Many people don’t know that Joss Whedon was one of the screenwriters on Toy Story. Pixar often brings in “a stranger from the outside” to help with various aspects of development. Sometimes they are credited, sometimes they aren’t. Some might remember that eight-time nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins was wrought in to help develop WALL-E’s real-life visual aesthetic.
I thought I’d bring up a little trivia tidbit about the creative team behind Pixar’s new film because most people don’t know this yet (it isn’t even on IMDb). BAFTA Award winning screenwriter/director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor) worked on Pixar’s latest movie Up.
When I was at Pixar a couple weeks back, I was able to ask director Pete Docter about McCarthy’s involvement, and his contributions which were enough to earn him a screenwriting credit in the final film. Apparently McCarthy was brought onto the project early during development at a time when Up screenwriter and co-director Bob Peterson was pulled off the project to help out Ratatouille.
“Bob and I developed the idea, played with it for quite a while and then [Bob] was on Rat (the working title for Ratatouille),” says Docter. “And then for some time I really needed someone to spark off of and I met Tom before and really liked his films, The Station Agent especially — which was actually one of the models for the story, a family coming together… So he came in and wrote two drafts. He was here for three months and then Bob came back.”
Bob later told me that one of Mccarthy’s biggest contributions to the story was the creation of Russell the Wilderness Explorer.