DISNEY’S D23 EXPO
When it came time to create the third installment of the “Toy Story” saga, John Lasseter gathered members of the creative team who worked with him on the groundbreaking computer-animated film — Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter — and retreated to a little cabin where they developed the story for the original 1995 animated film.
The group spent two days brainstorming ideas to arrive at a story drawn from their own life experience. Lasseter said he had just dropped his son, Ben, off to college at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
“Driving away, when you leave your child behind at college, all I could think of was him as a little kid, sliding down the slide,” Lasseter said in a press conference. “It was very emotional for us.”
Lasseter said this life experience was the basis of the new story for Buzz and Woody, as the toys deal with the ultimate rite of passage – Andy’s departure for college.
Never-before-seen footage screened for the audience at the D23 Expo opens with home-movie-style vignettes from Andy’s childhood, as a boy being measured against a door frame (and measuring Woody), playing on the floor with his toys, followed by the jarring image of Andy as a teenager — and the toys discussing his impending departure for college.
Next, the audience sees the familiar “Toy Story” characters dumped at a day-care center — where the children disassemble Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, slime Buzz and commit other comic mayhem. The toys decide to make a break for it.
Lasseter offered no more details about the much-anticipated movie, but he did talk casting. He said Michael Keaton will provide the voice of Barbie’s anatomically incomplete beau, Ken. The movie’s other voice talent includes Ned Beatty, “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” Jeff Garlin, Bonnie Hunt and Whoopi Goldberg.
The only new “Toy Story 3″ character to put in an appearance at the fan convention was a hedgehog in green lederhosen and accessorized with a traditional German feather cap. The character, a thespian dubbed Mr. Pricklepants, will be voiced by none other than former Agent 007 Timothy Dalton.
– Dawn C. Chmielewski
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PHOTO CREDIT: Disney and Pixar Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter shared sneak peeks of such upcoming films as “The Princess and The Frog,” “Rapunzel” and “Toy Story 3.” Credit: Disney.