Pete Docter has been with Pixar since the beginning, the third animator the studio hired. Since then, he has packed every one of his films – including ‘Toy Story’, ‘Monsters, Inc.’ and forthcoming ‘Inside Out’ – with invention, emotion and insight. Below he shares his favourites from the Pixar family.
From Woody to WALL-E, Pixar's animation genius Pete Docter on the studio's best-loved characters
Animation guru Pete Docter is the man behind ‘Toy Story’, ‘Monsters, Inc.’ and ‘Up’. As ‘Inside Out’ hits cinemas this week, he talks about some of his best-loved Pixar creations
‘Right from the start, the character of WALL-E was going to be silent – we knew we could hook audiences in with nothing but movement, and still understand what’s going on in the character’s head. It seemed like a big risk to a lot of folks, but for us animators it felt like an opportunity. But it was a lot of work!’
‘My daughter was the inspiration for the whole movie, and for the character of Riley. She was about 11 when she began to change quite a bit, as kids do. We looked into making the central character male, but we talked to child psychologists who told us that girls are especially attuned to their emotions, and to social interaction.’
‘We thought of Joy as the protagonist from the beginning, because we knew the audience would be on board with that. Everyone wants to be happy. But at first, Joy was completely unbearable. She was relentlessly positive and upbeat. Then we tried the opposite approach, making her vindictive, and that didn’t work either. We weren’t sure how to play her. Then we signed on Amy Poehler and she said: I think I can help you. I can get away with saying things other people can’t! Amy helped us find that balance, likeability but with an edge.’
Read our review of ‘Inside Out’
It’s all in the mind in Pixar’s latest, a delightful, frenetic, near-experimental animated film from the makers of 'Up' and 'Toy Story'. Pixar fans will be in seventh heaven with the film’s bold thinking – and kids will be straining to listen to imaginary voices in their heads – after diving into the mind of Riley, an 11-year-old girl whose tiny world is turned upside down when she moves from Minnesota to San Francisco with her mum and dad.