×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Toy Story’ sequel set

Unkrich to direct upcoming feature

“Toy Story 3” is coming in 2009, but John Lasseter won’t be the director.

In an unusually candid presentation from the typically tight-lipped execs, Lasseter and Disney Animation prexy Ed Catmull provided extensive details on their upcoming slate at the Mouse House’s investor conference Thursday.

In addition to confirming for the first time that a third “Toy Story” is in the works, Lasseter said Lee Unkrich will helm it.

Unkrich co-directed “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Finding Nemo” but has never before been sole helmer on a Pixar pic.

Lasseter directed the first two “Toy Story” pics but is presumably too busy in his new post as chief creative officer of Disney Animation to work on individual films.

Michael Arndt, Oscar-nominated scribe of “Little Miss Sunshine,” is penning the script.

Disney hasn’t yet announced a release date for the pic, though a 2009 release looks likely.

Lasseter said, “The greatest thing about the merger of the two companies is that the creators of ‘Toy Story’ 1 and 2 can make 3 with the story that we wanted.”

Comment was a not-too-subtle swipe at Disney’s former plan to develop a third “Toy Story,” without Pixar input, before Disney decided to buy the toon studio in late 2005.

Lasseter also revealed a behind-the-scenes shift at Walt Disney Feature Animation — which is separate from Pixar but also under the control of Lasseter and Catmull — by announcing that Chris Williams, a vet story artist at the Mouse, is now directing 2008 release “American Dog.” Pic was developed and previously under the control of “Lilo & Stitch” helmer Chris Sanders, who recently left Disney.

Catmull denied speculation that Walt Disney Feature Animation may become a 2-D-only studio, with Pixar handling CGI, though he did confirm the Mouse will bring back hand-drawn pics.

“We’re really excited about that and have brought back some great directors to work on that,” he said, presumably referring to “The Frog Princess,” a 2-D pic being developed by “Aladdin” and “Treasure Planet” helmers Ron Clements and John Musker, whom Lasseter brought back to Disney last year. That pic is believed to be on the fast track and may be the division’s next release after “American Dog.”

Catmull admitted there were problems at Disney Feature Animation when he and Lasseter took over.

“At Disney we have these remarkable artists who were there, but in all candor (they) were not kneaded together in the right way,” he stated. “The whole wasn’t greater than the sum of its parts, but there were some great parts there.”

He said that he and Lasseter are trying to make Disney Feature Animation’s pics more director-driven, as at Pixar, and that members of the two units are giving each other notes and sharing technology.

He didn’t mention December’s layoff of 160 animators, about 20% of the WDFA staff.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

  • Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider'

    Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider' Gets a Concert/Screening Premiere at Radio City

    In a year full of major 50th anniversary commemorations — from Woodstock to the moon landing — why not one for “Easy Rider,” Dennis Hopper’s hippie-biker flick that was released on July 14, 1969? That was the idea when a rep for Peter Fonda, who starred in the film as the laid-back Captain America, reached out [...]

  • Costa Gavras

    Costa-Gavras and Cast on Nationality, Identity, and Cinema

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Though he’s been based in Paris since 1955 and came up through the French film industry, director Costa-Gavras has never forgotten his roots. “Those who are born Greek,” said the Peloponnese-born filmmaker at a Saturday press conference,  “stay Greek all their lives.” The once-and-always Greek was not just in San Sebastian to [...]

  • Lorene Scafaria, Jennifer Lopez. Lorene Scafaria,

    'Hustlers' Director Lorene Scafaria: 'We Wanted to Treat It Like a Sports Movie'

    The star-studded cast of “Hustlers” didn’t just become strippers in the empowering female-helmed blockbuster — they also became athletes. When speaking to “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month, “Hustlers” director Lorene Scafaria explained the extreme athleticism required of the movie’s leading actresses, who all had [...]

  • Jonathan Van NessLos Angeles Beautycon, Portrait

    Jonathan Van Ness Reveals HIV Diagnosis, Former Drug Addiction

    “Queer Eye’s” Jonathan Van Ness is getting vulnerable in his new memoir “Over the Top.” In a preview of his book with the New York Times, Van Ness opened up about his early struggles with sex and drug addiction as well as his experience with sexual assault, revealing that he was abused by an older [...]

  • 4127_D022_00003_RC(l-r.) Elizabeth McGovern stars as Lady

    Box Office: 'Downton Abbey' Dominating 'Ad Astra,' 'Rambo' With $31 Million Opening

    “Downton Abbey” is heading for a positively brilliant opening weekend after scoring $13.8 million in domestic ticket sales on Friday. If estimates hold, the feature film version of the popular British television show should take home approximately $31 million come Sunday, marking the biggest opening ever for distributor Focus Features and beating previous record holder [...]

  • Gully Boy to represent India in

    'Gully Boy' to Represent India In Oscars Race

    The Film Federation of India has chosen Zoya Akhtar’s “Gully Boy” as its entry in the Academy Awards’ international feature film category. The picture, a coming of age tale about an aspiring rapper in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum premiered at the Berlin film festival in February before opening to a wave of acclaim at home in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content