Four years ago, in a light-filled chalet built on a dock over a Northern California bay, a group of animators and directors gathered to brainstorm a story idea for a new film. “It was John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, Darla Anderson, Bob Peterson, Jeff Pigeon, and me,” says Lee Unkrich, director of Disney/Pixar's Toy Story 3. “It was the same place John, Andrew, and Pete had met to work out the first one.”
The first movie, of course, was the legendary Joy Story the first animated feature created with 3D computer graphics. ‘The film became the top-grossing movie in 1995 and launched Pixar's unbroken string of 10 box-office and critical hits, Lasseter directed, and he, Stanton, Docter, and the late Joe Ranft won Oscar nominations for the story.
Now, 10 animated features and numerous awards later, it was time to send Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the popular characters careening back into theaters.
“I was excited and petrified,” says Unkrich, who had co-directed the 1999 hit Toy Story 2 with Lasseter. “No director wants to be the one who makes the dud. And, this would be a sequel to two of the most beloved and critically acclaimed films.”