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Insane Brad Bird Anecdote

Patton Oswalt was on Best Show On WFMU With Tom Scharpling tonight (only two more episodes to go!) and he related a truly mind-numbing story from Brad Bird about the abandoned Incredible Mr. Limpet remake starring Jim Carrey that Warner Bros. was developing in the late '90s/early '00s. Apparently the initial plan was to follow the original, with the surface scenes shot in live action and the undersea sequences rendered in a mix of traditional cel animation and CGI (similar to Bird's Iron Giant). One of Bird's earliest test reels featured Carrey transforming from a live-action human into an animated fish, much like Don Knotts in the 1964 film. But at the time Carrey's asking price per movie was $25 million, and studios figured that if Carrey appeared for much of the movie in cartoon form he'd be getting a free ride for what amounted to mostly voicework. Also, they decided that audiences really wanted to see Carrey, or at least his face. So the studio blew $10 million developing a custom mo-cap rig that would allow Carrey's face — and just his face — to be placed on the front of a cartoon fish body. The result was so horrifying, Bird told Oswalt, that if you saw Mr. Limpet emerge from the water, "you would run in terror, thinking the world was ending."


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