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John Lasseter has disappointed us – so where does Pixar go from here?

John Lasseter, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • December 21, 2017

Last month, John Lasseter joined a dizzyingly long list of powerful men in Hollywood to be accused of sexual misconduct. In a story first broken by The Hollywood Reporter on November 21st, allegations against Disney and Pixar’s chief creative officer were revealed. In a memo to staff, Lasseter announced that he would be taking a six month leave of absence from his role as creative overseer for the two animation studios, acknowledging “painful conversations” and“missteps.”

The three writers of Upcoming Pixar have each contributed to this post, in an attempt to process this deeply disturbing and unfortunate news.

 

Simoa

Simoa Barros, Lead Writer and Editor

My heart dropped when I first became aware of the news, but I was not surprised. I’ve never had first or even secondhand knowledge of John Lasseter’s alleged misconduct, but I dreaded this news anyway. Following the sexual harassment claims made against Loud House creator Chris Savino, who was subsequently fired, and the letter penned by women in the animation industry about the prevalence of sexual misconduct, I just expected more bombshell allegations. It is still shocking that Lasseter was directly involved.

It was first reported that Rashida Jones, who shared a writing credit on Toy Story 4, left the film with her writing partner Will McCormack due to an unwanted advance made by Lasseter, but she has denied this claim. Read her statement below:

“We did not leave Pixar because of unwanted advances. That is untrue. We parted ways because of creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences.

There is so much talent at Pixar, and we remain enormous fans of their films. However, it is also a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice.

We encourage Pixar to be leaders in bolstering, hiring and promoting more diverse and female storytellers and leaders. We hope we can encourage all those who have felt like their voices could not be heard in the past to feel empowered.”

Where does Pixar go from here?

As a woman of color who has long loved these films and this studio, I can say that all of this is very complicated for me. I have applauded Pixar’s efforts at diversity and inclusion both in front of and behind the camera. I want to continue celebrating these efforts and supporting the artists who make these films.

But I also want John Lasseter and those who knew and likely enabled his alleged behavior to be held accountable. I don’t think he should return following his sabbatical. He is not, as some people insist, irreplaceable.

Do we care more about movies or people?

I am deeply saddened that this was allowed to continue for so long. I am deeply saddened that women at Pixar were devalued and unable to advance their careers. I believe and I hope that Pixar can emerge far greater in the aftermath. But that will not be possible if Lasseter returns and nothing changes. Things are finally changing slowly as more women and men come forward to share their stories. But we have to listen.

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Joanna

Joanna, Co-Writer

My heart sank along with the hearts of many others when I read the headlines about John Lasseter’s actions at Pixar. I’m sure thousands, even millions, of fans feel disgusted and hurt after finding out that the man responsible for so many of our childhood movies is also responsible for the belittling of female employees, and for helping create a culture within Pixar studios that stifles the creative voices of women and people of colour. And while we as fans feel shocked and saddened by these events, these women are the victims.

I think it’s important to remember that while Lasseter is fully responsible for his appalling actions, he is only partly responsible for the beautiful movies that have been created by Pixar over the years. Remember that Coco was worked on by thousands of talented, creative people, many of them of Latino descent. They are incredibly proud of what they have created. I feel like this situation isn’t as clearly defined as ‘separating the art from the artist’. Lasseter is one artist. Pixar movies are the result of years of hard work from entire crews of artists, writers, and a whole host of other employees. That’s not to say that separating the art from John Lasseter is easy though…

It’s unfair that sitting down to enjoy a Pixar movie doesn’t feel as simple anymore. But it’s infinitely more unfair that women and people of colour at Pixar, and in the animation industry in general, are not being given the equal opportunities that they obviously deserve. Let’s hope that this acts as a spark and sets in motion a positive change at Pixar studios. Let’s hope that, like Coco, their future projects continue to actively work towards making Pixar a more inclusive and respectful company.


Nia

Nia Alavezos, Co-Writer

John Lasseter was one of my heroes.

Like Walt Disney, he was the name I saw plastered all over my favorite animated films growing up. He was just like you and me – he had some big failures, a few obvious successes, but at the end of the day he was just a kid at heart and wanted to tell stories. I wanted to be like him. I wanted to work with him. I honestly wanted to be his best friend and talk endlessly about the history of animation and our love of Miyazaki films.

As someone who has wanted to work for Pixar since I was 7 years old, sitting in the cinema, jaw nearly on the floor in awe as I watched A Bug’s Life for the first time; the news that Lasseter was like so many abusers in Hollywood honestly crushed my heart. It was the final blow. I nearly wanted to pack my bags and leave Los Angeles and pursue another profession entirely. Maybe even channel my inner Henry David Thoreau and abandon society all together and live in the wilderness. I’ve worked in the animation industry for the last two and a half years at Renegade Animation in Glendale. My dream as a female storyteller is to learn as much as I can so I can one day direct my own animated films.

Upon hearing all these stories about Lasseter and other men in the film/animation industry I slowly realized I could’ve been one of those women. I can’t begin to tell you how that simple thought triggered my own experiences with sexual harassment in the past. It felt like my world was falling apart. It’s still soul crushing learning that all my heroes are actually the monsters under the bed everyone told me to worry about.

I also realized the real problem was that growing up, I only had men to look up to. All the women were working tirelessly in the shadows; their work gone unnoticed and unaccredited thanks to the male suppression. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it would’ve been to have female directors, animators, and strong female characters to look up to when I was a child. For years I worshipped the Pixar Braintrust even when they kept women out of their special group and fired Brenda Chapman.

I know one monster’s actions don’t account for the thousands of talented artists at the studio who are just trying to make a living and achieve their dreams – but the fact this was going on for so long and while mostly everyone knew is appalling and disappointing. I can’t look at the studio the same way again. I will continue to support the films and all the hard work that’s been put into each character, background, and scene because I know first hand how grueling it is to bring a story to life but now, unfortunately the studio is tarnished for me.

What I hope to see now are more actions to account for the past – we’ve started this revolution but now it’s up to us all to fix it. I hope to see more females take the helm of Pixar films, from the initial development to the director’s chair. I hope to one day see not only a female-driven studio or female brain trust but a Hollywood that welcomes both men and women and people of all colors and walks of life. There are so many stories that have been silenced for years and now’s the time to start telling them.

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John Lasseter honored by the Walt Disney Family Museum

Awards, John Lasseter, Walt Disney Family Museum

Posted by Simoa • November 14, 2017

As Pixar and Disney’s Chief Creative Officer, John Lasseter has accomplished so much at both studios and within the animation industry as a whole. On November 7th, he was recognized by the Walt Disney Family Museum at their third annual fundraising gala, which seeks to foster emerging talent. Lasseter received the Diane Disney Miller Lifetime Achievement Award. He was the third, after renowned Disney legends Marty Sklar and Richard Sherman.

Bonnie Hunt, who voices Sally in the Cars films and who will appear in Toy Story 4, was hostess for the night. She was also joined by Disney CEO Bob Iger and president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, Ed Catmull, who were presenters. Other Pixar guests included Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Brad Bird, Jonas Rivera, Ronnie del Carmen, Jim Murphy, Jay Ward, and Pixar president Jim Morris. Guests were also treated to a special performance by Frozen‘s award winning songwriting team, Bobby Anderson and Kristen-Anderson Lopez. It’s no secret that Lasseter is a huge Frozen fan. In addition to his award, the film’s stars Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell performed songs from the film.

You can also watch footage from the ceremony below.

One other noteworthy event was a bid for a speaking role in Toy Story 4! The response was so enthusiastic that Lasseter added two more roles to bid on. Can’t wait to meet those characters (and the voice actors) when the film opens in 2019.

A very hearty congratulations to John Lasseter for such a well deserved award.

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Pixar at the Parks: Pixar Fest and First Looks at Woody’s Lunch Box

Disney, Disney Parks, Imagineering, John Lasseter, Merchandise, Pixar, Round-Ups, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 4, Toy Story Land

Posted by Nia • October 27, 2017

Do you love Pixar? (Obviously) Do you love going to Disneyland and Disney World? (Duh!) Well, now’s the perfect opportunity to plan your next trip to California AND Florida because, drum roll, please…

  1. Pixar Fest is coming to Disneyland!
  2. Not only that, but a brand spanking new Pixar-themed area will be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios soon!

According to Oh My Disney, Pixar Fest will be coming to both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure beginning April 13th, 2018! That’s only five months away! Unfortunately the event will be for a limited time, but during April you will get to see both parks completely dedicated to the world of Pixar. The parks will include a new fireworks show, two new Pixar-themed parades, new merchandise, food and drinks, and more!

Thanks to Oh My Disney, here’s some of the cool things to look forward to at Pixar Fest:

“Together Forever—A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular”

The nighttime spectacular will feature a brand new fireworks display with Buzz Lightyear flying over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The main focus of the show, as the Together Forever title suggests, will be about the special bond between friends and celebrate the true meaning of friendship.

“Pixar Play Parade”

You guessed it, not only will Luxo the Lamp be in this Disneyland parade, but characters from films like Inside Out and Up will also make appearances.

“Paint the Night”

The Disney California Adventure parade will showcase characters from Monsters Inc., Toy Story, and Cars.

Pixar Shorts Film Festival

You can finally watch some of Pixar’s short films at the Sunset Showcase Theater in Disney California Adventure’s Hollywood Land.

Pixar Fest Charm Bracelet

Be sure to pick up one of the exclusive merchandise items that will be for sale, which includes Pixar-themed charm bracelets.

So 2018 is obviously going to be a great year for Pixar. Need any more proof? Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, Woody’s Lunch Box (an area that will be in the new Toy Story land section of the park) will be opening! Oh My Disney shared a first look of the area:

As the concept art depicts, Woody’s Lunch Box will feature a plethora of different toys from Andy’s collection, even showing off some of Andy’s lunch box items.

It will certainly be thrilling walking among some of the iconic Toy Story toys in Woody’s Lunch Box AND celebrating the studio with Pixar Fest – it’ll feel like we’re finally apart of the magic behind a Pixar film.

 

 

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Don Rickles, beloved voice of Mr. Potato Head, dies

Don Rickles, John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, rest in peace, Toy Story

Posted by Simoa • April 7, 2017

Don Rickles (May 8, 1926 – April 6, 2017)

Don Rickles, the famous and lovable “insult comic” has died at age 90. Although his career began in the 1950s, with supporting roles in films, he is primarily beloved by Pixar fans as Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story films. Rickles died of kidney failure, as reported by the LA Times.

Lee Unkrich shared his memories of Rickles, and noted with fondness the insults he received while they worked together.

A moving tribute by John Lasseter was also shared by Pixar earlier today.

Don Rickles truly was a member of the Pixar family. Just try to imagine the Toy Story films without the singular presence, wit, and directness of Mr. Potato Head. His impact on other comedians and actors can’t possibly be overstated. He will be dearly missed.

We want to extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this time.

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Happiest of Birthday’s to John Lasseter!

John Lasseter

Posted by Nia • January 12, 2017

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Today is John Lasseter’s 60th Birthday. We at Upcoming Pixar wish him the absolute best. Without John, the animation industry that we know and love today would not be the same. Thanks to John, we’re better storytellers, appreciate the art of animation just a wee bit more, and wake up inspired every day.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from John Lasseter’s work? Leave us a comment below or send us a Tweet with your answers!

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New Disney/Pixar Gallery Nucleus Exhibition Opens in Los Angeles

30 Years of Pixar, A Bug's Life, Art, Cars, Cars 2, Finding Dory, Finding Nemo, Inside Out, John Lasseter, Monsters University, Monsters, Inc., Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, WALL-E

Posted by Nia • December 10, 2016

Have you ever wanted to see some of your favorite artwork from Pixar films in real life? Fear no more, as a new exhibition has just opened up at Gallery Nucleus in LA today. For the first time ever, the gallery will be showcasing brand new images from each of Pixar’s feature films. What makes it even more unique is that John Lasseter himself picked each design for the show. There will also be hand-signed limited edition prints for sale by each artist who worked on the pieces.

Thanks to Oh My Disney for providing the artwork that will be featured at the showcase.

By Bob Pauley

By Bob Pauley

 

By Tia Kratter

By Tia Kratter

 

By Randy Barret

By Randy Barret

 

By Pete Docter

By Pete Docter

 

By Ralph Eggleston

By Ralph Eggleston

 

By Teddy Newton

By Teddy Newton

 

By Bill Cone

By Bill Cone

 

By Dominique Louis

By Dominique Louis

 

By Ralph Eggleston

By Ralph Eggleston

 

By Lou Romano

By Lou Romano

 

By Robert Kondo

By Robert Kondo

 

By Harley Jessup

By Harley Jessup

 

By Steve Pilch

By Steve Pilch

 

By Rickey Nierva

By Rickey Nierva

 

By Ralph Eggleston

By Ralph Eggleston

 

By Sharon Calahan

By Sharon Calahan

 

By Daniel L Munoz

By Daniel L Munoz

 

Be sure to check out Galley Nucleus and celebrate the art of Pixar if you’re in town – it runs from today, December 10th to January 8th, 2017.

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The Incredibles 2 Is Blasting Into Cinemas Earlier Than Expected

Brad Bird, John Lasseter, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4

Posted by Nia • October 27, 2016

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It appears the animation Gods are favoring all fans of The Incredibles this week. It was discovered yesterday that The Incredibles 2 will now be released a whole year early, as opposed to it’s original 2019 slot. This is the best news possible for anyone who has been counting down the days to the film’s release after the original announcement, which itself feels like many moons ago. The Incredibles 2 is blasting through the production pipeline and only means great things surrounding the storytelling aspects. We suppose the Parr family are just incredibly excited to finally team up and hit cinemas again. The sequel to the 2004 hit switched places with Toy Story 4, and will now be released on June 15th, 2018. The bad news is that Toy Story 4, for the second time, is now pushed back and scheduled to be released on June 21st, 2019. Despite Toy Story 4 feeling like it’s stuck in production limbo, it most certainly makes us want to do cartwheels around the office knowing we’re going to be reunited with the Parr family sooner than expected.

Stay-tuned for more updates on the film.

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Finding Dory Is Almost Here In The Latest TV Spot

Andrew Stanton, Angus Maclane, Finding Dory, Finding Nemo, John Lasseter

Posted by Nia • May 2, 2016

Behold! As the days get closer to the release of Finding Dory, we’re fortunate enough to continue getting little snippets of the film released by Pixar. Although this trailer is ultimately a teaser, there are some new settings we finally get to see in action. Before, there was only concept art to fuel our imaginations regarding the aquarium that Dory ends up in during her journey. We’re given two glimpses of the new environment: a dark, behind the scenes, and rather ominous scene of the aquarium with Hank and Dory (more than likely when they’re trying to escape); and the other a rather colorful and happy atmosphere showcasing Bailey and Destiny in front of guests. In this trailer we’re also reunited with Marlin, Nemo, and our old turtle friends from the first film. Finding Dory comes to U.S. theaters June 17th… and that glorious date will be here before you know it!

How excited are you guys for the new film? Do you have any theories as to what Dory will encounter on her adventure to be re-united with her family? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below. And remember, just keep swimming!

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Pixar at the Oscars

Academy Awards, Animation, Inside Out, Interview, John Lasseter, Jonas Rivera, Lava, Michael Giacchino, Pete Docter, Pixar, Sanjay's Super Team, Short Film, The Good Dinosaur, UP

Posted by Nia • January 16, 2016

Congratulations to the talented folks at Pixar for receiving not one but THREE Oscar nominations during Thursday’s announcement. Inside Out was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film and also scored a nomination for Best Original Screenplay; it will be the only animated film competing in that category. Sanjay’s Super Team took home a nod for Best Animated Short Film.

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"Sanjay's Super Team" Comes to the Con ? Director Sanjay Patel and producer Nicole Grindle are taking Pixar Animation Studios' new short to San Diego's Comic-Con International next month for its North American premiere and a peek behind the scenes of the production process. The Super Story Behind the Pixar Short "Sanjay's Super Team," slated for Thurs., July 9 at 11 a.m. in the Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront, reveals the unique inspiration for this incredibly personal film that features superheroes like never before. The short debuts in U.S. theaters in front of Disney-Pixar's "The Good Dinosaur" on Nov. 25, 2015.

Via Disney/Pixar

It was indeed great news hearing that Pixar was nominated for several awards, but it’s also hard not to acknowledge the slight disappointments regarding snubs to both The Good Dinosaur and Lava. In an ideal world, all four films released from the studio would have been nominated for Oscars. They all followed the Pixar standard of challenging both art and technology, paving the way for future animated films. The Good Dinosaur alone was revolutionary in it’s technical aspects and successful blend of animation against hyperrealistic backgrounds. Lava also showcased stunning backgrounds that were brought to life through the use of song; depicting the romance between two volcanoes without dialogue but only through a love ballad. Lava‘s catchy song was clearly absent from the Best Original Song nominees. Also missing from the Best Original Score category was Michael Giacchino’s beautiful work on Inside Out.

In the past, an animated film has even been nominated for Best Picture, such as Pete Docter’s last film Up. If an animated film can be nominated for Best Picture, then it’s director should also be recognized in the Best Director category. Inside Out was incredibly inventive and something we haven’t seen before. It cleverly took us inside the mind of a young girl and created relatable characters out of her emotions… not to mention simultaneously hitting us all with a wave of childhood nostalgia. Docter spent 4+ years working on the film; from writing the screenplay, approving every minute detail most audience members might miss, to even guiding a brilliant team of artists into crafting his vision. That time frame is longer than most live action directors work on a film.

In an interview with Screencrush, Pixarian Kelsey Mann explains why animation directors are just as worthy as notable live action directors in receiving acknowledgement from The Academy:

“From the ground up, directors at Pixar are in charge of everything from the story to the individual blades of grass. We start from nothing. Literally nothing. And it all has to be built from the ground up. And Pete is involved in every decision.”

Slowly audiences (and even The Academy) are beginning to realize that animation isn’t only for children, but it’s an art form entirely of it’s own; crafting stories a thousand times better and more original than most of the live action films released in Hollywood. Here’s hoping that one day an animated film will not only be nominated for Best Picture again, but will win it too.

We will definitely be keeping our fingers crossed for Pixar to take home all of the awards on the February 28th Oscar ceremony.

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Happy New Year! What to look forward to in 2016…

Andrew Stanton, Finding Dory, Finding Nemo, John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich

Posted by Nia • January 2, 2016

Happy New Year Pixar fans! As Simoa discussed in the previous post, 2015 was quite the year for Pixar films. We had the honor of witnessing not one, but TWO fantastic films from the renowned animation studio. I won’t go into detail about Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur, but those two films and the shorts that came with it prove there are only great things to come from Pixar.

The biggest aspect to look forward to in 2016 is in fact Finding Dory, which comes out on June 17th. Earlier this week, Pixar released a still that featured two new gorgeous characters from the film: Destiny and Bailey, aptly a whale shark and beluga whale to be voiced by Kaitlin Olson and Ty Burrell.

finding-dory

The image was initially released by Entertainment Weekly, and we also got more of a glimpse into the story of the Finding Nemo sequel; which takes places six months after we last saw Dory. Both Destiny and Bailey prove to be significant in Dory’s quest to find her family, as she ends up meeting them at a rehabilitation center located at a marine life facility. The duo are heavily hinted at helping Dory reunite with her family.

Since the beginning, each Pixar film has pushed both art and technology. When Finding Nemo was released back in 2003, the film had introduced breathtaking backgrounds and atmosphere around a heartwarming story of a father trying to reunite with his lost son. The mostly underwater setting pushed the technology at the time while also giving audiences a complex story that hadn’t been seen in animation before.

Based on the gorgeous hyperrealistic backgrounds seen in the The Good Dinosaur, it’s quite possible that Finding Dory may be the most breathtaking film from Pixar yet. We’ll be revisiting the familiar location from the first film, but with technology that is continuing to grow and push animation further. It’s as if we’ll be viewing the world with a new eye prescription – everything is crystal clear and we’ll be able to appreciate the immense details more. It’s a very exciting time for animation. As Pixar has proved again and again, there are no rules when it comes to the medium and the storytelling possibilities are endless.

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