Incredibles 2: Bob and Helen
Barbara Robertson
September 6, 2018

Incredibles 2: Bob and Helen

At the beginning of this film, Bob and Helen have lost their jobs as superheroes. But, two rescuers in the form of a high-tech businessman and his inventor sister appear with a plan to make the “supers” heroes again. Only one problem: They want to work with Helen, not Bob. Elastigirl would be the hero, and Mr. Incredible would become the househusband.

Bird thinks of this film as a family film – a film about a family that happens to be superheroes, not a superhero film. The scene with Helen talking to Bob about taking the job he wanted is a perfect example.

“The scene with Bob agreeing with Helen was my personal hell,” Bird says. “Directing is physically hard, but mentally, writing is the hardest. It’s the most elaborate puzzle. You try to hit the right tone and be efficient, but you also want to explore a little bit; explore, but keep things moving. Clarity and pace are always at war with each other. That scene of Bob and Helen talking in bed seems simple, but I rewrote it more than any other. To keep it rooted in something real, but keep it entertaining.”

Although an early version received a thumbs-up, Bird wasn’t satisfied, and early test audiences wrote that Bob seemed like a jerk. To have Bob unhappy and not a jerk was the challenge.

“I could make him not a jerk,” Bird says. “I could do, ‘Whatever you say hon, let’s have a frosty drink.’ But, that wouldn’t be Bob. I’d lose an interesting element, the childish clinging, Bob thinking, ‘I should have been the superhero.’ He had never existed in a moment where he was not the best man for a job. It’s hard for him. I wanted to see that. I wanted to see his face seizing up. So, I was, ‘Aaargh.’ When I finally cracked it, I was the only one partying in my mind. Everyone else was like, ‘If it makes you happy.’

But, making this film wasn’t always hard.

“It’s hard until it’s really fun,” Bird says. “When you see everything together, with all the bells and whistles, it’s fun. You open the action scene and it’s fun to get it right. When Sam Jackson does his thing, it’s a delight. When Dash is as good as in the first film, it’s perfect. I can’t talk about only one thing being fun – I’d leave too much out. It’s like Christmas and I got all the presents I had wanted.”