He directed the worldwide hit “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” the fourth installment of the Tom Cruise-starring franchise, which netted nearly $700 million globally. Before that, he won Oscars® for writing and directing the Academy® Award–winning Pixar Animation Studios films “Ratatouille” and “The Incredibles.” Now, Brad Bird brings to the screen a film inspired by the visionary and pioneering mind of Walt Disney himself – “Tomorrowland.”
“Walt Disney was constantly innovating,” says director Brad Bird in admiration. “He was never afraid to be the first to do something. He was among the very first in animation to introduce sound and color. When he started working on Disneyland everyone thought he was insane. Disney was forever jumping out of planes and then improvising a parachute on the way down. He was excited about things like space travel; all you have to do is look at those specials he did with Ward Kimball in the late fifties to see that Walt was really excited about the idea of progress. He had a massive curiosity and `Tomorrowland’ represents that.”
Bird adds, “One of Disney’s quotes was, ‘I don’t make movies to make money; I make money to make movies.’ Was he a perfect guy? No. But when you look at how much he accomplished in his lifetime it’s just staggering. So I view him as an innovator. He had a very proactive and positive view of the future. I like to think that this film is something that he would enjoy.”
“’Tomorrowland’ is a quintessential Disney movie,” says executive producer Jeff Jensen, who is credited with story by with Bird & Damon Lindelof. “ It is steeped in the values of Walt Disney: you’re going to see some amazing special effects and very innovative storytelling. And we’ve tried to remain true to the spirit embodied in places like Tomorrowland and Epcot—places Walt imagined would constantly develop new ideas for the future. Walt and his work was constantly changing, constantly evolving because in his mind the future was never fixed; the future is a project that is never done.”
Lindelof and Jensen wrote a detailed story draft, then Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof went out for lunch and, according to Lindelof, “It turned out that Brad knew quite a bit about Walt Disney and the hook was in. Brad and I started writing together from that point on.”
It is true that writer/director Brad Bird is no stranger to the world of Disney and it isn’t just from working on his previous films. When he was 11, Bird developed an interest in animation and visited the Disney Studios. Over the course of three years he finished a 15-minute animated film that came to the attention of Disney Animation, who offered to assign a mentor—the famous Master Animator Milt Kahl—to the then 14 year old. Bird stayed with a family friend in Los Angeles to take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime offer.
Commenting on the story for “Tomorrowland,” Bird says, “It’s a very untraditional story and the protagonists are atypical. It’s a chance to do to work on a grand scale but do something that hopefully will be very surprising. It embodies both aspects of the future—the scary and the wondrous—both of which are somewhat unknowable, so it’s an interesting ride.”
“Tomorrowland” promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of non-stop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of.
Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (George Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world—and them—forever.
Opening across the Philippines on Friday, May 22, “Tomorrowland” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.