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No Pixar film has had a rougher road to theaters than the upcoming The Good Dinosaur. First announced as being in development during the summer of 2011, the project hit the skids last summer when it was revealed that director Bob Peterson had been removed from the movie. While the finished product was supposed to actually come out this past May, its release date was bumped all the way to late 2016. Through all of these changes and push backs, it's been hard to get a real sense of exactly how much change The Good Dinosaur has been going through. If one of its voice actors is to be believed, then the reality is that Pixar has basically been starting over from scratch.
John Lithgow, who was announced as being part of The Good Dinosaur during the Pixar presentation at D23 last year, recently sat down for an interview with Collider, and during the conversation the actor revealed that he had already completed his work on the animated film, but that he is going to have to go back in and completely re-record it due to the fact that the movie has changed so much. While he hasn't done any of the new recording sessions yet, it appears that he has been keeping in contact with the studio, because he had nothing but nice things to say about the alterations being made to the script. Said Lithgow,
"I recorded the entire role in Good Dinosaur. They have now dismantled it and completely reimagined it, and it is a fantastic new story. So I’m gonna record again on it within the next month. Don’t worry. It’s coming and it’s gonna be better than I ever imagined.”
We still don't know exactly what has been changed in The Good Dinosaur, but Lithgow originally signed on to play Poppa, the father of the movie's lead character, Arlo (voiced by Raising Hope's Lucas Neff). Frances McDormand is attached to play Momma, and Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris and Judy Greer are playing Arlo's siblings. Presumably all of those actors will have to do new recording sessions as well. When the film ws first in development, it was set in a world where the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs missed Earth - leading to dinosaurs and humans co-existing. The dinos live in farming communities where bugs are a serious issue, but Arlo is fascinated by them. Eventually, he becomes friendly with a human who he calls Spot, and the two wind up going off on an adventure together. It's possible that every detail of that has gone out the window.
Next year will be the first ever to feature the releases of two Pixar films, with Inside Out coming to theaters on June 19, 2015, and The Good Dinosaur arriving November 25, 2015.