Director’s Chair Introduction: Andrew Stanton

by Tony Cogan · November 2, 2020 · Director's Chair · No Comments

Deadline: 28 November 2020

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Hello everyone, it’s time to reveal the featured director for November over on Director’s Chair and this month, I’ve decided to go back to animation with Andrew Stanton.

After being hired to work on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures for Ralph Bakshi’s studio, Stanton was hired by Pixar as their second animator. At the time Stanton was hired, Pixar was not a full fledged animation studio, with their work being focused on adverts and shorts to prepare for a full length computer animated film. This came about with Toy Story. Whilst Stanton did not direct the film, he was heavily involved behind the scenes, including rewriting the script after Joss Whedon wrote an early draft. After the success of Toy Story, which included being nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars, Stanton was asked to co-direct A Bug’s Life, with Stanton helping to nail down the connective tissue of the plot. Stanton also wrote the scripts for Toy Story 2 and Monsters Inc, before making his sole directorial debut with Finding Nemo.

Whilst Disney CEO Michael Eisner predicted Finding Nemo would fail, it ended up being a massive success on release, becoming the then highest grossing animated film of all time and the highest grossing film at the US Box Office in 2003 (although being beaten worldwide by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), and winning the Oscar for Best Animated Film.

Stanton followed up the success of Finding Nemo with WALL-E. Whilst there were concerns that the more experimental nature of the film, with there being no dialogue for the first half hour, WALL-E ended up being another massive success, winning Stanton another Oscar for Best Animated Film.

In 2012, Stanton made his live action debut, adapting Edgar Rice Burrough’s Barsoom series to film after other studios spent decades trying to adapt them with John Carter. However, upon release, John Carter received mixed to negative reviews and ended up being one of the biggest box office bombs in film history.

After the failure of John Carter, Stanton returned to Pixar and, after seeing a 3D remaster of Finding Nemo, he got the idea to direct a sequel, Finding Dory. Upon release, Finding Dory received positive reviews and was the highest grossing animated film of 2016.

Stanton is currently in talks to direct Chairman Spaceman, an adaptation of Thomas Pierce’s short story of the same name, which will mark Stanton’s third venture into sci-fi.

Alongside his work in film, Stanton has been more involved in directing TV, directing episodes of Stranger Things, Better Call Saul and the final episode of Legion.

As a reminder, the films of Stanton’s you can cover are below:

  • A Bug’s Life
  • Finding Nemo
  • WALL-E
  • John Carter
  • Finding Dory

I look forward to reading what you send me.