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Peter T Chattaway

Brave

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I don't know of any better place to put this: here's a beautiful article by Roger Ebert on "La Luna," which is definitely one of my favorite Pixar shorts.

Okay, I read this, loved it tremendously, and wrote up a blog post praising Roger Ebert's brilliance...

... only to have somebody write in and tell me that Roger Ebert didn't write it.

He didn't. He uploaded it, but it was written by one of his correspondents.

I haven't rewritten a blog post so fast in my life.

Edited by Overstreet

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Parents' fury after Disney gives Brave heroine Merida 'Victoria's Secret hairdo' and Barbie waist in 'sexy' princess makeover

Merida, the feisty Disney princess with a frizzy mop of red hair and a knack for archery, was a welcome role model for little girls when Pixar released Brave last year.

But the spunky heroine, who will officially be crowned Disney's 11th princess on Saturday, has undergone a royal makeover which has left mothers furious and frustrated.

Merida's springy curls have been smoothed out into neat waves, her waist is thinner, eyes wider, cheekbones higher; and most importantly, she has lost her trusty bow and arrow. . . .

Daily Mail, May 9

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Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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Animation Magazine interviews Brenda Chapman:

You said
Brave
is your dearest and most difficult film, and still feels as your film.

I had the fear they would change the characters a lot when I left. It was truly my biggest fear that they would ruin it. The project is very dear to me, because it is inspired by my daughter. But they put a lot of my work and intention back in for the characters and story. In the bigger picture it is very much what I had. They didn’t ruin the movie.

How do you watch it?

It is still painful, sometimes, to see the changes they made. It still hurts a little and probably always will.

Could you ever return to Pixar?

That door is closed. I made the right decision to leave and firmly closed that door. I have no desire to go back there. The atmosphere and the leadership doesn’t fit well with me.
Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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The Quiet Force Behind DreamWorks

GLENDALE, Calif. — Inside a modest upstairs office at DreamWorks Animation here — the one next to a framed poster reading “You’ve Got the Goods, Step Out and Show ’Em!” — sits one of the film industry’s most important executives. His name is Bill Damaschke.

Never heard of him? Neither has most of Hollywood.

Mr. Damaschke, 49, is chief creative officer at DreamWorks Animation, which means that he runs the factory floor, working with directors, writers and artists to deliver hits like “Kung Fu Panda,” “How to Train Your Dragon” and the “Madagascar” movies. . . .

While Mr. Katzenberg is working on a new TV endeavor, an entertainment complex in Shanghai and indoor theme parks in Russia, Mr. Damaschke (pronounced DAH-mash-kee) is increasingly calling the creative shots. “As someone who really doesn’t like attention, I feel almost uncomfortable saying this, but that is true,” Mr. Damaschke said last month. “We put things in front of Jeffrey less frequently.” . . .

There are several reasons behind the shift. While DreamWorks Animation’s original formula kept delivering hits, ticket buyers started to show fatigue. Neither the sassy “Monsters vs. Aliens” in 2009 nor the cheeky “Megamind” in 2010 were strong enough at the box office to quickly spawn hoped-for sequels. Mr. Damaschke began urging his filmmakers to think more about heartfelt moments.

“Bill’s notes almost always attend to the emotional point of the story,” said Chris Sanders, who codirected “The Croods” with Kirk DeMicco. “He will stop us dead in our tracks and say, ‘But how does that character feel about this?’ Jeffrey, who we honestly don’t see that much, despite what everyone thinks, attends more to the audacity of the film.”

DreamWorks Animation’s shift was also designed to woo more top people to the company. The writer-director Noah Baumbach helped write the screenplay for last year’s “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.” Rob Minkoff, who codirected “The Lion King,” is at the helm of “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.”

Brenda Chapman, who won an Oscar for Pixar’s “Brave,” in recent weeks has returned to DreamWorks Animation.

“I left in part because I felt like I was being asked to do the same story over and over,” said Ms. Chapman, who codirected “The Prince of Egypt” for the studio in 1998, but later moved to Pixar. “I look at the movies DreamWorks is doing now, and I see the exact opposite happening.”

She was pushed out of Pixar after clashing with that studio’s chief creative officer, John Lasseter. Although she could have joined another studio, she said she chose to return to Glendale in part because of Mr. Damaschke, who started at DreamWorks Animation in 1995 as a production assistant on “The Prince of Egypt.”

“As Jeffrey has gained experience and age, and DreamWorks has grown, he has stepped back and allowed other people to run creative,” Ms. Chapman said. “At Pixar, it’s all John’s show.” She added of DreamWorks Animation, “you can butt heads here and not be punished for it, unlike at another place I could name.” . . .

New York Times, July 15

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Life After Pixar: An Interview with Brenda Chapman
Brenda Chapman: Well, I had learned on Brave never to give any of my ideas to a studio again. That was a lesson very much learned. I tried to make a deal with DreamWorks where I would have some ownership for a film or some connection to it, at least to the point where they couldn’t take me off my own movie. But film studios are just too greedy in that way so I didn’t give them any of my ideas. However, I said, ‘If you have anything in your coffers, I’d be happy to work with you.’
Which is what I did – I helped develop a project called Rumblewick which was based on a children’s book. It was so much fun and it was hard to leave it behind when I did, but it wasn’t as heartbreaking as Brave. I don’t think anything will be, because I don’t think I’ll ever let anything I’m so attached to have that vulnerability again.
Cartoon Brew, September 26

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