Earlier this afternoon, Variety released an article titled “10 Animators to Watch” which included Pixarian, Josh Cooley – who has most recently been busy as the head of story on Inside Out. Within the article, it was announced that Cooley will be the co-director for Toy Story 4, which is the first time we have heard that someone else would be taking the reins along with John Lasseter for the film.
Not long ago, Cooley finished directing a short film for the studio (similar to the shorts Your Friend the Rat and Burn-E) which will take place inside the world of Inside Out and appear as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray release. For Cooley the road to the director’s chair didn’t happen overnight as he’s been with the studio since the production of Cars and has worked in the story department on Ratatouille, UP and Cars 2 (just to name a few).
“He was chosen for that spot by the late Joe Ranft, probably the finest animation storyman of his generation. “Joe singled out Josh Cooley as a guy with potential, and Joe knew how to pick ‘em,” says “Inside Out” director Pete Docter. “Josh is funny, unique, and collaborative. And funny.” While working on “Inside Out,” Cooley tried to follow Ranft’s example. “On ‘Cars,’ Joe always said about the story, ‘It’s the journey, not just the destination.’ He brought the same attitude to running the department: It’s working together and collaborating with everybody that’s the real treat.”
You may have also seen Cooleys’ name noted early in various Pixar film credits as voicing Officer Phillips in Toy Story of Terror!, Omega in UP, and Lizard Wizard/Cashier in Small Fry. Having previously directed the Pixar short, George & A.J., this transition to feature film director should be an exciting/challenging task and we look forward to seeing Cooley’s point of view in 2017.
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