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Animator, Director Brad Bird Teams Up With Turner Classic Movies To Curate ‘The Essentials’




Brad Bird accepts the Best Animated Feature Award for Incredibles 2 during The National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on January 8, 2019 in New York City.
Brad Bird accepts the Best Animated Feature Award for Incredibles 2 during The National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on January 8, 2019 in New York City.
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for National Board

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Brad Bird has made a name for himself as the director of new age, animated classics, like “The Iron Giant” and “The Incredibles”. Now he’s teaming up with Turner Classic Movies to share his picks for classic movie watching that will keep you busy and entertained while you’re stuck at home.

Bird has curated a list of his favorite films which will air on this season’s “The Essentials” with TCM Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz. Every Saturday from May up to January of next year, TCM will air one of twenty movies chosen by Bird. His list includes big-name classics that any movie buff will recognize, like “Casablanca” and “Dr. Strangelove”. But Bird throws in a few surprises, one being that there are no animated films on his list. Another surprising thing viewers will notice is that about a third of the films included are musicals, like “Singin’ In The Rain” and “Guys And Dolls”. With TCM’s seemingly infinite library of movie classics to choose from, Bird says narrowing it down to only twenty favorites was a challenge. According to Bird, his list comprises movies that are not only entertaining but “transcend time” and “speak in a language that is still in many ways current”.

“The Essentials” was filmed in early December, but Bird’s list is coming out during a time when movie-going is looking very different these days. The virus has put the entire film industry on pause, with studios halting production and theaters closing their doors indefinitely. In lieu of new movie releases and regular theater-going, many are taking the opportunity to revisit the classics and Bird’s list provides a starting guide for which ones should be on your watch-list.

Today on FilmWeek, Brad Bird joins us to talk about his favorite movies, what projects he has lined up, and his thoughts on how the film industry is adjusting to and getting through the pandemic.

TCM’s “The Essentials” will air on Saturdays at 8 p.m. beginning May 2. For the full list and schedule of films, click here.

Guest:

Brad Bird, animator, director and screenwriter whose directing credits include Pixar’s “Ratatouille” and “The Incredibles” films and Disney’s “The Iron Giant”; he tweets at @BradBirdA113