Darla K. Anderson: Made big play with ‘Toy’

Women's Impact Report: Femme Filmmakers

When you’ve produced the biggest-grossing film of 2010 to date, you earn a little R&R.

Darla K. Anderson chose to take that in Kauai, her favorite of the Hawaiian isles, after “Toy Story 3,” which has grossed north of $1 billion worldwide. Batteries recharged, she’s now deciding what her next project will be at Pixar — and toward the top of that list is sweet revenge.

The story of how a series of practical jokes at the company led to “Finding Nemo” director Andrew Stanton naming the braces-wearing “fish killer” that Nemo and friends fear in his movie after Anderson is fairly well known. She hasn’t gotten him back yet — but she hasn’t forgotten.

“I have an idea that hasn’t manifested,” she says. “I tried it in ‘Cars.’ The bad guy was called Stanton originally, but it wasn’t evil sounding enough. But I have a suitable revenge. I know his tender spots. I don’t know how scared he is — but he should be!”

Anderson’s more than a good sport, she’s also a 17-year veteran of the studio, not only producing “Monsters, Inc.” and “Cars” but also providing feedback on every project released. In 2010 — and the three preceding years — she has been mostly focused on bringing Woody, Buzz and Jessie back to the bigscreen.

The film came with high expectations. Since “Toy Story” is such a beloved franchise, fans would send notes to Anderson and Co. telling them not to screw up. Facing those expectations did cause the team to freeze up a bit at the beginning of the project, but they quickly shook it off.

“I think it could have sidetracked us in the beginning, but we had to say, ‘Let’s just make a film we really enjoy ourselves and focus on the story we’re trying to do. Don’t have second thoughts,’?” she says. “You can second-guess yourself until the cows come home. But that’s how we did our other movies.”