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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Paramount Fires ‘Amusement Park’ Director Over ‘Inappropriate and Unwanted Conduct’

Dylan Brown, an animator on Pixar movies such as The Incredibles and Monsters Inc., was making his feature directorial debut.

CREDIT: Neil Rasmus/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

Dylan Brown has been fired as director of Paramount Animation & Nickelodeon Movies' upcoming theatrical movie Amusement Park due to complaints of "inappropriate and unwanted conduct," The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Paramount launched an investigation following complaints that were corroborated by multiple women, a source with ties to the project said. The alleged conduct included touching and caressing, according to a source.

Brown was let go a week and a half ago after Paramount’s investigation.

“We are committed to fostering a safe and professional workplace that is free of harassment or inappropriate conduct, so we take allegations of misconduct and impropriety very seriously," a studio rep said Tuesday in a statement. "We received allegations of inappropriate and unwanted conduct by Dylan Brown in the workplace and we conducted a thorough investigation, and he is no longer employed by the company.”

At this time, no specific details behind the multiple allegations have been disclosed. One source claims that Brown was accused of making sexually charged comments that were inappropriate for the workplace, and that there were alleged instances of unwanted touching. It has been confirmed that none of the female voice talent working on the film were part of those accusing the director of misconduct.

This move by Paramount is certainly in the best interest of the studio, especially when dealing with the release of an animated film geared towards families. Any controversy surrounding the movie could not only hurt box office, but future working relationships for the studio. It’s important for Hollywood to keep weeding out people like this from the industry.

Amusement Park preview at Nickelodeon upfront 2017

Written by Lino DiSalvo, Amusement Park is well into the production process and is set for release on Friday 15th March 2019. The movie has lined up a voice cast that includes Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Jeffrey Tambor, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Mila Kunis, and John Oliver. The film is being animated in Spain by Ilion Animation Studios, the studio that made Planet 51, Mortadelo and Filemon: Mission Implausible.

Pixar veteran Brown worked at the studio for nearly two decades. He started at the studio in 1995, and worked as an animator or supervising animator on films like A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc, Ratatouille, among others. He later became the creative director of the short-lived Pixar Canada in Vancouver. He was making his directorial debut with Amusement Park. He was also set to direct a animated Nickelodeon series based on Amusement Park that was slated to bow in 2019/2020 after the movie’s release. There is no word yet if the situation will affect the series.

Strangely, it’s being reported that the film is mostly finished and Paramount won’t be finding a new director to replace Brown, even though the film doesn’t come out until March 15, 2019. Someone will still be overseeing completion of the project, but the studio isn’t officially replacing Brown and the release date won’t be pushed back.

This is an odd move, because animation directors (at least at Pixar) have said that the final year of production is one of the most intensive. While the story may be completed, there are tons of deadlines to meet as far as completing animation is concerned and someone needs to keep everyone on track. It’s likely that someone will be taking care of that responsibility, but they just aren’t being named the official director, perhaps because of guild rules or something like that. But maybe Pixar operates differently than other animation studios.

There’s also the chance that the movie really is close to being finished despite having a year left to complete the movie. When the project was originally announced back in 2015, the release date was set for March 22, 2019. But just one year ago, the release date was bumped up to July 13, 2018, only to be pushed back a bit later to August 10, 2018. Then finally in August of last year it was pushed back to March 15, 2019, one week before the original release date. So if the film was operating under the assumption that the film would be released in 2018 for most of last year, they could really be close to being finished.

The attorney for the fired director of Paramount’s Amusement Park has responded to the claims of misconduct made by multiple women. Said Andrew B. Brettler of Lavely & Singer in Los Angeles: “Mr. Brown disputes these allegations. They are defamatory, and he is considering his legal options.”

Both Nickelodeon and Paramount are owned by the same parent company, Viacom.

Sources: Deadline, Variety,
MovieWeb, /Film, Cartoon Brew.

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