In a major shakeup, Pixar has replaced almost the entire voice cast of its upcoming animated feature The Good Dinosaur, a project that – not uncommonly for the studio – has gone through much revamping and reconceptualization since it was hatched by Up co-director Bob Peterson (since removed from this film).
Originally, Lucas Neff, Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, Judy Greer, John Lithgow and Frances McDormand were all set to voice characters in the pic, which takes place in a world where dinosaurs never went extinct and follows the friendship between a dino and his pet human boy. Though that broad concept has been in place since the project’s outset, it has reportedly been reimagined extensively.
Now, the new voice cast includes Raymond Ochoa as an Apatosaurus named Arlo; Jeffrey Wright as Arlo’s father Poppa; Steve Zahn as pterodactyl Thunderclap; AJ Buckley as T-Rex Nash; Anna Paquin as T-Rex Ramsey; Sam Elliot as “tough” T-Rex Butch; Frances McDormand (remaining) as Arlo’s mother Momma; Marcus Scribner as Arlo’s brother Buck; and Jack Bright as Arlo’s human friend Spot.
It can’t have been an easy call to replace almost everyone in the voice cast after dialogue had already been recorded, but that just speaks to the intensity of the studio’s desire to get this film perfect.
Pixar’s track record is pretty exemplary, and with Inside Out getting rave reviews ahead of its theatrical bow next week, the studio is certainly on an upswing (previous features Cars 2, Brave and Monsters University had many complaining that Pixar, while still solid, had lost some of its magic). Here’s hoping that The Good Dinosaur continues that trend and doesn’t send Pixar’s reputation sinking slightly down again.
Peter Sohn, previously co-director with Peterson, has been upgraded to director on The Good Dinosaur following the story revisions. The pic is set to open November 25.