Netflix abandons film about Michael Jackson's pet chimp Bubbles after director Taika Waititi steps down

Netflix abandons film about Michael Jackson's pet chimp Bubbles after director Taika Waititi steps down

Taika Waititi has stepped down as the director of Netflix's stop-motion movie 'Bubbles' about Michael Jackson's pet chimpanzee of the same. Netflix has reportedly dropped the project.

The animated feature film would have brought the 'Thor: Ragnarok' director together with Netflix in the film that tracks Michael Jackson's life through the eyes of his pet chimpanzee.

According to reports, the director had to drop the project as it was clashing with his other projects like WB’s 'Akira' and his latest film 'Jojo Rabbit'. With no director for the project, Netflix decided to put the project aside. 

'Bubbles' has been in pre-production at Starburns Industries, the animation-focused production company co-founded by Dan Harmon.

Reports say that around two dozen people working on the film’s puppets and animation tests have already been let go, and some who were laid off even turned down work on other stop motion projects for Netflix, including Guillermo del Toro‘s 'Pinocchio' and Henry Selick‘s 'Wendell and Wild'.


Netflix had acquired rights to 'Bubbles' – which is from Isaac Adamson’s screenplay – at Cannes in 2017 for $20 million (£15 million).

Taika was set to co-direct the film with Mark Gustafson, who then left to work with del Toro on his reboot of Disney’s 'Pinocchio'.

Taika had earlier praised the script for 'Bubbles' as being brilliant. "It’s a f***ing brilliant script, though. It’s so cool to look at the idea of telling a story like this through the eyes of a chimpanzee," said the 43-year-old filmmaker.

He then added that there are other projects demanding his attention too. "But right now I’m finishing two other features – one which I’m looking to do this year – and finishing Jojo [Rabbit], and there are a couple of TV shows I’m developing. There’s about two or three that I mentioned to the press, and they’re way back on my backburner," he said.

"This film is not about Michael Jackson because that’s not a story for me to tell — or a story I’d be comfortable telling," Waititi was quoted as saying. "It’s about a chimpanzee’s fascinating journey through the complex jungle of human life."


The move to drop 'Bubbles' comes after HBO released the controversial documentary 'Leaving Neverland' which brought to light shocking allegations by two men that the King of Pop sexually abused them as children. 

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