Put down those noisemakers -- Pixar's boys' club remains.
Over the last fifteen years, Pixar has established itself as a cartoon power house, offering up classics like 'Toy Story,' 'Monsters, Inc.,' 'Ratatouille' and 'Up.' Unfortunately, they're also a notorious boys' club, each feature being directed by men, and mainly focusing on boys. A few years ago, however, it looked like the status quo was changing, as the studio announced their first female-directed film, 'The Bear and the Bow,' now called 'Brave.'
For a while the news traveled under the general radar, until it gained steam again last month, with more folks celebrating Pixar's big news. But it looks like the celebration was premature since new reports claim that Brenda Chapman is no longer the director of 'Brave.'
Sources have told Cartoon Brew that Chapman ('The Prince of Egypt') is no longer working on the film -- and that she was, in fact, "pushed aside from full directing a while back" -- and has subsequently left the studio. Story artist Mark Andrews is said to have taken over the director's chair, with the official change happening last week.
The site rightly notes that "directorial shake-ups happen so frequently at other feature animation studios that they hardly merit reporting," but it's a different scenario when Chapman's involvement was such a noteworthy moment for the studio. Chances are, Pixar didn't say: "You have a vagina! You must leave!," but it does lead to questions. What forced Chapman out of the chair? Were there no woman that could have replaced her and swiftly negated any commentary about sex and gender? It certainly wasn't a case of a more experienced hand becoming a necessity. Andrews has a lot of storyboard work, and for that matter, random work across many behind-the-scenes aspects, but his directorial work is relegated to two shorts.
Assuming Brew's sources are correct, that means Pixar's boys' club is still very much in tact. No, many audience members don't care because their films are so solid, but the studio is certainly sticking out with their directorial choices. DreamWorks' second feature was their first female-directed foray, Chapman's 'The Prince of Egypt.' Even better, Sony Pictures Animation kicked things off with a female director -- Jill Culton and 'Open Season.'
But now Pixar is at 12 and no women in sight. The only possible plus to this -- it'd be great to see a new Pixar feature announced soon, directed by a woman, with no princesses in the lead or supporting roles. But for now, Pixar's not looking so 'Brave.'