Pixar Oscar Winner Lee Unkrich Wants Live-Action Directors to Follow Wes Anderson’s Lead and Make Animation

Unkrich is hoping the future of animation has a place for live-action directors.

With two Oscars under his belt, Pixar’s Lee Unkrich is one of the most prolific directors in animation today. The “Toy Story 3” and “Coco” director makes an appearance in Little White Lies’ March/April 2018 issue to talk about the future of animation, and one point Unkrich stresses is the desire to have more live-action filmmakers cross over to animation storytelling. Unkrich notes how effortless Wes Anderson can pivot from live-action to animation without losing his signature style, and he’d love to see other directors make a similar transition.

“I’ve actually liked seeing some traditional live-action filmmakers make steps into animation, like Wes Anderson,” Unkrich said. “I don’t think the two worlds need to be so segregated. I think the work that we’re doing in animation is very much on par with what’s being done in live-action, and the way we make the films is similar, so it kind of makes sense for there to be cross-contamination between animation and live-action these days.”

Unkrich is also looking forward to the return of Hayao Miyazaki. The Studio Ghibli co-founder is currently at work on a new feature film, which marks his return to directing after announcing his retirement after “The Wind Rises” in 2013. “I’m glad to hear Hayao Miyazaki is making another film,” the director said. “He’s amazing. He’s been so inspirational to so many of us.”

Directors like Anderson who have successfully transitioned between live-action and animation filmmaking include Charlie Kaufman (“Anomalisa”) and Tim Burton (“Corpse Bride”). Filmmakers like Brad Bird went the other direction, starting in animation before going live-action with films such as “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and “Tomorrowland.”

Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” is now playing in theaters. Unkrich currently has not announced directing plans post-“Coco,” although he has worked on the story for Pixar’s upcoming “Toy Story 4.”

‘Coco’ Director: ‘Marginalized People Deserve to Feel Like They Belong’

While accepting the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, “Coco” director Lee Unkrich said he genuinely tried to change the world with his film.

“With ‘Coco,’ we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do” Unkrich said. “Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters.”

Producer Darla K. Anderson echoed his sentiments. “‘Coco’ is proof that art can change and connect the world,” she said, “and this can only be done when we have a place for everyone and anyone who feels like an ‘other’ to be heard.”

Also Read: ‘Coco’ Takes Annie Award for Best Animated Feature

The film follows a 12-year-old Mexican boy named Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), who yearns to follow in the footsteps of the legendary musician Ernesto De La Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) despite the protests of his grandmother (Renee Victor), who bans music in the family. During Dia De Muertos, Miguel sneaks into the church where Ernesto’s guitar is located and is transported to the Land of the Dead, where he meets his ancestors and a trickster named Hector Rivera (Gael Garcia Bernal). As he tries to find a way back to the land of the living, he uncovers why his family is forbidden to play music.

Co-Director Adrian Molina, who was not eligible to be named as part of the winning team because the Academy rules allow only one director and one producer to be named, said, “Love and thanks to my family, my Latino community, to my husband Ryan. Each for expanding my sense of what it means to be proud of who you are and where you’re from. We hope the same thing for everyone who connected with this film.”

Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”) and Adrian Molina directed the film from a script written by Molina and Matthew Aldritch.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Coco’ Producer Ducks Question About John Lasseter

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‘Coco’ Stays No. 1 While ‘Disaster Artist’ Performs Well at Quiet Box Office

While accepting the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, “Coco” director Lee Unkrich said he genuinely tried to change the world with his film.

“With ‘Coco,’ we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do” Unkrich said. “Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters.”

Producer Darla K. Anderson echoed his sentiments. “‘Coco’ is proof that art can change and connect the world,” she said, “and this can only be done when we have a place for everyone and anyone who feels like an ‘other’ to be heard.”

The film follows a 12-year-old Mexican boy named Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), who yearns to follow in the footsteps of the legendary musician Ernesto De La Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) despite the protests of his grandmother (Renee Victor), who bans music in the family. During Dia De Muertos, Miguel sneaks into the church where Ernesto’s guitar is located and is transported to the Land of the Dead, where he meets his ancestors and a trickster named Hector Rivera (Gael Garcia Bernal). As he tries to find a way back to the land of the living, he uncovers why his family is forbidden to play music.

Co-Director Adrian Molina, who was not eligible to be named as part of the winning team because the Academy rules allow only one director and one producer to be named, said, “Love and thanks to my family, my Latino community, to my husband Ryan. Each for expanding my sense of what it means to be proud of who you are and where you’re from. We hope the same thing for everyone who connected with this film.”

Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”) and Adrian Molina directed the film from a script written by Molina and Matthew Aldritch.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Coco' Producer Ducks Question About John Lasseter

Surprise: Mexico-Based 'Coco' Is More Popular in China Than the U.S.

'Coco' Stays No. 1 While 'Disaster Artist' Performs Well at Quiet Box Office

‘Coco’ Filmmakers Respond To “Missteps” At Pixar: “Focus On Solidarity”

Pixar’s colorful homage to Dia de los Muertos Coco took the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature, but when co-directors Lee Unkrich & Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson came backstage to celebrate, they were faced with the question of how they were dealing with the cloud of harassment hovering over Pixar.
Specific names may have not been directly mentioned, but this was most likely referring to Pixar co-founder John Lasseter and his leave of absence that was…

Pixar’s colorful homage to Dia de los Muertos Coco took the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature, but when co-directors Lee Unkrich & Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson came backstage to celebrate, they were faced with the question of how they were dealing with the cloud of harassment hovering over Pixar. Specific names may have not been directly mentioned, but this was most likely referring to Pixar co-founder John Lasseter and his leave of absence that was…

Getting To The Heart Of ‘Coco’ – The Contenders

It’s not just about heart, emotion and laughs with a Pixar film, but there’s a tremendous amount of research and time that goes into getting its backdrops authentically right. That couldn’t be more than the case than with their November hit Coco which takes place during the Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos. Coco follows a young boy Miguel who wishes to be a star-studded crooner of standards, just like his grandfather, a legendary singer Ernesto de la Cruz. However music…

It’s not just about heart, emotion and laughs with a Pixar film, but there’s a tremendous amount of research and time that goes into getting its backdrops authentically right. That couldn’t be more than the case than with their November hit Coco which takes place during the Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos. Coco follows a young boy Miguel who wishes to be a star-studded crooner of standards, just like his grandfather, a legendary singer Ernesto de la Cruz. However music…

‘Coco’ Spirits Across $400M At Global Box Office

On Tuesday, Disney/Pixar’s Coco crossed the $400M mark at the worldwide box office. With a 97% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes and an A+ CinemaScore, the animated pic from Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, has been No. 1 domestically since its November 22 opening. Earlier, it had become Mexico‘s all-time highest grossing movie. It is also the top Pixar movie ever in China where it continues to perform at the top of the chart after 20 days.
In North America, the cume is $138.6…

On Tuesday, Disney/Pixar’s Coco crossed the $400M mark at the worldwide box office. With a 97% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes and an A+ CinemaScore, the animated pic from Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, has been No. 1 domestically since its November 22 opening. Earlier, it had become Mexico‘s all-time highest grossing movie. It is also the top Pixar movie ever in China where it continues to perform at the top of the chart after 20 days. In North America, the cume is $138.6…

‘Coco’ Director Lee Unkrich On His Journey Into The Heart Of Mexico, Firsthand & On Screen

Winning an Oscar seven years ago for Toy Story 3—his solo directorial debut—Pixar’s Lee Unkrich looks to be a certain frontrunner again this year with his gorgeously colorful, thematically powerful Día de Muertos drama Coco. Centered on the young, musically-talented Miguel, the film charts the boy’s journey to the Land of the Dead, as he follows his dream—in spite of his conservative upbringing—and visits his deceased ancestors in their domain.
Set in Mexico—with the…

Winning an Oscar seven years ago for Toy Story 3—his solo directorial debut—Pixar’s Lee Unkrich looks to be a certain frontrunner again this year with his gorgeously colorful, thematically powerful Día de Muertos drama Coco. Centered on the young, musically-talented Miguel, the film charts the boy’s journey to the Land of the Dead, as he follows his dream—in spite of his conservative upbringing—and visits his deceased ancestors in their domain. Set in Mexico—with the…

‘Coco’ Soars to $2.3 Million at Tuesday Box Office

Disney Pixar’s “Coco” earned $2.3 million at the Tuesday box office.

The preview numbers for “Coco” compare well to those for “Moana” ($2.6 million), “The Good Dinosaur” ($1.3 million) and “Frozen” ($1.2 million).

Coco,” which has already become Mexico’s highest grossing film of all time with more than $43 million grossed since its release at the end of October, is projected to have a five-day opening of $55-60 million. By comparison, Pixar’s last Thanksgiving release, “The Good Dinosaur,” had a five-day start of $55.4 million in 2015 and a $123 million run, while Disney’s “Moana” had a five-day opening of $82 million last year en route to a $248.7 million domestic cume.

Also Read: Thanksgiving Box Office Preview: Will ‘Coco’ Be Hurt by John Lasseter Accusations?

Audience hype around “Coco” hasn’t been very big, but critics have been raving about the film’s emotional depth and commitment to its faithful depiction of Mexican culture, giving it a 95 percent “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Coco” follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel, whose yearning to escape his family’s ban on playing music leads him on a voyage to the Land of the Dead. The film stars Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renee Victor and Alanna Ubach. Adrian Molina directed the film with Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”) and co-wrote the script with Matthew Aldrich.

Also Read: ‘Coco’ Review: Pixar’s Journey Down Mexico Way Pays Colorful, Moving Tribute to Family

Also opening this holiday weekend are “Darkest Hour,” “The Man Who Invented Christmas,” “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” and “Call Me by Your Name.”

“Justice League,” which was released last week, will enter Thanksgiving weekend trying to avoid the heavy second weekend drop-off suffered by “Batman v Superman.” That film had an opening of $166 million, the second highest of 2016 behind only “Captain America: Civil War” ($179.1 million). But after poor word of mouth spread from early audiences, second weekend totals dropped 69 percent to $51 million.

While “Justice League” holds a score of 41 percent on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, 84 percent of the audience liked it, according to the site, which might decrease its second week drop-off percentage.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Pixar’s ‘Coco’ Becomes Mexico’s Highest Grossing Film Ever

Pixar’s ‘Coco,’ 2 Lego Movies Top List of 26 Oscars Animation Contenders

Pixar Dazzles With First Trailer for ‘Coco,’ Next Original Movie (Video)

Disney Pixar’s “Coco” earned $2.3 million at the Tuesday box office.

The preview numbers for “Coco” compare well to those for “Moana” ($2.6 million), “The Good Dinosaur” ($1.3 million) and “Frozen” ($1.2 million).

Coco,” which has already become Mexico’s highest grossing film of all time with more than $43 million grossed since its release at the end of October, is projected to have a five-day opening of $55-60 million. By comparison, Pixar’s last Thanksgiving release, “The Good Dinosaur,” had a five-day start of $55.4 million in 2015 and a $123 million run, while Disney’s “Moana” had a five-day opening of $82 million last year en route to a $248.7 million domestic cume.

Audience hype around “Coco” hasn’t been very big, but critics have been raving about the film’s emotional depth and commitment to its faithful depiction of Mexican culture, giving it a 95 percent “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Coco” follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel, whose yearning to escape his family’s ban on playing music leads him on a voyage to the Land of the Dead. The film stars Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renee Victor and Alanna Ubach. Adrian Molina directed the film with Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”) and co-wrote the script with Matthew Aldrich.

Also opening this holiday weekend are “Darkest Hour,” “The Man Who Invented Christmas,” “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” and “Call Me by Your Name.”

“Justice League,” which was released last week, will enter Thanksgiving weekend trying to avoid the heavy second weekend drop-off suffered by “Batman v Superman.” That film had an opening of $166 million, the second highest of 2016 behind only “Captain America: Civil War” ($179.1 million). But after poor word of mouth spread from early audiences, second weekend totals dropped 69 percent to $51 million.

While “Justice League” holds a score of 41 percent on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, 84 percent of the audience liked it, according to the site, which might decrease its second week drop-off percentage.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Pixar's 'Coco' Becomes Mexico's Highest Grossing Film Ever

Pixar's 'Coco,' 2 Lego Movies Top List of 26 Oscars Animation Contenders

Pixar Dazzles With First Trailer for 'Coco,' Next Original Movie (Video)