Throwing my toys out of the pram
Back when Pixar Animation Studios was acquired by Disney back in May 2006, one of the first changes made by John Lasseter, Pixar’s Creative Vice President and the new CCO of both animation departments, was to shut down production of Toy Story 3, a sequel being produced without Pixar’s authorisation by Disney themselves. Now, it seems that production will go ahead after all, although this time by the Pixar team. The bad news, though, is that John Lasseter will not be directing (unlike the previous two Toy Story films). This is not in itself particularly surprising, given that, with his responsibility for running both animation studios, finding the time to direct a film into the bargain would be pretty much guaranteed to be out of the question. It’s still a shame, though, and the news that Michael Arndt, the screenwriter of Little Miss Sunshine, is writing a script for it, fills me with dread. I’ve not seen Little Miss Sunshine, so I’ve no opinion on it one way or the other, but I’m incredibly suspicious of the notion of a live action screenwriter penning a script for any animated film, let alone a Pixar film, given that the studio has always prided itself on having actual artists develop their storylines. Still, the film will be directed by Lee Unkrich, who has served as co-director on several Pixar projects, including Toy Story 2, and let’s not forget the fact that, for all these setbacks, this will be a 100% Pixar venture, so I’m sure there’s hope for it yet.
In other Disney news, the Variety article linked to above (which I’m translating into something resembling English here) reports that the rumours were true and that Lilo & Stitch co-writer/co-director Chris Sanders is no longer with the company, and that the reins for his upcoming pet project, the CG American Dog, have been passed to Chris Williams, who served as a story artist on several of the studio’s films, including Lilo & Stitch. Whether Sanders left voluntarily or was given the boot is unclear, but one thing’s for sure, the end result is sure to suffer without his guidance. Oh, and Lasseter and Disney/Pixar animation president Ed Catmull have refuted the rumour that Disney would be switching back to an exclusively 2D slate after the release of their upcoming Meet the Robinsons, although they did confirm that 2D was well and truly back at the studio, with the John Musker/Ron Clements project The Frog Princess, expected to be the next in line for release after American Dog, being traditionally animated.