Brad Bird talks Mission Impossible 4 and 1906

Brad Bird has spoken to Entertainment Weekly about making the change from animation to live action for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol .

In an interview to promote the Blu-ray release of The Incredibles (Region 1, sadly), Bird did answer a couple of questions about M:I 4 , as well as his long-mooted San Francisco earthquake project, 1906 .

When asked about the Ghost Protocol shoot, Bird offered: “It was a very challenging shoot. It’s a big film and we had to move around a lot. We were doing a lot of physical effects live — we weren’t using special effects. And so it was physically a real challenge.’

When it comes to the differences between animation and live-action, he said: “The wonderful thing about animation is you have absolute control over every frame. The nightmare of animation is that you have absolute control over every frame.

“Literally, you have to decide upon everything, and you don’t get anything for free. You can’t go to a location and simply say, “This looks good,” and shoot there.

“You have to discuss what kind of trees, is it a railyard, how wide are the tracks, are the tracks new or old? The amount of planning you have to do is just jaw-dropping.”

“But there are pleasures to be had in both mediums. With live-action, you’re trying to catch little moments of lightning in a bottle. In animation you’re trying to do that too, but you’re doing it one volt at a time.”

Bird also confirmed the Cruiser’s crazy commitment to the skyscraper stunt (“He did dangle! That’s not a special effect.”), and went on to say a little about real-life earthquake story 1906 .

When asked if that would be his next project, he said: “I don’t know. It’s all about getting the story to work, and the canvas is so big on it that it’s easy to bust down its movie-sized walls and go rampaging throughout the countryside.

“The problem has always been scaling it and containing it in a movie-sized length. It’s really a movie that wants to be a miniseries. But if you did it as a miniseries, then you’d have to do it for the small screen, and the story demands to be told on a big screen.

“So we’re still working on it.”

It’s extremely appetite-whetting to hear that Bird has been keeping the action in M:I 4 very physical and real. Having made some of the finest animated movies of recent years ( The Iron Giant , The Incredibles , Ratatouille ), we can’t wait to see what he can do with an action movie.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol , starring Cruise, Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner, is set to open on 16 December 2011, so hopefully we’ll clap eyes on a trailer soon.

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