In Part I of our exclusive interview, Lee Unkrich immersed us into the world of an animation director.
For the final portion, we will delve beyond production and into the ever approaching release of Toy Story 3 on Blu-ray. Let’s begin with a question about Lee’s unprecedented interaction with fans.
Upcoming Pixar: What has been the most rewarding experience via platforms like Twitter and Formspring?
Lee Unkrich: It’s just been really nice connecting with people at a grass-roots level. We’ve always loved our fans, and it’s been nice for me to interact with them far more than we’ve been able to in the past.
The most illuminating thing that came to light via Twitter was the depth of passion for the Toy Story films that was expressed to me by so many people who were just little kids when the first film came out. For many of them, Toy Story was a really special part of their childhoods, and as they’re now making the transition into adulthood, they’ve really appreciated Toy Story 3 being there to help mark that passage. They feel like the Toy Story films grew up with them, and that meant a lot to us to hear. And I don’t think I would have been aware of any of this without Twitter.
UP: What feature, other than the film’s commentary, do you think Pixar fans will enjoy the most?
LU: It’s all great stuff. The piece that breaks down the opening of the film, and shows many of the talented folks who worked on it, is really great. I’m also fond of the piece that talks about all the amazing voice talent I got to work with. But really, all of it. If you’re a rabid Pixar fan, you’ll want to watch every last morsel.
UP: Can you give us any hints at Easter Eggs on the Blu-ray?
LU: There are no Easter Eggs. Everything’s right there on the surface, ready to be enjoyed. [Editorial Note: Lee Unkrich did provide us with a screengrab of his favorite in-joke in the film. Click right for a large image of Lee’s Six Million Dollar Man lunch box from his childhood, as seen in TS3.]
UP: What keeps you going; what are your words to live by?
LU: There are things in life you have control over, and there are things that you do not. Worry about the things you can control; ignore the things you cannot.
UP: What would you say to Pixar fans who are also eager to work in the animation industry?
LU: Cast a wide net. Learn about all the different aspects of making these kinds of films. Figure out what you feel most excited and passionate about, and then focus on that. Become really good at it. You never know where opportunities will come from in life, but you need to be ready to grab the reins when the opportunities present themselves.
Most importantly, experience life. Don’t live in a cinematic cocoon. The work you create should be influenced by life, not by other movies you’ve seen.
UP: What’s next for you?
LU: Making more movies. Hopefully good ones.
Missed Part I? Click here to read it in its entirety.
Thanks again to Lee Unkrich (follow him on Twitter) and the team at Pixar for making this possible. We really appreciate it!