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Happy 20th Anniversary, Toy Story!

Ed Catmull, John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Pixar, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 20th, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 4, Upcoming Pixar

Posted by Nia • November 22, 2015

In celebration of Toy Story‘s 20th anniversary, we asked our readers to tell us how important the film is to them. Here are some of the most touching responses that will make you want to re-watch the film and hold your childhood toys close. Please note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

toy story 20th

“My daughter has always been a true and dedicated fan of Toy Story, and has also gone through several bouts of chemo with Woody and Buzz comforting her.”

My daughter was 4 years old when Toy Story came to be. She had already gone through surgeries, chemo, and was starting on radiation when she was mesmerized by Woody and Buzz. My daughter has always been a true and dedicated fan of Toy Story, and has also gone through several bouts of chemo with Woody and Buzz comforting her. She turned 24 last year. In fact, when we booked a Disney Cruise in September, I asked DCL if there was anything they can do for her. Low and behold, she was treated with a private session with her two favorite characters! I’ve never seen her smile that big. – Susan and Kayla Gordon

“Toy Story has always been my favorite childhood movie, and it eventually became the film that convinced me to be an animator.”

I could write a book about how Toy Story has impacted my life. I like to joke that the day the film was released in theaters was the best day of my life. Toy Story has always been my favorite childhood movie, and it eventually became the film that convinced me to be an animator. I have very fond memories of my Toy Story toys, from playing with little Buzz and Woody figures with my older sister, to my dad dressing up one of my other Buzzes in Barbie clothes to act out the Mrs. Nesbitt scene. I’m now in my second year of art school, and the more I learn about the history of animation, the more I see how Toy Story rocked the industry. It was a groundbreaking marriage of technology and art, and the foundation of many of the films we cherish today. The production of Toy Story itself is a story of having a dream and not giving up on it, no matter how much others try to convince you that it’ll fail. This is what inspires me to pursue my own dream of making films someday.  – Allie

“Every time I watch the original Toy Story it’s like visiting an old friend, and the movie brings me back to my childhood.”

I can’t remember a time where I didn’t treat my toys as if they were real (I was three years old when the original came out). I probably owned some small toys from the movie, but the one I interacted with the most was the computer game. Generally speaking, I loved playing all the storybook computer games from the ’90s Disney movies, and Toy Story was one of my top favorites.

 

The films itself hold a special place in my heart, and though I don’t remember the first time I saw the original and its sequel, they both came out around pivotal moments of my life. The first one came out two months before my first sister was born (the first time I’d become a sibling), and the second one came out seven months before my second sister was born. And the third one came out at exactly the right time: I had just graduated from high school the day before its release, and Andy saying goodbye to his toys sadly reminded me that I’d have to do the same in the next two months as I was moving to another state, away from the friends I grew up with.

 

Every time I watch the original Toy Story it’s like visiting an old friend, and the movie brings me back to my childhood. I may have outgrown playing with the toys I used to love, but the fond memories are still there. – Keisha

“Sharing Toy Story with my Dad is one of my best memories I have with him as a child.”

I was 8. I have a lot of clear and random memories regarding the film. I went to see it in the theater with my dad and I loved it, which was surprising because as a child I was deathly afraid of toys coming to life to the point that I had vivid and chronic nightmares. Toy Story was the movie that spun it all around for me, it made me stop fearing the idea and my nightmares literally stopped.

 

I love Woody more, but for some reason I really wanted a Buzz Lightyear so badly that my dad went to three or four Burger Kings to find one of the promotional plush toys they had. We couldn’t afford the actual replica toys that came out in the stores. I’ll always remember the night he brought it to me as a surprise. Buzz and I were inseparable for months after that. Sharing Toy Story with my Dad is one of my best memories I have with him as a child. – Atta Lynne

Toy Story played a very large part in my childhood.”

It was the film I watched repeatedly when I was young. Once Toy Story 2 came out, it had become my favorite movie. Toy Story 3 was probably the biggest event of 2010 for me and I also had quite a few toys at that point. With the 4th film coming and all the shorts, Toy Story will continue to remain a big part of a life for a long time. – JKOP

“May the toys continue to embrace more kids and adults for generations to come.”

I was just a baby when the first Toy Story came out. But, I loved it when I first saw it on home video and I still love it today. I have all the movies (and the TV specials on Blu-Ray and DVD), I still have a lot of the toys (the main ones like Woody and Buzz I haven’t stored away yet), and I just love this trilogy! May the toys continue to embrace more kids and adults for generations to come! To infinity and beyond! – Josiah Mielke

“My parents decided to try and spark some interests by putting on movies for me. I’d only watch one the entire way through: Toy Story.”

It all started when I was around 11 months old. I allegedly didn’t do much, I crawled around a bit, I slept, not much else. My parents decided to try and spark some interests by putting on movies for me. I’d only watch one the entire way through: Toy Story.

 

And so, that started a very long cycle of re-watches for years and years. Because of that, Toy Story had such a big influence on me. It’s what made me want to become an animator, made me want to work for Pixar, sparked my hobby in filmmaking, heck, it’s one of the main reasons I started talking.

 

In fact, anytime I go to the Disney parks, I always try to meet the Buzz Lightyear character. Unfortunately, DLP don’t really “get” the Toy Story hype, but luckily, I have met him twice; once in 2006 and once this year, in 2015. Even this year, the ride I went on most was Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast.

 

As I write this in bed, I have a giant TS3 poster looming above me, and the Toy Story characters from Disney Infinity close by. – Noah Carolan

“Toy Story and its characters are really my oldest and closest friends, and without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

What does Toy Story mean to me? Well, where do I even begin? For starters, it was the first movie I ever fell in love with. My Toy Story experience began early, like a lot of people my age. I was 13 months going on 14 months. When my dad came home with the VHS for Toy Story, I was hooked. I don’t remember this, but my mom has told me every time she popped the film in the VCR, she knew she had about an hour and a half of free time because I was just mesmerized.

 

Just a few weeks ago, I decided to sit down and re-watch the trilogy. I’d really forgotten just how amazing all of those films are. I still laughed at the jokes, even though I know them all by heart. I still cried at the end of Toy Story 3, even though I knew what was coming. I referred to the movie marathon as “catching up with old friends” on an Instagram post I made. Toy Story and its characters are really my oldest and closest friends, and without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. So, thank you to everyone who has ever worked on these films, for crafting something that people from 1 to 99 can watch and still laugh, cry, and connect with in a way not many other films can achieve. Thank you Toy Story. May you continue to inspire people for infinity and beyond. – Forster Keenoy

“20 years later, Buzz is still my favorite character and I’ve still got Disney magic in my heart.”

I’ve been a hardcore Pixar fangirl ever since I was little. I wasn’t like most Disney-loving girls my age (i.e. I favored Buzz Lightyear over Disney Princesses).

 

Every time I watched a Pixar movie I was enchanted. And all three times we went to Disney World, I went Pixar crazy. I loved riding Buzz’s Space Ranger Spin, playing Toy Story Mania, dancing in Block Party Bash, and meeting the Pixar Pals.

 

20 years later, Buzz is still my favorite character and I’ve still got Disney magic in my heart. All three Toy Story movies bring back lots of good memories. Thank you Disney and Pixar. To infinity and beyond! – Buzzfan120

Thank you to all of the storytellers at Pixar who have brought magic to our lives. Here’s to the future and the great stories to come.

With love,

Upcoming Pixar.

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Here’s Your First Look At Finding Dory

Andrew Stanton, Finding Dory, Finding Nemo, John Lasseter, Trailer

Posted by Nia • November 11, 2015

Alas! Yesterday the first trailer for Finding Dory premiered with a splash online. Although it was only a teaser trailer, it was enough to give us a glimpse of how Nemo, Marlin, and Dory have been faring since the days of Finding Nemo. By the looks of it, Dory has been living it up with her fantastic new set up in Marlin and Nemo’s neck of the woods. Within the first few seconds of the trailer alone, the score by Thomas Newman swept all of us away with nostalgia. And perhaps those who have been eagerly waiting for the sequel to the first film might’ve shed a few tears… it’s OK – we’re not judging you.

Straight from Pixar, the synopsis of the film is as follows: “The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the true meaning of family along the way.” For the first time, Dory is able to remember something important (even though she can’t quite pinpoint what that may be just yet) and realizes that she has family somewhere out there in the big blue sea. With Nemo and Marlin at Dory’s side, she sets up on a quest to find her long-lost relatives.

The trailer only confirms how much we all missed the colorful and expertly detailed world under the sea that Andrew Stanton and crew so beautifully depicted twelve years ago. As Dory would say, “just keep swimming.” Only a *few* more months to go until the film is released in cinemas.

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New U.S. Theatrical Trailer For The Good Dinosaur Released

John Lasseter, Pete Sohn, The Good Dinosaur, Trailer

Posted by Nia • October 7, 2015

Yesterday Disney/Pixar released a brand new theatrical trailer for The Good Dinosaur, which has gotten practically everyone (if they weren’t already looking forward to the films release) incredibly excited for this colorful prehistoric world to explore.

The premise of The Good Dinosaur has always been simple: “What if the asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs missed?” Not only does this new trailer give us a closer look at the relationship between Arlo the Apatosaurus and his cave-boy friend Spot, but we also get to hear more dialogue from Arlo. The trailer gives us more of an introduction to Arlo’s family and a plethora of other dinosaurs; including a T-Rex named Butch that Arlo meets on his journey with Spot.

Despite all of the new dialogue, the most thrilling aspect of this trailer is the interaction between Arlo and Spot. One of the best things about animation has always been the ability to tell stories without dialogue. WALL-E eloquently succeeded in telling a simple story about two robots in love without a word (save for the end of the film when the robots are on Axiom). Even the first five minutes of Up was able to tell the entire story of Carl and Ellie’s relationship without the two characters talking to each other. It’s interesting to think about how the storytellers at Pixar will achieve depicting the friendship of a dinosaur and a cave-boy. From the trailer alone, we see that the two characters don’t really speak the same language but based on their physicality, they’re able to communicate with each other.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to The Good Dinosaur and who knows what kind of adventures await us come November 25th. T-Minus 48 days and counting. Are you guys ready?

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Love Story

D23, John Lasseter, Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • August 14, 2015

When Toy Story 4 was first announced last November, an interesting detail came to light: it would be a love story. Since all the films in the Toy Story universes center on the relationship between children and toys, this is a surprising shift. While Bonnie might not be as prevalent in the forthcoming sequel, someone else is. After much speculation, John Lasseter has revealed that Woody and Bo Peep will be reunited.

Fans were upset when Bo Peep was absent from the third film. Her role had started to get smaller when Toy Story 2 was released in 1999. Lee Unkrich explained that her porcelain figure would have made it rather difficult to go on adventures with the other toys. Bo Peep also signified loss, not only for Woody and the rest of Andy’s toys, but as a childhood theme.

While this may be an unexpected development, it is an intriguing idea. Better yet, more focus on Bo Peep is a good thing! We can definitely expect more surprises from this film.

Toy Story 4 will hit theaters in June of 2017.

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Inside Out All Access event

Andrew Stanton, Behind The Scenes, Events, Inside Out, John Lasseter, Jonas Rivera, Pete Docter, Pete Sohn, Pixar, Pixar Employees, Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • June 17, 2015

It’s Inside Out week! The highly anticipated flick opens nationwide this Friday, June 19th. This writer has seen it all accesstwice, and to echo much of the praise it has received, it’s a masterpiece. An all access screening was held yesterday three days ahead of the film’s release in theaters all over the country. We hope our incredible readers were also in the audience! This all access screening included a behind-the-scenes visit at Pixar as well as a Twitter Q&A session with Pete Docter and Amy Poehler (Joy), who are currently in Australia as part of the film’s press tour. Those in attendance received a free poster as well as a lanyard and Inside Out badge which grants access to more goodies online at Disney Movie Rewards!

 

The tour of Pixar, with Pete and producer Jonas Rivera as hosts, was awesome. There was lots of Inside Out artwork and storyboards, as well as Docter and Rivera sharing their labor of love and all the time and research that went into it. The two of them always bring warmth and camaraderie, and the same was true here. I can’t think of any other people who would be more qualified to give a tour of Pixar! (Besides John Lasseter of course).

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In the Story Corner, which is a wall papered with numerous story sketches from various Pixar films, is a tribute to the late, great story artist, Joe Ranft. Regarded as the soul of Pixar, and a hero to many in the animation world, his influence is still deeply felt at Pixar. His sketches of what happens in a story meeting is framed on the wall, and it was such an enjoyable and sweet addition to the tour.

Highlights from the video included “running” into some favorite Pixarians, such as Ronnie del Carmen, Inside Out‘s co-director, who Pete praised. He let the audience know how great del Carmen’s contributions were, and that if we loved the movie it was thanks to him, and if we hated it, it was thanks to him! (Definitely only the former).

We also got to drop in on Andrew Stanton and his Finding Dory team in editorial, which included co-director Angus McLane, and producer Lindsey Collins. While the visit was brief and there was no footage of the upcoming film, Andrew did joke a little bit about the grueling process in cutting down the story until you get it right. “You know what that feels like,” he said to Pete. “We don’t!”

Afterwards we dropped in on Pete Sohn and The Good Dinosaur team! He informed us that 1/8 of the crew was present, and we got to see one shot of animation being finaled. Sohn gestured to the animators in the room, listing the beloved Pixar characters they’ve animated and brought to life. There will be so much more to see of this movie ahead of its November release and we can’t wait. The Good Dinosaur‘s original director Bob Peterson even made a cameo, informing Pete that his Roz voice was his regular voice. The audience loved it, as well as his Dug impression. It was especially wonderful to see Peterson and we can only hope he’ll be sitting in the director’s chair again soon. (You can even spot his name in the credits to Inside Out).

We got to see John Lasseter’s famous office, a toy collector’s dream. The big man himself wasn’t in his office, but Jonas and Pete found him in the story room for Toy Story 4, with some help from that movie’s co-director, Josh Cooley. John very funnily hid the room from the camera, and did his best to “shoo” us away. The development on this film is highly secretive, but John promised we would know more in time. He also got to show off his Inside Out Hawaiian shirt!

This video, which ran just under twenty minutes, was an excellent preview before seeing Inside Out. Heading into Pixar via cameras is often the only way to get inside, and all that positivity, humor, and cheerfulness never disappoint. We also get to see just how collaborative things are over there. It’s always a team effort when making a Pixar film, and the whole team is lauded for their contributions.

Following the film was the Q&A with Pete Docter and Amy Poehler via satellite. They were both exuberant and definitely not short on praises for the other. Amy mentioned the collaborative spirit at Pixar and got a lot of laughs at our screening. When asked which emotions guided her as a young girl, she said that she was carefree and joyful like Riley, but with some anger as well, owing to her Boston roots. That inspired some cheers from us fellow Bostonians! It’s obvious why she was chosen to play Joy, but Pete explained that Joy was a tough character to write. At preview screenings, audiences loved the movie but hated Joy or found her annoying. Luckily, Amy’s performance saved the day; Joy is flawed but still lovable. She took cues from Tom Hanks’ performance as Woody to help her with the character, and it pays off. For those who have seen the film, the parallels between Joy and Woody are certainly there.

Check back here for our review of Inside Out, as well as the short film, “Lava”!

 

 

 

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More details on The Good Dinosaur and Finding Dory

Finding Dory, John Lasseter, The Good Dinosaur

Posted by Simoa • May 20, 2015

After the rapturous reception Inside Out received at Cannes, John Lasseter was on hand to discuss Pixar’s upcoming films. This report comes via Variety, which also mentions new clips along with further details on the films. Lasseter also confirmed both Disney and Pixar’s commitment to diverse characters; more people of color and women. Inside Out takes place inside a young girl’s mind, and its two leading protagonists are female. Pixar’s other 2015 film The Good Dinosaur got an updated plot synopsis earlier this month, and Lasseter has more to share about it. good dino 4

The early clips from this movie played like a cross between “Tarzan” and “Lilo & Stitch.” The story centers on Arlo (Lucas Neff), an Apatosaurus, who after losing his father in a tragic accident, falls into a river, gets knocked out by a rock and finds himself in a land far away. As he makes the trek back home to the Clawed-Tooth Mountains, he befriends a human cave-boy named Spot.

“This is a boy and a dog story, but the roles are reversed,” Lassetersaid. “Arlo, the dinosaur, is the boy in the story and Spot is the dog” — meaning Arlo stands upright and speaks, while Spot travels on his hands and feet and grunts.

There will be a supporting cast of dinosaurs straight out of “Jurassic Park” (only friendlier). “We’re putting our own unique Pixar spin on the dinosaur world,” Lasseter said, as he showed images of a trio of T-Rexes, a Pterodactyl and a shaggy Velociraptor. “The feathers on the Veliraptor look like the haircuts of famous football players,” Lasseter joked.

For any dino connoisseurs out there, the feathered velociraptors should be a welcome addition since they did look like that!

Below is the story for Finding Dory. Finding Dory logo

Even though it’s been 12 years since the original “Finding Nemo,” the sequel takes place just six months later. Dory and Nemo re-team, this time on an adventure to find the title heroine’s family (Ellen DeGeneres, of course, returns as her voice). Dory’s parents, who Lasseter unveiled images of at the presentation, will be played by Diane Keaton (“Neither of us remember a thing?” she says, channeling an aquatic version of Annie Hall) and Eugene Levy.

Among the adventures in store this time: a dip through the Pacific Ocean where shipping containers have fallen off boats; a frightening encounter with a giant squid; wading past a kelp forest on California’s northern coastline; and new friends in the form of an octopus and a whale-shark named Destiny. “She thinks she’s a whale, but she’s actually a shark,” Lasseter said. But will it be better than “Cars 2?”

Lasseter didn’t have anything new to share about Toy Story 4 besides what we know already, but he did say that he’s excited to be back in the director’s chair.

What do you think of these new developments?

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Inside Out at Cannes

Inside Out, John Lasseter, Jonas Rivera, Pete Docter

Posted by Simoa • May 18, 2015

Inside Out premiered today at the prestigious Cannes festival in France, and the response was CFSaXdwWIAA135O overwhelmingly positive. Reviews have started to trickle in, praising the film for its creativity. These reviews aren’t unlike the earlier ones that have come about, but its first major audience has been enthusiastic.

Photos on the right: Director Pete Docter with Pixar chief John Lasseter and producer Jonas Rivera at the Inside Out Cannes photocall.

 

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Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair wrote:

It’s a film that revels in the simple, and yetprofound, wonder of being alive. Oh, the places that Riley, and all of us, too, have yet to go.

The Hollywood Reporter’s review was similarly glowing:

This latest conceptually out-there creation from Pete Docter(Monsters, Inc., Up) serves up some abstractions and flights of deconstructive fantasy that will probably fly over the heads of viewers with ages in the single digits, but this adventurous outing manages the great Pixar trick of operating on two levels—captivating fun for kids, disarming smarts for adults—that sets the studio apart. Reliably big summer grosses appear in store.

Variety:

At the risk of hyperbole, people will still be thinking in terms of these anthropomorphized Emotions long after movies as we know them are gone, in the distant future, when screens are obsolete and immersive stories are beamed directly into your frontal lobe. There’s a reason they call Pixar’s inner team the “Brain Trust”: They can be counted on not only to imagine, but to execute such original ideas as these.

It’s clear that the film is able to execute the concept in an original, inventive way. This is certainly the perfect film to end Pixar’s hiatus.

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John Lasseter: “There’s no desire to make things fit perfectly into any kind of Pixar model.”

John Lasseter, Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • March 11, 2015

Variety spoke with John Lasseter for their March 10 issue, and the animation chief discussed sequels and how things are run at Pixar.

photo via Variety

The article touches on Pixar’s philosophy of failure, which is encouraged in order to make room for risks. Once the fear of failure is removed, directors are freer to honor their ideas. It’s a strategy Pixar president Ed Catmull discussed at length in his book, Creativity, Inc.

Naturally failure is on everyone’s minds as Pixar plans to release more sequels. Although they’ve haven’t produced a mediocre film (those biased against Cars 2 are bound to disagree), the public feels that the animation studio is relying too heavily on existing properties. It’s a little odd that people who dismiss Monsters University, Finding Dory, and Cars 3 have been clamoring for a sequel to The Incredibles. Even if that’s a film where a sequel likely makes the most sense, no one accuses Pixar of “selling out” or of that sequel merely being profit driven. With the exception of Toy Story 2, Pixar’s sequels are never immediately released following the original film. Yet people have been demanding Brad Bird to make one for years.

Lasseter also discusses Toy Story 4, which has a confirmed co-director: story artist Josh Cooley. Cooley’s credits include the upcoming Inside Out, and he directed the short “George & A.J. ”

Addressing the concern over Pixar’s upcoming sequels, including the fourth , Lasseter has this to say:

“We do not do any sequel because we want to print money,” Lasseter says. “We do it because each of these films was created by a group of filmmakers, and to my mind, they are the owners of that intellectual property.

“So we look at it with the simple question: Is there another story we can tell in this world? And that desire has to come from the filmmaker group. Sometimes, the answer is an obvious yes. And sometimes it’s, ‘I love the characters and I love the world, but I don’t have an idea yet.’ And sometimes it’s just, ‘that movie is a great movie,’ and the filmmaker wants to move on and do something else. And that’s fine, too.”

A bit of encouragement about Toy Story 4: the treatment was written by Andrew Stanton. I think we can expect only the best.

Thanks to Leo Holzer on twitter for the heads up on this interview!

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Bob Peterson is Off ‘The Good Dinosaur’; Various Pixar Directors Helming Film

John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Mark Andrews, Pixar In Concert, The Good Dinosaur

Posted by Brkyo614 • August 30, 2013

Earlier this week, we reported on a very worrying rumor that longtime Pixarian Bob Peterson has been removed as director of The Good Dinosaur. Today, Pixar spoke out and confirmed the truth: Bob Peterson has been pulled off the project and replaced by a makeshift team of directors.

Ed Catmull confirmed the news to the LA Times, going on to explain the rationale behind the decision. "All directors get really deep in their films. Sometimes you just need a different perspective to get the idea out. Sometimes directors … are so deeply embedded in their ideas it actually takes someone else to finish it up. I would go so far as to argue that a lot of live-action films would be better off with that same process."

With no replacement for Peterson and a release date quickly approaching, various members of Pixar’s Brain Trust are working with original co-director Pete Sohn to continue work on The Good Dinosaur; John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, and Mark Andrews are now overseeing various segments of the film. Denise Ream is producing in place of John Walker.

While directorial changes are nothing new for Pixar, having four directors juggle a project nine months before release doesn’t inspire much confidence. Pixar remains committed to the May 30 release date, but personally, I’d rather see them push the release back if it means a more polished result.

The good news: Peterson is still at the studio, set to direct another film.

Your thoughts?

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Watch: ‘Monsters University’ B-Roll and Cast & Crew Interviews!

Behind The Scenes, John Lasseter, Monsters University, Pete Docter, Randy Newman

Posted by Brkyo614 • June 5, 2013

Monsters University is nearly upon us, so the cast and crew are beginning to set out on promotional interviews. Trailer Addict has posted a huge selection of interviews and B-rolls, providing some fresh insight about the film.

There are simply too many clips to embed, so be sure to check out the glut of interviews at Trailer Addict. Below, Billy Crystal and John Goodman discuss their roles in the film:

If you’re not cautious about spoilers, the B-rolls document the voice acting, art design, animation, and scoring of MU, accentuated by Randy Newman’s soundtrack. Watch the first of seven here:

I always look forward to these B-roll clips, as they give a raw (if somewhat brief) look at the production of a Pixar film. Monsters University is out on June 21.

Your thoughts?

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