Even among Pixar's pedigreed writers and directors, Andrew Stanton stands out. The writer and animator cut his teeth on films like Toy Story and A Bug's Life before graduating to directing in 2003 with Finding Nemo, a film which won him an Academy Award. Subsequently, Stanton contributed voice talents on Brad Bird's The Incredibles, and continues to develop film projects, the latest of which is Wall-E, scheduled for release in May of 2008.

Stanton appeared last week at the San Diego Comic-Con to promote Wall-E, offering fans a plot synopsis and a first look at footage. The film takes place in the future, where a little robot left behind on Earth aspires to venture off into space and find the humans he was programmed to clean up after. Following the presentation, Stanton spoke with IGN in an exclusive interview that turned out to be the very first he has done thus far for the forthcoming film.

IGN: Watching and listening to the Comic-Con footage I was immediately reminded of folks like Aphex Twin and Chris Cunningham, who are always tinkering with technology. How much practical design went into coming up with how the robots would look and function?

Andrew Stanton: There wasn't really a chicken and egg kind-of issue. To be honest, just because I've watched people watch Luxo, Jr. for almost 15 years now again and again when they come to Pixar, it fascinates me that I still get caught up in it. There's something about the fact that it doesn't have a face; you treat it as an appliance first, not as a character with gloves and hands and stuff, that just makes you really invest even more in it than you would a different kind of character. That was almost like base knowledge as an animator, at least working at Pixar; you just know the power of that. So it just felt to me like a robot was an obvious choice to take it to the next level, and that kind of place where you would have an even larger vocabulary of sounds and movements to interpret and to infer things and get more audience participation and payoff than you would for a character just telling you what they think and telling you how they feel.

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