One of the many things that sets Pixar apart from other animation studios (less so Disney these days, you might imagine) is their dedication to nurture and cultivation. This applies both to the talent, the animators and directors, but also to their projects. As such, many of their films begin with a pitch that’s rather different than the film we finally end up with in cinemas.
On the recent publicity rounds to support Up, Pete Docter was given a chance to recount his original pitch for Monsters Inc. You can read a transcript of what he said after the break.
Well, my idea was that what it was about was about a 30 year old man who is like an accountant or something, he hates his job, and one day he gets a book with some drawings in it that he did when he was a kid from his mom, and he doesn’t think anything of it and he puts it on the shelf and that night, monsters show up. And nobody else can see them. He thinks he’s starting to go crazy, they follow him to his job, and on his dates, and all this— and it turns out these monsters are fears that he never dealt with as a kid.
And each one of them represents a different kind of fear. As he conquers those fears, the guys who he slowly becomes kind of friends with, they disappear as he conquers those fears. It’s this bittersweet kinda ending where they go away, and so not much of that stayed.
Indeed, all one can really recognise is the idea of monsters that scare children. That’s obviously the hook, anyway, and it’s not much wonder it survived while the rest twisted and turned into something new.
The Monsters Inc. IMDB trivia page has a version of this pitch, though they have a box of monster toys and not drawings. There’s also reference to this original idea on the Monsters Inc. DVD. All the same, the inner workings of Pixar picture are endlessly fascinating to me.
Elsewhere in the podcast, Docter and Bob Peterson confirm that they were working together on a new film, the one we know isn’t a Monsters sequel. How long until we find out just what it is they’re up to?