In its films, Pixar has tackled a broad number of genres, from the buddy comedy to superhero fare and even science fiction. None of those, however, have been musicals. The closest we have seen to a musical from Pixar was the short Boundin’, but even that had a good deal of narration mixed in. The studio’s next short, Lava, in which a volcano longs for love, is expected to be Pixar’s first real musical. The animation house may also be developing a musical feature film now. Find more details after the break!
The next film from Lee Unkrich, director of Toy Story 3, was announced back in 2012 – based around the Mexican holiday of Día de los Muertos, the highly anticipated film is supposed to be a story about family. We do not have other details about the film, as Pixar is known for being incredibly protective and secretive of its upcoming films. It is part of what has made the studio so successful – keeping significant plot points out of its films’ marketing campaigns has only made the stories more rewarding for audiences.
That being said, we sometimes hear of fascinating details that makes the wait for those films more excruciating. In an interview on the UK’s Classic FM with Tommy Pearson on the weekly radio show Saturday Night At The Movies, composer Randy Newman, who previously worked with Unkrich on Toy Story 3, had an interesting tidbit to share about the director’s next film. In the conversation, which centered around the composer’s difficulty in working with directors, Newman notes that he may not be asked back to collaborate with Unkrich again, as Newman had a challenging time on Toy Story 3. Although I could not find a way to listen to the full show (it’s a UK-based show, making it tough for US residents to listen to), in the episode’s preview, Newman had slightly more to say about Unkrich’s next film.
At about the :15 mark, we hear Newman say:
And not only that, Lee Unkrich had Toy Story 3 temped with my music and it was limiting to me. And It was fine, the movie did great and everything and maybe I’m wrong and if I look back on it I won’t know the difference, but it didn’t fit hand in glove the way I would have tried to do. And he fell in love with the temp, very much so.
Now he’s not going to use me to work with him again. He’s doing a musical now.
Whether or not Unkrich and Newman would work together in the future is an entirely different story. The real gold in this snippet is, “He’s doing a musical now,” which implies that the Dia de los Muertos film is the first feature-length musical from Pixar. It would be a dramatic shift for the studio, as its lean away from musicals was, at one point, one of its biggest differentiators from Disney Animation.
In recent years, though, the once stark divide between Pixar and Disney has softened, especially after Pixar became a subsidiary of Disney and Pixar CCO John Lasseter and President Ed Catmull assumed similar roles at Disney Animation. Pixar’s Brave was a film about a princess, which used to be Disney territory. Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph was based around the idea that video game characters could all gather together and interact once gamers looked away, a very Toy Story-like story idea. Given the last few years, Pixar working on a musical would not be shocking. Still, its an entirely new area for the studio, which will next year enjoy its 30th anniversary.
It is important to note that we do not have any confirmation from Pixar or Disney on this, so until we hear it is so, we will have to stick this in the unconfirmed news section. If it does turn out to be true, though, it will be exciting to see Pixar’s first 90+ minute musical. Lasseter, Unkrich, and other Pixar directors have always noted that the studio puts story first, and if its a good enough idea, there is no reason why they would avoid doing something new. Let’s wait and see!
Thanks to @Sotiris2006 on Twitter for the heads up on this story.