Both filmmaker Taika Waititi and Netflix have pulled out of “Bubbles,” the upcoming stop-motion animated film which was to follow the life of pop star Michael Jackson through the eyes of his pet chimpanzee.
Cartoon Brew first broke the news, a source indicating producers are figuring out how to resuscitate the now cancelled project. The film had been in pre-production at animation-focused production company Starburns Industries (“Anomalisa”) which was co-founded by Dan Harmon.
Isaac Adamson’s spec screenplay topped the 2015 Black List and was acquired by Netflix at Cannes in 2017 for an astonishing $20 million. At the time Waititi and Mark Gustafson were set to co-direct but Gustafson soon after departed and is now co-directing “Pinocchio” with Guillermo del Toro for Netflix.
Waititi’s busy schedule is said to be the culprit and once he exited Netflix opted to follow as he was the main draw for them. It’s also thought the shocking abuse allegations made in the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland” may have also played a part in the collapse of the project.
Waititi has an awards-season release of his new film “Jojo Rabbit” on the way along with producing the “What We Do in the Shadows” FX series, directing the pilot for a “Time Bandits” series at Apple, and readying to helm the live-action “Akira” film which needs to begin shooting relatively soon to retain a tax credit it received last month and meet its just announced May 14th 2021 release.