The Hollywood Reporter disclosed last month that Brad Bird (Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille) was on the short list to direct M:I4. Now New York magazine reports, based on unnamed sources, that Bird is the front-runner for the job. Allegedly the only remaining deal point is his fee.
If Bird is hired, it’ll be his first live-action feature. (His currently-planned live-action feature, an adaptation of James Dalessandro’s 1906, would be suspended until after his work on MI:4.) Indeed, as far as I know, he hasn’t directed even a short film in live action before. Still, he’d be an inspired choice given his abundant storytelling talent. Also, since animation directors have to be fanatical about pre-production planning—they essentially make the entire film in storyboards and story reels before they animate a single shot—his background could be a great fit for the practical needs of big-budget live-action production.
UPDATE (May 7, 2010): Brad will direct.