I met Brad Bird today and it was a truly wonderful moment
Today I queued up in the Disney Store to spend 15 seconds in the company of one of my favourite living filmmakers, Brad Bird. They announced just last night that he’d be appearing — for just one hour — to promote Incredibles 2 and sign a few posters. I cancelled everything. You see, Brad Bird has been a part of my film-loving life more than almost anyone else who makes movies today. Yes, the Coen and Chris Nolan and Richard Linklater are on a par in terms of my adoration, but I wasn’t obsessing over Barton Fink or Before Sunrise when I was a small child.
When my parents bought me the DVD of The Incredibles, which had become one of my favourite films after I saw it in cinemas in December 2004, I discovered who was responsible for this masterpiece. Bird was all over the DVD, co-hosting an introduction to the movie explaining the importance of Widescreen aspect ratio to the viewers, thus inspiring a lifelong passion for correct screen formatting. He also appeared in hours and hours of behind the scenes footage, dominating the animation studios and embodying a specific kind of in-charge creative leadership without seemingly being a dictator or a psychopath that I’ve found very inspiring since.
Three years later came Ratatouille which is, while not quite an Incredibles level classic, an absolute delight with cinema’s greatest depiction of a critic in Peter O’Toole’s Anton Ego, a creation that is 100% original organic Brad Bird. 2011 saw him turn to live-action with Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, the G.O.A.T of modern action movies, and even 2015’s semi-abysmal Tomorrowland holds a special place in my heart and is watched regularly in my household. Brad has probably the most consistent track record of any modern Hollywood director for me, and I haven’t even mentioned The Iron Giant. So it was real genuine privilege to not just share a room with the man, and not just meet him, but to get a seemingly-sincere laugh (upon telling him that when I was 7, I wrote an Incredibles 2 spec script and thanking him for ensuring i’ll never have to adapt it for screen) from the man who wrote Edna Mode’s “No capes” and Frozone’s “Where is my supersuit” and sat inside while Tom Cruise crawled around the exterior of the Burj Khalifa. I’ve made it, folks.