December 3, 1965 – Director, Screenwriter, Producer, and Voice Actor Andrew Stanton is Born
“Without meaning to, I sort of made this epic journey that takes you all over the ocean. That meant every set piece had to be different. The look of being underwater is actually quite simple from a technical standpoint. It was just really tough to dial all the different ingredients just right.”
On December 3, 1965, Andrew Stanton was born in Rockport, Massachusetts. As a child, he wanted to be a comic-book artist, which evolved into wanting to become an animator. He attended the famed California Institute of the Arts, and in 1990, he was the second animator to join Pixar Animation Studios; he and Pete Docter were the ninth and tenth employees hired by the young animation studio. He soon began working as a designer and writer on Pixar’s first film, Toy Story. The time spent on Toy Story was rather tense, as the writers were given comments and notes from Jeffery Katzenberg, whose big push was to make the main characters more “edgy;” in following these notes, the film was no longer Pixar’s, and the character of Woody was stripped of all charm. Disney shut down the production, and the Pixar team quickly began rewriting the film they wanted to make, with Stanton sequestering himself in a small office, only to emerge with new pages of script. The film went on to be a success, with Andrew Stanton, along with Joss Whedon, Alec Sokolow, and Joel Cohen garnering an Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Stanton would go on to co-direct and co-write A Bug’s Life, co-write Toy Story 2, and co-write and Monsters, Inc., before being tapped to direct his first feature film, Finding Nemo. It became highest grossing animated feature on its release (before being taken over by Toy Story 3), and Stanton was awarded the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Stanton’s next major project was 2007’s Wall-E, which he directed and co-wrote. Similar to Finding Nemo, Stanton wanted to pick a setting that would challenge the animators, this time choosing space. The film was another success, winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. After Wall-E, Stanton mostly executively produced several short films for Pixar, and co-wrote Toy Story 3. In 2012, Stanton’s project John Carter was released; he directed and co-wrote the film, adapting it from A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Unfortunately, the film received mixed critical reviews, and just barely made back its budget. However, Stanton announced that his next project is back at Pixar, working on a sequel to his hit film, Finding Nemo.