Pixar’s brain trust decided to bring in a new filmmaker to do a “restart” on newt. The filmmaker was Pete Doctor, the director of Monsters Inc and Up .
And so the person we brought in said, “yes, I will do a restart on the film. But since we’re restarting, I have an idea which I think is even better, which is a completely different idea.” And when he pitched that idea, we said, “you’re absolutely right! That’s a brilliant idea.”
Asked what movie that abandoned project turned into, Catmull said, “That’s the one that’s coming out next summer.” So while we will never see newt, we will get to see the film that spawned from the project’s ashes – Inside Out, due to hit theaters on June 19th 2015. And you can listen to the whole Ed Catmull interview on the Tim Ferris Show. Its a great podcast that I listen to on a regular basis.
Docter has talked about the origin of the idea, which came right after making Up: they wanted to do something different but how could they make a film everyone would relate to and understand, but had never been seen before? Docter found the answer in his daughter Ellie, who at the age of 12 went from a super-happy little girl to highly emotional young woman. What was going on in her mind? Inside Out was born of that question. Here is the official story synopsis for Inside Out:
Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.
It doesn’t seem like Inside Out took any leftover ingredients from newt — even Catmull said it was “a completely different idea.”
The above newt crossing sign was photographed on the Pixar Animation Campus.
But while we’re here, lets take a look back at newt, Pixar’s only abandoned project to date. Walt Disney Studios even released the logo at the top of this story, alongside the following official plot synopsis:
“What happens when the last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet are forced together by science to save the species, and they can’t stand each other? Newt and Brooke embark on a perilous, unpredictable adventure and discover that finding a mate never goes as planned, even when you only have one choice. Love, it turns out, is not a science.”
newt was first announced at a 2008 Disney presentation which had director Gary Rydstrom on stage presenting a complicated 9 part Newt mating ritual chart. Rydstrom pitched the set-up for the film, which was to follow the last two blue footed newts on this earth, a male and a female, who are thrown together by science but can’t stand each other.
AICN had an in-depth write up of Pixar’s in depth 2008 presentation, but here is the rundown: Newt has been in captivity since he was a tadpole, and is very lonely. His only friend is a lifeless sock puppet. He can read the mating ritual chart from his cage and practices the steps every day in hopes that scientists capture him a girlfriend. Unfortunately, the 9th and final step of the mating chart is obscured by a Mr. Coffee, so he doesn’t know how to complete the ritual.
Brook is a wild female Blue-Footed Newt, completely unaware that she’s the last female of her species. She escapes biologists who are always chasing her on an almost daily basis. But one day they catch her and bring her back to the lab, which is where she meets Newt. But things don’t spark in the ways the scientists had hoped, leading to “the world’s worst first date”. And somehow they both end up in the wild and newt needs to rely on Brook to survive the dangers of the wild. This is where they meet Eddie, a giant Hellbender Salamander, a ladies man who “passes along his incredibly shallow ideas of love to Newt.” Of course, none of his suggestions work on Brook.
“Newt is a movie about how finding a mate never goes as you expect even, make that especially, if you only have one choice.”
Here is some more concept art from the abandoned Pixar feature film: