‘Ghost Protocol’ Cast Bios: Academy Award Winning Writer/Director Brad Bird Tackles The Next ‘Mission: Impossible’

To date, the TomCruise.com team has profiled Simon Pegg (as ‘Benji Dunn’), Jeremy Renner (as ‘Brandt’) and Paula Patton (as ‘Jane Carter’). The cast also features ‘M:I’ newcomers, Josh Holloway and Tom Wilkinson but we thought it was time for you to meet a key member of the behind-the-scenes crew, director Brad Bird.

After winning two Oscars for his animated films, (‘The Incredibles’ and ‘Ratatouille’), Brad decided to ‘go big or go home,’ making his live-action directorial debut with the action-packed spy thriller, ‘Ghost Protocol.’ Following the October 2010 press conference where Tom announced the Mission: Impossible ‘Ghost Protocol’ film title, Brad and Tom discuss how they came to work together on ‘M:I’ as well as the excitement of filming in Dubai.

Although Brad has been honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, even Oscar winning directors may be subject to hazing on a new film set. When your cast features a professional comedian and an A-list action hero, things are bound to get interesting! In what was called “one of the year’s most excellent pranks” by ‘Wired Magazine,” Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg held Brad “hostage” as he accepted a Winsor McCay lifetime achievement award during the 38th annual Annie Awards ceremony. To see the “situation” as it unfolded, watch the video below…

All kidding aside, J.J. Abrams, who is co-producing the film with Tom, is “thrilled” with Brad’s work on the fourth installment of the ‘Mission: Impossible’ series. J.J. enthusiastically explained to MTV News that Brad is a gifted storyteller, “a filmmaker who has happened to use animation as a medium, but it’s his filmmaking and his characters and his rhythm and his comedy, the action he can do, it’s just the humanity that he’s done that comes through in movies that have happened to be animated.”

Watching Brad Bird work his storytelling magic on ‘Ghost Protocol’ thrills ‘Wired Magazine’ too and it named the film one of 2011′s Most Intriguing Movies!

“Use every part of the buffalo.”

-Brad Bird

Born on September 24, 1957, Phillip Bradley Bird grew up in the scenic state of Montana, which may account for his use of the above mentioned buffalo analogy. As Brad explains it during his Annie Awards profile, the American Indians used every part of a buffalo that they had killed, so when he asks people to “use every part of the buffalo,” he is really asking them to maximize every element or opportunity in order to make the most of it.

Using “every part of the buffalo,” Brad has made the most of the opportunities that have come his way since graduating from the California Institute of the Arts with a BFA in 1979.  In fact, it was during his time in the character animation program at Cal Arts that he met his friend and future collaborator, John Lasseter.

After working as an animator on the 1980 television program, ‘Animalympicsand 1981 film, ‘The Fox and the Hound,’ Brad began to hit his professional stride as an actor, animation producer and director on the Steven Spielberg anthology series, ‘Amazing Stories.’ But it was a smart-aleck boy with a dysfunctional family that gave Brad his big break. That boy was Bart Simpson and as an ‘executive consultant,’ Brad Bird helped turn ‘The Simpsons’ from a series of one-minute features on ‘The Tracey Ullman Show’ into one of the longest-running television series in history.

With the success of ‘The Simpsons,’ it wasn’t too long before Brad started focusing his talents on the big screen, making his directorial film debut with a movie he co-wrote, ‘The Iron Giant.’ The coming-of-age animated film caught the attention of his old friend, John Lasseter. One of the founders of Pixar, John served as executive producer on Brad’s films, ‘The Incredibles and ‘Ratatouille,’ both of which won Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year.

During a ‘Good Morning America’ interview Brad explained that he related to the rat in ‘Ratatouille’ because he too had been frequently told his dreams weren’t realistic. But as you might expect from someone named one of the ‘The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood’ by ‘Entertainment Weekly’ (a list that also includes J.J. Abrams), Brad found a way to make his dream of creating animated films a reality.

Watch the entire ‘Good Morning America’ interview here…

Not one to rest on his laurels, Brad started gearing up for his next challenge, directing live-action movies. Seeing no reason to restrict himself to one genre, Brad told ‘Time Out London’ that he would be happy to move into directing live-action films because “all film is about creating a ‘reality’ that is not ‘real’ but is believable. That, to me, is the magnet. I have some stories that I have to tell that are for animation, some that are for live-action, and some that are a blend of the two. It’s all film. I love it all. I love film.”

Though there are challenges in both animated and live-action films, Brad told ‘Entertainment Weekly,’ “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.”

Based on what we saw in the ‘Ghost Protocol’ trailer, Brad has created a lighting storm! Join the TomCruise.com team in showing Brad some love for his live-action film debut on  TwitterFacebookOrkut or Weibo.

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