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Exclusive Interview with Wall*E creator Andrew Stanton

 

Andrew Stanton is the Oscar-winning producer, director and writer of Pixar’s delightful 2003 film Finding Nemo. Andrew’s latest film, the Pixar/Disney movie Wall*E, comes to theaters this Friday, June 27th. The PTC recently talked with Andrew about Wall*E and movies in general.

 

PTC: What do you think this film will teach children?

 

ANDREW: I don’t actually try to teach. I believe in just telling a great story. I think that if you’re honest and truthful about the value systems, situations and relationships you’re dealing with – if you’re responsible and honest about what you’re doing – the life lessons will just naturally come out of the story you tell.

 

PTC: Was this made as a kid’s film, or can it be enjoyed by adults too?

 

ANDREW: No, I didn’t intend it to be “just for kids.” If I approached things that way, I think I’d make bad movies! [laughs] I never think about separate “kid” and “adult” audiences. I think if a film is good, it can appeal to all ages, and can speak universally to everyone. There is some heady stuff in the movie, but the kids can understand it. At the same time, it doesn’t turn off adults by being irrational or immature. I don’t aim for any particular demographic – I just try to give people, of whatever age, what I think they’ll like, and be honest about it.

 

I guess the bottom line is, I make the kind of movies I’d like to see.

 

PTC: What was your inspiration for Wall*E?

 

ANDREW: There were really two inspirations. Wall*E is a science-fiction love story. I grew up in the 1970s, which in a lot of ways was the Golden Age of science fiction movies. From about 1968 to 1982, there were so many good sci-fi movies out there, and I love that era. Those movies really fired my imagination.

 

The other inspiration is my own marriage. I married my junior high school sweetheart, and the way that wonderful romance has unfolded in our lives kind of provided the story arc for what happens to Wall*E. Wall*E doesn’t talk the way we do, but his story is a familiar love story. It’s just told by unfamiliar means.

 

If there’s a theme to Wall*E it is: irrational love defeats life’s programming. Suddenly Wall*E falls in love, and that has an effect on everything else. We’re starting to be in a society where people are able to distract themselves so quickly and so easily that they don’t always do the hard work of actually connecting with the person next to them and pushing their relationships forward. Well, that work is hard, and sometimes it’s messy and doesn’t go as planned, but it’s incredibly satisfying, and I believe that’s the real reason we’re here on this planet. The main story is these two characters, Wall*E and Eve, and the love they come to have for one another.   

 

PTC: Do you think there is a good market for family-friendly movies? If so, why?

 

ANDREW: It’s clear that there is definitely a huge market for family-friendly entertainment of all kinds. I think the best ones, the ones that really stand out, are the ones that focus on making the best movie possible. If it’s honest, then it’s good for kids for the right reasons. I don’t do test marketing; I just make a sincere movie, that tells a story I’d like to see. That’s seemed to work so far!

 

PTC: Do you have any plans for future family-friendly films?

 

ANDREW: Pixar has several movies on the drawing board right now. Pete Docter, who wrote and directed Monsters, Inc., is working on Up right now. We’re also planning Toy Story 3, and a movie called Newt…there’s quite a lineup in the works.

 

PTC: Finally, we have to ask: of all the movies you’ve done, which one is your favorite?

 

ANDREW: Well, right this minute I’m in love with Wall*E, because I’ve been working on it so closely for so long. But now it’s being released, it’s not just mine anymore – it belongs to the public. [laughs] Your movies are like your children: you love them all equally…but for different reasons.

 

 

 

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