Taika Waititi Leaves The Bubbles Animated Movie

Taika Waititi

by James White |
Published on

After – sorry, we couldn't resist – "bubbling" away in development for a couple of years, it appears that Michael Jackson's chimp-focused stop-motion animated movie Bubbles has hit a bump in its road. Taika Waititi, who had signed on to co-direct the film, has reportedly left the project for scheduling reasons.

Cartoon Brew reports that Waititi has decided to step away because his duties on Warner Bros.' live-action Akira remake will take up all of his available time going forward. Unfortunately for the team of puppeteers and technicians at Starburns industries, who had been conducting tests and gearing up to make the film once the concept was locked, Waititi's departure has provoked backers Netflix to also withdraw. A source told Collider that since the Thor: Ragnarok director was the big draw, it had decided not to move forward with the film.

Isaac Adamson's screenplay chronicles the ape's friendship with Jackson since the King Of Pop adopted him from a Texas research facility and gave him a home at his Neverland ranch in 1983. He lived with the megastar until he became too aggressive (Bubbles, not Jacko) and was moved to a primate sanctuary in Florida, where he still lives. While the project had been moving along, there were also concerns that any Jackson-adjacent narrative could face issues.

Co-director Mark Gustafson had previously left the film to focus on Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio project. Waititi's hitting the ejector seat button doesn't doom the project completely, but it's certainly not a good sign.

As for the director's next film, Jojo Rabbit will be out in the UK on 3 January next year.

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