This past week the U.S. Supreme Court overturned California’s same-sex marriage ban at San Francisco City Hall, thus allowing gay couples to obtain marriage licenses for the first time in four-and-a-half years.
This is where the love story begins between two familiar names in the Pixar world – that of Producer, Darla Anderson and Producer, Kori Rae. Peter Hartlaub from SFGate (UPDATED: The link has been removed) had the chance to speak with Kori and Darla about this exciting change in California state law, what it means to them, as well as a background on how the couple met.
This discussion took place via a phone call as Kori was in Japan promoting Monsters University – below is a snippet of the conversation that took place.
Q: You got the news about the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) ruling, right?
Darla: Yes, we did!
Q: Were you married in California?
Darla: We got married (in San Francisco) at least twice. And we also filed for domestic partnership, just to cover all legal bases. We wanted to get married in ’04 to be a part of the movement and everything. … And then we got married again in ’08, when that window opened up. We were part of that second wave.
Q: Was the wedding a small thing at the clerk’s office, or did you invite 500 of your closest friends?
Kori: The first time it was that landmark weekend — we got married by standing in line in the rain for 8 hours. It was really an awesome day, actually. Our witnesses happened to be the couple behind us, because we just didn’t know we were going to do it. We didn’t call anybody.
Darla: For which we got into a lot of trouble. It was a freezing — it was a freezing day. It was a holiday, President’s Day, so most people were out of town. And we didn’t know what to expect. We just didn’t anticipate what a big deal it was going to be to be part of history that way. I remember Steve Jobs was mad. He said, “I can’t believe you didn’t invite Laurene and I to come down to City Hall to be with you guys.”
Q: I’ve been to Pixar many times for other stories. I’d imagine that’s a great place to work if you’re out.
Darla: When I started at Pixar 20 years ago, I wasn’t out of the closet. It’s interesting to think how far the movement has gone in 20 years. Twenty years ago Ellen wasn’t out of the closet, Melissa wasn’t out. It’s been an interesting time both working at the company and having that continuity of this job and all of our friends.
Kori: We got together (during) the last year of “Monsters, Inc.” in 2001. I figured I’d have to leave the show, and I was willing to leave the company at that point. We had talked about it. But they were completely great. They said “Of course not. You’re such a great team, a producing team. We’d love for you to keep working together.” They were nothing but supportive, and have been the whole time. We’ve chosen since “Monsters, Inc.” to not (work together). … I think it’s conscious that our paths have been a little bit separate. I think for the sanity of our relationship, it kind of works out that we don’t work on the same movie.
Q: Darla also produced “Monsters Inc.” How much did you talk to each other during the process of making “Monsters University”?
Kori: The truth is I seek advice from Darla on the producer front for all the shows I work on. This wasn’t different than the others. We talked a little in the beginning about story when it was difficult — when we were going through the early development, and trying to figure out the whole prequel nature.
Darla: Kori was an integral part of “Monsters, Inc.” so she was well up to speed with the DNA of the film. And just to keep a healthy partnership, honestly, we have really good boundaries. It’s hard enough making one of these giant movies, and you put your heart and souls into them. If we carried too much of that at home, we would just turn into animated characters ourselves.
Q: Any other thoughts about this week’s events? Is it hard to process when you’re halfway across the world?
Darla: It’s a full circle moment, having this happen during the “Monsters University” tour, because we got together on “Monsters, Inc.” There’s a cool symmetry to that.
Kori: It’s such a special day. It’s so weird to be here and have all that happening back home. But we feel just so lucky and blessed to even be a part of it. Darla: Truly from the bottom of our hearts, from Bob Iger to Ed Catmull to John Lasseter, everyone at Pixar has been so unbelievably supportive of gay rights. I’m just so proud of our company. It’s a very, very satisfying feeling.
There’s one thing that you should take with you from reading this interview – and that is “Love Is Love”.
We would like to congratulate Kori and Darla as well as the many other couples and families within California on this incredible news!