Andrew Christopher Stanton Jr. was born December 3, 1965 in Rockport, Massachusetts. He grew up with dreams of becoming a comic book artist, rock star or an actor. In high school, Andrew was involved in drama and acted in Godspell, Fiddler on the Roof and Hello, Dolly! (He played the character of Barnaby).
“I was always that kid in school that could draw, but really didn’t take school too seriously,” He did take the movies seriously, though, watching them “chopped up on channels 38 and 56″ and going every week to Rockport’s Little Art Cinema. (Stanton eventually worked there as an usher.) (Boston Globe Interview – 6/21/08)
“I saw a hot fluorescent-orange binder in the guidance counselor’s office and I pulled it out and it was for CalArts. Complete luck that I found that brochure because once I found out there was a school started by Walt Disney that taught you how to animate, I was hooked.” (Creative Screenwriting Podcast – 12/16/08)
Stanton received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in character animation from the California Institute of the Arts in 1987. His prominent student films included A Story (a tale of a boy named Melvin, a dinosaur named Ted, and a killer clown named Randy ) and Somewhere in the Arctic (about a polar bear being chased by three Eskimos). After graduation, Andrew worked as an animator for Kroyer Films, followed by a stint as a writer for animation legend Ralph Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse, the New Adventure (Season 1). After being turned down for jobs at Disney on three separate occasions, he was hired by John Lasseter to join Pixar in 1990. He became the second animator (and ninth employee) to join the studio. His relationship with Lasseter was cemented with work as an animator in the Luxo Jr. short films Surprise and Light and Heavy in 1991 and the duo’s harmonious sensibilities were brilliantly realized when Stanton served as writer and character designer for Toy Story. Stanton was one of the four screenwriters to receive an Oscar nomination in 1996 for his contribution to Toy Story. In addition to writing the Pixar feature A Bug’s Life, Stanton served as co-director. Stanton helped write the screenplays of Pixar’s next two films Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story 2.
Finding Nemo‘s roots back to a 1992 visit to Six Flags Marine World and started Andrew thinking about the amazing possibilities of capturing an undersea world in computer animation. The film was inspired by a fleeting moment of realization in which Stanton observed that his overprotective fatherly instincts were preventing him from properly bonding with his son. It tells the tale of a young clown fish who is whisked from the ocean to a dentist-office aquarium and his father’s quest to bring his son back home safely. As with Stanton’s other writing efforts, Finding Nemo focused on character development and provided an emotional resonance and heart rarely seem in animation.
Stanton gave voice to one of the film’s most amusing characters, an addled turtle named Crush who helps direct Nemo through the Australian current. Finding Nemo would go on to become the highest grossing animated film of all time and earned over $864 million in worldwide box office. Andrew Stanton received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay and won a much deserved Oscar for Best Animated Film, the first such honor
Pixar Animation Studios has received for a full-length feature. It’s also the best-selling DVD of all time, with over 40 million copies sold. In 2008, the feature was named 10th on the American Film Institute’s list of best animated films ever made. Finding Nemo currently holds a 98% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
After Finding Nemo, Stanton served as executive producer on Ratatouille, as well as the 2003 documentary short Exploring the Reef, which partnered famed oceanographer Jean-Michael Cousteau with Nemo co-stars Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres.
Wall-E, a story that goes back to a now famous Pixar lunch (thanks to teaser trailer for the film) in 1994, was next on Andrew’s radar. At once an epic science fiction film about a lonely, but highly motivated robot whose primary mission – to clean up an abandoned and polluted Earth. Wall-E is in part a love letter to the science fiction films that inspired Andrew over the years. Films like Planet of the Apes, 2001, Silent Running, Alien, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blade Runner and E.T. At its core, Wall-E is about someone looking for love and overcoming their programming and making a difference in other people’s lives.
WALL-E won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film and was nominated for five other Academy Awards (Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Original Song (“Down to Earth”), Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Achievement in Sound Mixing). Wall-E was also another critical succcess for Stanton and currently has a 96% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Stanton served as executive producer on Pete Docter’s Up and contributed to the story of Toy Story 3. In 2012, He moved into live action with John Carter, an adaptation of the popular science fiction novels by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Stanton is currently back at Pixar working on his next project.
- Toy Story (1995) (original story, screenplay)
- A Bug’s Life (1998) (co-director,original story, screenplay)
- Toy Story 2 (1999) (original story, screenplay, voice of Emperor Zurg)
- Monsters, Inc. (2001) (screenplay, executive producer)
- Finding Nemo (2003) (director, original story, screenplay, voice of Crush)
- Ratatouille (2007) (executive producer)
- WALL-E (2008) (director, original story, screenplay)
- BURN-E (2008) (story, executive producer)
- Up (2009) (executive producer)
- Partly Cloudy (2009) (executive producer)
- Toy Story 3 (2010) (story)
- John Carter (2012) (director, screenplay)
- Before joining Pixar, worked as an animator on Pencil Test with Nancy Tague (who later became Nancy Lasseter) for Apple, a demonstration of color graphics for the Mac II.
- Along with John Lasseter and Pete Docter, he co-directed the Luxo Jr. Sesame Street shorts Surprise and Light and Heavy
- Among Andrews biggest contributions to Monsters, Inc. were coming up with Boo’s name and the concept of the childrens’ screams as a power source for Monstropolis.
- Like many Pixarians, Andrew is a budding musician. He plays guitar (amongst his collection of guitars is a distressed replica of Joe Strummer’s (The Clash) Fender electric.)
- Andrew is a rabid Boston Red Sox fan. His father bought his a piece of sod from Fenway Park following the 2004 World Series. It’s now planted in Andrew’s front lawn.
- Amongst Andrew’s favorite films of all time are Lawrence of Arabia, Cinema Paradiso, Cool Hand Luke, Lion in Winter and Gallipoli.
- Favorite animated character: Shere Khan (Jungle Book). ” (“It was probably the closest, most symbiotic relationship between a voice actor’s voice [George Sanders’s] and the character design. It really looks like that voice is coming out of that character.”)
- Andrew married his high school sweetheart Julie. They have a son, Ben, and a daughter, Audrey
- Ain’t It Cool News – June 24, 2008
- BBC – September 30, 2003
- Boston Globe – June 22, 2008
- Business Week – June 30, 2008
- CG Society – Making Finding Nemo – 2003
- Christianity Today – June 24, 2008
- Cinefantastique – June 28, 2008
- Cinema Blend – June 27, 2008
- Coming Soon.net – June 13, 2008
- Creative Screenwriting – December 16, 2008 (Podcast)
- Deseret News – May 30, 2003
- Fresh Air with Terry Gross – July 10, 2008 (Podcast)
- Hot Blog with David Poland – February 6, 2008
- In Focus – May, 2003
- Movie Maker – February 3, 2003
- NY Times Magazine – May 4, 2008
- Onion AV Club – June 25, 2008
- Urban Cinefile – August 28, 2003
- World Magazine – June 28, 2008