Toy Story 4 writer

Toy Story 4 is scheduled to hit theaters next year, but is that even possible at this point? The highly-anticipated sequel has just now added a writer, and depending on how much has to be written for the film, there’s a strong indication that the film might be delayed. More on the new Toy Story 4 writer below.

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Pixar logo

(Welcome to The Disney Discourse, a recurring feature where Josh Spiegel discusses the latest in Disney news. He goes deep on everything from the animated classics to the theme parks to live-action franchises. In this edition: in the wake of the allegations against John Lasseter, where does Pixar go from here?)

Over the past week, I’ve been thinking a lot about Brenda Chapman.

Maybe you don’t know Brenda Chapman’s name, but you’re probably familiar with her work. She’s a career animator and filmmaker, having started out at Walt Disney Animation Studios in the late 1980s on The Little Mermaid, before moving up the ranks to become the head of story on The Lion King, and then jumping over to the fledgling DreamWorks Animation to co-direct The Prince of Egypt. Chapman’s biggest success should have been when she moved to Pixar Animation Studios to direct a film inspired by her relationship with her daughter, an emotional adventure set in the Scottish Highlands about a rebellious redheaded teenager and her prim and proper mother.

That movie, of course, is Brave, the 2012 Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature. While Chapman got a moment of triumph there, giving an acceptance speech next to director Mark Andrews, she’d been replaced in 2010 on the project. We can chalk that up to those fabled “creative differences.” Not everyone who’s replaced as a director on a film at Pixar leaves the company (see Bob Peterson and The Good Dinosaur), but only a few months after she won the Oscar, when asked if she could ever imagine returning to Pixar, Chapman said the following: “That door is closed. I made the right decision to leave and firmly closed that door. I have no desire to go back there. The atmosphere and the leadership doesn’t fit well with me.”

So, among the many feelings and thoughts that ran through my mind after I read story after story of allegations of sexual abuse and harassment against John Lasseter, the current head of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, I kept thinking about Brenda Chapman.

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Andrew Kreisberg fired

It took the Harvey Weinstein case to get Hollywood to finally open its eyes to the flood of sexual harassment and sexual assault situations that have been happening in the industry for years (sometimes lasting decades), and the dominoes continue to fall.

The latest person to go down is Andrew Kreisberg, the co-creator and executive producer of The CW superhero shows The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow, and Supergirl, who as of today has officially been fired by the Warner Bros. Television Group because of sexual harassment allegations.

Meanwhile, more details have surfaced about the conduct of Pixar guru John Lasseter in the wake of him taking a leave of absence from the animation studio last week due to his own sexual harassment issues, which he referred to as “missteps.”
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rashida jones toy story 4

In the fallout from John Lasseter‘s announcement that he is stepping down from Pixar amid allegations of sexual misconduct, Rashida Jones has clarified the reason for her departure from the writing team of Toy Story 4.

The Hollywood Reporter article that initially revealed the allegations of Lasseter’s alleged sexual harassment of female employees claimed that the reason that Jones and her writing partner, Will McCormack, left the project early in development because Lasseter made an “unwanted advance” towards her. Shortly after the article was published, Jones explained to a New York Times reporter that this was not the case.

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john lasseter

John Lasseter, current Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios and DisneyToon Studios, has announced a sudden leave of absence following “missteps.” In a new statement, the Toy Story director acknowledged “difficult conversations” and acknowledged possibly crossing lines and making people uncomfortable. Lasseter’s leave of absence news was soon followed by allegations of sexual misconduct involving the filmmaker. More details about the John Lasseter sexual harassment allegations are below.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Toy Story 3

Here’s something we didn’t see coming: Pixar’s chief creative officer John Lasseter – who directed the first two movies in the Toy Story franchise – just revealed that he is no longer directing Toy Story 4. Read on to find out the latest about Pixar’s departed Toy Story 4 director.
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Force Awakens contributions - star wars: the force awakens bb8 thumbs up

The new 3D Blu-ray of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now available, including an audio commentary from director/co-writer JJ Abrams. Abrams gives a lot of cool behind the scenes information in the track, but one of the most interesting bits is his acknowledgement of where some of the ideas and changes came from, including contributions from Steven Spielberg, John Lasseter, Jon Kasdan, Ava DuVernay and more. Learn about The Force Awakens contributions, who contributed notable moments in the film and what they were, after the jump.
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moana interview

Over the Summer, I got the great opportunity to talk with filmmakers Ron Clements and John Musker about their upcoming Walt Disney Animation Studios film Moana. Ron & Jon are animation legends, having worked on many great Disney animated movies over the years, including The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Treasure Planet and The Princess and the Frog.

Over the course of our discussion, Ron and Jon talk about how the project developed with Maui originally set to be the main character of the story, how Thor Ragnarok director Taika Waititi brought to the script, developing the musical elements, Lin-Manuel Miranda writing songs for The Rock to sing, how Mad Max: Fury Road helped inspired an action sequence featuring the Kakamora in the film. Hit the jump to read the full Moana interview.
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heihei Moana

Four months before animation work on Walt Disney Animation Studios’ latest film Moana was set to conclude, Disney Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter sat down to decide the fate of one of the movie’s characters. The character had been in the story since day one, and had survived the many iterations of the story, but the consensus was that he was not working and needed to be removed from the movie.

After slaving away on the film for the past five years, directors Ron Clements and John Musker were not ready to let go of their beloved rooster. Heihei (pronounced hay-hay) was on the chopping block, and by a stroke of luck, the Moana story team had 48 hours to “save the rooster.”

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Finding Dory

Most of the Pixar films have a co-director, yet most everyone who watches a Pixar movie probably has no idea what the co-director does. So while I was doing a long-lead press day for Pixar’s upcoming sequel Finding Dory, I decided to ask director Andrew Stanton to help explain how his co-director Angus MacLane contributes to the overall film.

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