Pixar Artist Nabs Three-Book Deal for New Children's Series (Exclusive)

Courtesy of Armand Baltazar

'Timeless' — by Armand Baltazar, whose credits include 'Brave' — is said to be in the vein of 'Avatar' and 'Harry Potter'

A version of this story first appeared in the Oct. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

A former Pixar artist may be writing Hollywood's next children's franchise.

Armand Baltazar (CAA, Gernert Co., Energy), whose credits include Brave, has sold the three-book series Timeless to HarperCollins imprint Katherine Tegen Books (Divergent) for publication in fall 2016. Described as in the vein of Avatar and Harry Potter, the story centers on a boy — joined by a motley gang of friends — who is seeking to rescue his father from a Roman general after a "time collision" has thrown together the past, present and future.

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A fan of classic adventures stories from Treasure Island to Star Wars to Indiana Jones, Baltazar was inspired by the stories he invented for his son, Diego, who was the inspiration for the lead character (see concept art above). The lead character's friends all come from different times/cultures — one is from the 1920s, one from Victorian England, another is a punk skateboarder from the 1980s. 

Baltazar thought the mixing of times was a good metaphor for the diverse melting pot of 21st century America. The story “was born in part to show my son a hero who was like him and had friends that came from unique places," he explains. "Together they find value in their differences and they use that in their quest to save their families — and eventually their place in this fantastically changed world. It's an underlying theme to the adventure: cultures from [different] times and places [co-]existing, … struggling to save their world from those that would change it back.”

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He first pitched the book to Fox-based producer Steve Tzirlin at Comic-Con in 2012. Tzirlin helped connect the proposal to Fox's sister company HarperCollins. Baltazar conceived of it as a book, but with the sale his team envisions a film adaptation as a live-action/CG combination.

The Pixar veteran, who was most recently a senior designer, left the company to write the series and has produced extensive concept art for the book, which Tegen editor Ben Rosenthal says will look similar to the art/text mix in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, adding, "Armand's captivating, brilliant art drops the jaw."

Baltazar is represented by Seth Fishman of The Gernert Company, manager-producer Brooklyn Weaver, and Michelle Kroes and Dan Rabinow of CAA. Katherine Tegen and Ben Rosenthal will edit the book for Katherine Tegen Books. 

Oct 8, 7:30 a.m: Updated to clarify Mr. Baltazar was an artist and senior designer not an animator at Pixar.