Andrew Stanton

Andrew Ayers Stanton (born December 3, 1965) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer and voice actor based at Pixar, which he joined in 1990.[1] His film work includes co-writing Pixar's A Bug's Life (1998) (as co-director), Finding Nemo (2003) and its sequel Finding Dory (2016), WALL-E (2008), and the live-action film, Disney's John Carter (2012). He also co-wrote all four Toy Story films (1995-2019) and Monsters, Inc. (2001).

Andrew Stanton
Andrew Stanton cropped 2009.jpg
Stanton at the 2009 Venice Film Festival
Born (1965-12-03) December 3, 1965 (age 54)
OccupationFilm director, producer, screenwriter, voice actor
Years active1981–present
EmployerPixar Animation Studios (1990–present)
Notable work
Julie Stanton
(m. 1991)

Finding Nemo and WALL-E earned Stanton two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature. He was also nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay, for Finding Nemo, WALL-E, and Toy Story (1995), and for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Toy Story 3 (2010). On television, Stanton directed two episodes of Stranger Things in 2017, an episode of Better Call Saul in 2018, and the final season premiere of Legion in 2019.

Early lifeEdit

Stanton was born in Rockport, Massachusetts and graduate of Rockport High School (1983). Stanton is a professed Christian.[2]


He was one of several CalArts graduates hired by John Kricfalusi to work on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures at Ralph Bakshi's studio.[3]

He was hired by Pixar's animation group in January 1990 as its second animator (John Lasseter being the first one) and ninth employee.[1] Back then the company was not yet an animation studio, and their animation group was dedicated to making television commercials as a step towards their goal of making the first computer-animated feature.[4]

He, Lasseter, Pete Docter and Joe Ranft all came up with the story of Toy Story. After filmmaker Joss Whedon put his touches on an early version of the film's script and left to do another film, Stanton decided to take a crack at scriptwriting. Stanton rewrote every piece of dialogue in the film. The resulting screenplay was nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay, the first nomination in that category for an animated film. To this day it is considered one of the greatest screenplays ever written for a film. Docter says Stanton related a lot to the character of Woody, whereas he related a lot to the character of Buzz Lightyear.

Following Toy Story, Lasseter asked Stanton to help him direct and write Pixar's next feature A Bug's Life. Early in the film's production, the film had difficulty incorporating the circus bug's portion of the story and the main character (Flik's) portion of the story. In a day, Stanton was able to write a screenplay that tied both concepts together. In 1999, Stanton returned to write Toy Story 2, the critically acclaimed sequel to Toy Story, and also voiced Emperor Zurg. He would then go on to write Monsters, Inc.. Docter, the director of Monsters, Inc., would cite him many times of the originator of the idea that monsters generated screams to use to power their city.

Stanton made his sole directorial debut in 2003 with Finding Nemo. He took inspiration from his own role as a father and how he was overprotective of his son. Stanton directed, wrote and voiced Crush the seaturtle in the film. Just like Toy Story before it, Michael Eisner was not confident in the film and predicted it would fail. During this time Stanton and other Finding Nemo co-writer Bob Peterson developed the storytelling theory of "2+2", to not give the audience the full picture but rather halves and have them put the film together. The film turned out to be an enormous success becoming the highest-grossing film of 2003 and the highest grossing animated film of that time period beating out The Lion King. He won his first Academy Award for the film in the category of Best Animated Feature and his screenplay was nominated in the category of Best Original Screenplay. Following his success with Finding Nemo, Stanton began work on his next film as director WALL-E. WALL-E was considered a huge risk for both Pixar and Disney, considering how experimental the film sounded. Stanton nevertheless had confidence in the film and the fact that audiences wouldn't be bored by the dialogue-less first thirty minutes, but rather enamored by it. Upon release though the film was a huge critical and financial success. Stanton won his second Academy Award from the film in the category of Best Animated Feature and once again his screenplay was nominated in the category of Best Original Screenplay. In an interview with World Magazine's Megan Basham, Stanton explained his singular vision for WALL-E:

What really interested me was the idea of the most human thing in the universe being a machine because it has more interest in finding out what the point of living is than actual people. The greatest commandment Christ gives us is to love, but that's not always our priority. So I came up with this premise that could demonstrate what I was trying to say—that irrational love defeats the world's programming. You've got these two robots that are trying to go above their basest directives, literally their programming, to experience love.[5]

Stanton returned to write Toy Story 3 in 2010, alongside Michael Arndt. When he first pitched the scene of the toys in the incinerator both Lasseter and Lee Unkrich (the director of the film) teared up. Many employees at Pixar have pointed out how the release of the film happened to be somewhat consecutive to one of Stanton's children going to college. His screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay. After the acquisition of Pixar by The Walt Disney Company in 2006, Stanton became the vice president of creativity of Pixar alongside other fellow Pixar director Pete Docter. He is a member of the studio's coveted brain trust and has executive produced and served as a creative and mentor like voice on the following films: Ratatouille, Up, Brave, Monsters University, Inside Out, and The Good Dinosaur. Stanton made his live-action directing debut with Disney's John Carter. The film was based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel, A Princess of Mars. Upon release it received mixed reviews and was a box office failure.

Following John Carter, Stanton returned to Pixar to direct the sequel to 2003's Finding Nemo, Finding Dory. He came up with the concept upon watching a pre-screening of the 3D rerelease of the film and walking out of the theater worried about Dory. The film was released in 2016 and was a huge hit critically and financially, becoming the highest grossing animated film of that year. It was also critically received well, with critics calling it "a worthy successor to Nemo". On February 10, 2017, it was revealed by Entertainment Weekly that Stanton was going to direct two episodes of the second season of Stranger Things. Since then Stanton has also directed an episode of Better Call Saul, and Legion.

Stanton was credited as a narrative guru on Ralph Breaks the Internet, helping director and former classmate Rich Moore construct the story following Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios former chief creative officer Lasseter's step down.[6] He co-wrote Toy Story 4, which was released on June 21, 2019. Initially, when he pitched the idea to director Josh Cooley, Cooley was concerned feeling like Toy Story 3 was the perfect ending. Stanton reportedly told Cooley "Toy Story 3 was a good ending-but it's not the ending". He explained that it wasn't the ending of Woody's story but rather the ending of Woody's time with Andy.[7] Immediately after the conversation, Cooley agreed to direct the film alongside Lasseter. Stanton reportedly started writing Toy Story 4 in secret while the third film was still in production.[7] It was always in Stanton's drafts to bring Bo Peep back.[7]. He is currently the Vice President of Creativity at Pixar helping to ensure the company's creative output.

He has expressed interest in directing more live action films, stating that he wants to return "[b]ecause it's quicker and it's a little bit more of the opposite... It's the antithesis of animation. Animation you get to control everything, and it's awesome in that sense. But there's no spontaneity, and it takes a long time! And so there's high risk for the complete opposite reasons of live-action."[8]

In 2020, it was announced that Stanton was in talks to direct and write Chairman Spaceman for Fox Searchlight and Simon Kinberg's production label, Genre Films. The film is based on The New Yorker short story of the same name by Thomas Pierce. The film will mark Stanton's third venture into the Science-Fiction genre, following WALL-E and John Carter. Stanton has been quoted many times saying that science fiction is his favorite genre. Films like Star Wars, Blade Runner, Aliens, as well as Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel, Princess of Mars, helped shape his interest in the genre.



Year Title Director Writer Executive Producer Other Voice Role Notes
1995 Toy Story Unofficial
Yes No Yes Commercial Chorus #2 Story Artist
Character Designer
1998 A Bug's Life Co-Director Yes No Yes Bug Zapper Bug #1
Singing Grasshopper #2
Story Artist
1999 Toy Story 2 No Yes No Yes Emperor Zurg
2000 Buzz Lightyear of Star Command:
The Adventure Begins
No No No Yes Hamm Direct-to-video
2001 Monsters, Inc. No Screenplay Yes No
2003 Finding Nemo Yes Yes No Yes Crush/Lobster/Seagulls
2004 The Incredibles No No No Yes Henchman
2006 Cars No No No Yes Fred Additional Screenplay Material
2007 Ratatouille No No Yes No
2008 WALL-E Yes Yes No Yes Axiom Passenger #2 Senior Creative Team - uncredited
2009 Up No No Yes Yes Senior Creative Team
2010 Toy Story 3 No Story No Yes
2011 Cars 2 No No No Yes
2012 John Carter Yes Screenplay No No
Brave No No Yes Yes Senior Creative Team
2013 Monsters University No No Yes Yes
2015 Inside Out No No Yes Yes
The Good Dinosaur No No Yes Yes
2016 Zootopia No No No Yes Creative Consultant[10]
Finding Dory Yes Yes No Yes Crush/Clam/Seagulls Senior Creative Team
2017 Cars 3 No No No Yes
Coco No No No Yes
2018 Incredibles 2 No No No Yes
Ralph Breaks the Internet No No No Yes Narrative Guru
2019 Toy Story 4 No Yes Yes Yes Senior Creative Team
2020 Onward No No No Yes
Soul No No Yes Yes
2021 Luca[11] No No No Yes
TBD Chairman Spaceman[12] Yes Yes No No

Short FilmsEdit

Year Title Director Writer Producer Voice Role Notes
1986 Somewhere in the Arctic[13] Yes Yes No Bahr
1987 A Story[13] Yes Yes Yes Randy
Goon Squad
1991 Light & Heavy Yes No No
2003 Exploring the Reef with Jean-Michel Cousteau No No Executive
2008 Presto No No Executive
BURN-E No Story Executive
2009 Partly Cloudy No No Executive
2013 Toy Story of Terror! No No Executive
2016 Piper No No Executive
Marine Life Interviews No Yes No


Year Title Director Writer Storyboard artist Notes
1987 Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures No Yes No 13 episodes
1994 2 Stupid Dogs No No Yes Episode: "Cookies, Ookies, Blookies"
1995 The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa No No Yes Episode: "Good Mousekeeping"
2017 Stranger Things Yes No No 2 episodes[14]
2018 Better Call Saul Yes No No Episode: "Piñata"
2019 Legion Yes No No Episode: "Chapter 20"
2020 Tales from the Loop Yes No No Episode: "Echo Sphere"

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1998 A Bug's Life Hopper Replacing Kevin Spacey
1999 Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue Emperor Zurg
2003 Finding Nemo Crush
Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure Emperor Zurg
2007 Cars Mater-National Championship Fred
2009 Cars Race-O-Rama Fred
2010 Toy Story 3: The Video Game Emperor Zurg Uncredited
PS3 version only
2011 Kinect Disneyland Adventures Crush / Emperor Zurg
2015 Disney Infinity 3.0 Crush
2018 Lego The Incredibles Seagulls

Theme parksEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1998–present It's Tough to Be a Bug! Hopper Replacing Kevin Spacey
2007–present Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage Crush, Seagulls

Other creditsEdit

Year Title Role
2019 Purl Kristen Lester's Story Trust
Frozen II Special Thanks
Spies in Disguise

Award and nominationsEdit

Academy AwardsEdit

Year Category Film Result Shared With
1995 Best Original Screenplay Toy Story Nominated Shared With Joss Whedon, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow, John Lasseter, Pete Docter, and Joe Ranft
2003 Best Animated Feature Finding Nemo Won N/A
Best Original Screenplay Nominated Shared with Bob Peterson and David Reynolds
2008 Best Animated Feature WALL-E Won N/A
Best Original Screenplay Nominated Shared With Jim Reardon and Pete Docter
2010 Best Adapted Screenplay Toy Story 3 Nominated Shared With Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, and Lee Unkrich


Two of Stanton's short films, A Story and Somewhere in the Arctic..., were preserved by the Academy Film Archive in 2012.[15]


  1. ^ a b "Pixar's Andrew Stanton, Animating From Life".
  2. ^ Moring, Mark (June 24, 2008). "The Little Robot That Could". Christianity Today. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  3. ^ Thill, Scott (January 5, 2010). "Q&A: Toon Titan John Kricfalusi Hails Mighty Mouse Rebirth". Wired. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  4. ^ Paik, Karen (3 November 2015). "To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios". Chronicle Books – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Megan Basham (2006-06-28). "WALL-E world". World Magazine. Archived from the original on July 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  6. ^ "Ralph Breaks the Internet - Press Kit" (PDF). Walt Disney Studios. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Perry, Spencer (June 18, 2019). "Toy Story 4 Was Secretly Being Written Before Toy Story 3 Released". Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Watch: 'Finding Nemo' director Andrew Stanton on the Ultimate Summer Movie Showdown". Yahoo News Network. June 18, 2020. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  10. ^ Strike, Joe (March 4, 2016). "'Zootopia:' Disney's Latest and Greatest Animal Kingdom". Animated World Network. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  11. ^ Rubin, Rebecaa (July 30, 2020). "Pixar Shares Details About Next Original Film 'Luca'". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  12. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (May 19, 2020). "Andrew Stanton In Early Talks To Direct 'Chairman Spaceman' For Searchlight & Simon Kinberg's Genre Films". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Simon, Ben (December 27, 2012). "Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2". Animated Views. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  14. ^ Stack, Tim (February 10, 2017). "Finding Dory director to helm 2 episodes of Stranger Things 2". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  15. ^ "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.

External linksEdit