Korkis, Jim (February 7, 2014). "Animation Anecdotes #148". Cartoon Research. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
- Petrakis, John (September 3, 1999). "'Iron Giant' Director Bird Got Animated Start With Disney". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
- Huddleston, Jr., Tom (June 15, 2018). "How 'Incredibles 2' director Brad Bird got his start at Disney". CNBC.
- Gigaom | Pixar's Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation
- Brad Bird (January 19, 2008). "Not My Job: NPR". Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!. Retrieved January 27, 2009.
- "Brad Bird". Montana Kids. Montana Office of Tourism. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Chapman, Tom (July 4, 2018). "Brad Bird Insists Incredibles 2 Is NOT a 'Kids Movie'". Comic Book Resources.
- Amidi, Amid (July 3, 2018). "Brad Bird: 'Incredibles 2' Is NOT A Kids Movie". Cartoon Brew.
- Nolan, L.D. (November 17, 2018). "Incredibles 2: Brad Bird Disagrees With iTunes Classification". Comic Book Resources.
- El-Mahmoud, Sarah. "Brad Bird Says Incredibles 2 Is Not A 'Kids Movie' And Should Be Reclassified". CinemaBlend.
- Utichi, Joe (October 26, 2007). "Brad Bird Takes RT Through Ratatouille". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
- Sciretta, Peter (March 13, 2008). "Pixar teams with Warner Bros for Brad Bird's 1906". /Film. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
- Hill, Jim (February 10, 2009). ""Incredibles" sequel is stalled until Bird can get "1906" off the ground". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved February 11, 2009.
- Kit, Borys (March 24, 2010). "'Incredibles' helmer on 'Mission: Impossible IV' list (exclusive)". Heat Vision. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
- Barnes, Brooks (December 9, 2011). "His Mission: Telling Stories to Grown-Ups". New York Times.
- "Brad Bird's 1952 is Now Tomorrowland". ComingSoon.net. January 28, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
- Chitwood, Adam (May 3, 2012). "Brad Bird to Direct Disney's Large-Scale Mystery Film 1952, Written by Damon Lindelof". Collider. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
- Amidi, Amid (January 6, 2019). "Brad Bird Reveals His Next Project, And It's Not What You'd Expect". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
- "Nicholas Bird". behindthevoiceactors.com. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
- "See The Voices Behind Your Favorite 'Finding Nemo' Characters". ew.com. May 31, 2016. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
- Meszoros, Mark (June 15, 2018). "'Incredibles 2' a dazzling sequel". Journal Advocate. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Todd VanDerWerff, Emily. "Why Incredibles director Brad Bird gets compared to Ayn Rand — and why he shouldn't be". Vox. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
- Lamble, Ryan. "Brad Bird responds to critics of Incredibles and Tomorrowland". denofgeek.com. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
- Jacques, Adam. "Brad Bird interview: The director on his love for hand-drawn dogs, misunderstanding the B52s, and turning down Star Wars". The Independent. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
- "The Iron Giant commentary". Warner Home Video.
- Paul Leiva, Steven. "'The Spirit' movie that could have been", Los Angeles Times - Hero Complex, Dec. 12, 2008
- Fiamma, Andrea (April 15, 2015). "Il trailer del film di Spirit mai realizzato da Brad Bird" (in Italian). Fumettologica. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
- "The Making of The Iron Giant". Warner Bros. Archived from the original on March 21, 2006. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
- Linder, Brian (July 31, 2001). "Grazer Curious About CG George". IGN. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
- Olly Richards (May 24, 2007). "Homer's Odyssey". Empire. pp. 72–78.
- Christopher Orr (June 22, 2012). "'Brave': A Disappointment Worth Seeing". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
- Gardner, Eric (February 15, 2012). "Warner Bros. Wins 'Last Samurai' Lawsuit". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
- Fischer, Russ (January 27, 2010). "What Happened to Brad Bird's 1906?". Slashfilm. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
- Bastoli, Mike. "'1906' to be Disney/Pixar/Warner Bros. collaboration". March 13, 2008. Big Screen Animation. Archived from the original on December 8, 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
- Adam Chitwood (June 18, 2018). "Brad Bird Says '1906' May Get Made as an "Amalgam" of a TV and Film Project". Collider. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Bernardin, Marc (May 16, 2013). "Brad Bird on 'Incredibles' Sequel: 'I Would Probably Wanna Do That' (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- "T-Meter Rating of 'The Iron Giant'". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- "The Iron Giant Reviews, Ratings, Credits". Metacritic. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- "T-Meter Rating of 'The Incredibles'". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- "The Incredibles Reviews, Ratings, Credits". Metacritic. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- "T-Meter Rating of 'Ratatouille'". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- "Ratatouille Reviews, Ratings, Credits". Metacritic. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- "T-Meter Rating of 'Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol'". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Reviews, Ratings, Credits". Metacritic. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- "Tomorrowland (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "Tomorrowland Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
- "Incredibles 2 (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "Incredibles 2 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- "Brad Bird (I) Awards". IMDb. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Brad Bird|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Brad Bird.|
- Brad Bird on IMDb
- Brad Bird Interview at IGN
- DVD Talk: Interview with Brad Bird about The Incredibles
- Brad Bird premieres and discusses the development of "The Incredibles" with CalArts' Character Animation Program
- Brad Bird Interview (Ratatouille)
- The Art of Making Pixar's Ratatouille Interviews with Harley Jessup, Sharon Calahan and Brad Bird accompany an article on the making of the film.
- Brad Bird Interview at Blu-ray.com Interview regarding the release of Ratatouille on Blu-ray.