Andrew Stanton

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Andrew Stanton
Stanton at the 2009 Venice Film Festival
Andrew Ayers Stanton[1]

(1965-12-03) December 3, 1965 (age 58)
Alma materCalifornia Institute of the Arts (BFA)
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
  • producer
  • animator
  • storyboard artist
  • voice actor
Years active1981–present
EmployerPixar Animation Studios (1990–present)
Julie Stanton
(m. 1989)

Andrew Ayers Stanton (born December 3, 1965) is an American filmmaker and voice actor based at Pixar, which he joined in 1990.[2] His film work includes co-writing and co-directing Pixar's A Bug's Life (1998), directing Finding Nemo (2003)[3] and its sequel Finding Dory (2016), WALL-E (2008), and the live-action film, Disney's John Carter (2012), and co-writing all four and directing the upcoming fifth in Toy Story films (1995–2026) and Monsters, Inc. (2001).

Finding Nemo and WALL-E earned Stanton two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature. He was also nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay, for Finding Nemo, WALL-E, and Toy Story (1995), and for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Toy Story 3 (2010). WALL-E has also been inducted into the National Film Registry. On television, Stanton directed two episodes of Stranger Things in 2017, an episode of Better Call Saul in 2018, the final season premiere of Legion in 2019, and an episode of 3 Body Problem in 2024.

Early and personal life[edit]

Andrew Stanton was born on December 3, 1965, in Rockport, Massachusetts. His father, Ron Stanton, was the founder of a company that worked on radars for the United States Department of Defense. His mother, Gloria Stanton, pursued an acting career before becoming a homemaker. Both of Stanton's parents were natives of nearby Wellesley.[4]

Stanton acted in high school and directed sketch comedy shot on Super 8 film.[4] He portrayed Barnaby Tucker in a 1980 high school production of Hello, Dolly!, which later became a source of inspiration for WALL-E.[5] Stanton studied for a year at the University of Hartford before transferring to the character animation program at the California Institute of the Arts.[4] He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from CalArts in 1987.[6]

In 1989, Stanton married his high school sweetheart Julie, two weeks after she graduated from Georgetown University.[4] The couple subsequently settled in Los Angeles, where they raised two children, Ben and Audrey.[4][5] Stanton is a Christian.[7]

Stanton revealed in 2012, that he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when he was in the middle of writing John Carter.[8]

Stanton is an Arsenal F.C. fan, and included a scene mimicking their famous offside trap among other Arsenal references in John Carter.[9]


Stanton began his career in animation in the late 1980s. He worked as an animator for Kroyer Films,[10] and one of his early gigs involved animating sperm for a sex-ed film with Martin Short.[4] Stanton was one of several CalArts graduates hired by John Kricfalusi to work on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures at Ralph Bakshi's studio.[11]

After being rejected by Disney three times, Stanton was hired by Pixar's animation group in 1990 as its second animator (John Lasseter being the first) and ninth employee.[2][4] Back then Pixar was not yet an animation studio, and their animation group was dedicated to making television commercials as a step towards their goal of making the first computer-animated feature.[12]

Stanton, Lasseter and Pete Docter drafted the original treatment for Toy Story, which bore little resemblance with the eventually finished film.[13] After production of the film was shut down in late November 1993 following a disastrous test screening,[14] Stanton retreated into a windowless office and extensively reworked the script with help from Joss Whedon.[15] The resulting screenplay was nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay, the first nomination in that category for an animated film.[16]

Following Toy Story, Lasseter asked Stanton to help him direct and write Pixar's next feature A Bug's Life. Early in the film's production, the film had difficulty incorporating the circus bug's portion of the story and the main character (Flik's) portion of the story. In a day, Stanton was able to write a screenplay that tied both concepts together. In 1999, Stanton returned to write Toy Story 2, the critically acclaimed sequel to Toy Story, and also voiced Emperor Zurg. He would then go on to write Monsters, Inc.. Docter, the director of Monsters, Inc., would cite him many times as the originator of the idea that monsters generated screams to use to power their city.

Stanton made his solo directorial debut in 2003 with Finding Nemo. He took inspiration from his own role as a father and how he was overprotective of his son. Stanton directed, wrote and voiced Crush the sea turtle in the film. Just like Toy Story before it, Michael Eisner was not confident in the film and predicted it would fail. During this time Stanton and other Finding Nemo co-writer Bob Peterson developed the storytelling theory of "2+2", to not give the audience the full picture but rather halves and have them put the film together. The film turned out to be an enormous success becoming the second-highest-grossing film of 2003 behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and the highest-grossing animated film of that time period, beating out The Lion King. He won his first Academy Award for the film in the category of Best Animated Feature, and his screenplay was nominated in the category of Best Original Screenplay.

Following his success with Finding Nemo, Stanton began work on his next film as director WALL-E. WALL-E was considered a huge risk for both Pixar and Disney, considering how experimental the film sounded. Stanton nevertheless had confidence in the film and that audiences wouldn't be bored by the dialogue-less first thirty minutes, but rather enamored by it. Upon release the film was a huge critical and financial success. Stanton won his second Academy Award for the film in the category of Best Animated Feature and once again his screenplay was nominated in the category of Best Original Screenplay. In an interview with World Magazine's Megan Basham, Stanton explained his singular vision for WALL-E:

What really interested me was the idea of the most human thing in the universe being a machine because it has more interest in finding out what the point of living is than actual people. The greatest commandment Christ gives us is to love, but that's not always our priority. So I came up with this premise that could demonstrate what I was trying to say—that irrational love defeats the world's programming. You've got these two robots that are trying to go above their basest directives, literally their programming, to experience love.[17]

Stanton returned to write Toy Story 3 in 2010, alongside Michael Arndt. When he first pitched the scene of the toys in the incinerator both Lasseter and Lee Unkrich (the director of the film) teared up. Many employees at Pixar have pointed out how the release of the film happened to be somewhat consecutive to one of Stanton's children going to college. His screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay. After the acquisition of Pixar by The Walt Disney Company in 2006, Stanton became the vice president of creativity at Pixar alongside fellow Pixar director Pete Docter. He is a member of the studio's coveted brain trust, and has executive produced and served as a creative and mentor-like voice on the following films: Ratatouille, Up, Brave, Monsters University, Inside Out, and The Good Dinosaur.

In 2012, Stanton made his live-action directing debut with Disney's John Carter. The film was based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel, A Princess of Mars. Upon release it received mixed reviews and was a box office failure.

Following John Carter, Stanton returned to Pixar to direct the sequel to 2003's Finding Nemo, Finding Dory. He came up with the concept upon watching a pre-screening of the 3D rerelease of the film and walking out of the theater worried about Dory. The film was released in 2016 and was a huge hit critically and financially, becoming the highest-grossing animated film of that year. It was also critically well received, with critics calling it "a worthy successor to Nemo".

On February 10, 2017, it was revealed by Entertainment Weekly that Stanton was going to direct two episodes of the second season of Stranger Things. Since then Stanton has also directed an episode of Better Call Saul, and Legion.

Stanton was credited as a narrative guru on Ralph Breaks the Internet, helping director and former classmate Rich Moore construct the story following Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios former chief creative officer Lasseter's step down.[18] He co-wrote Toy Story 4, which was released on June 21, 2019. Initially, when he pitched the idea to director Josh Cooley, Cooley was concerned feeling like Toy Story 3 was the perfect ending. Stanton reportedly told Cooley "Toy Story 3 was a good ending--but it's not the ending." He explained that it wasn't the ending of Woody's story but rather the ending of Woody's time with Andy.[19] Stanton reportedly started writing Toy Story 4 in secret while the third film was still in production.[19]

He is currently the Vice President of Creativity at Pixar helping to ensure the company's creative output.

He has expressed interest in directing more live action films, stating that he wants to return "[b]ecause it's quicker and it's a little bit more of the opposite... It's the antithesis of animation. Animation you get to control everything, and it's awesome in that sense. But there's no spontaneity, and it takes a long time! And so there's high risk for the complete opposite reasons of live-action."[20]

In 2020, it was announced that Stanton was in talks to direct and write Chairman Spaceman for Searchlight Pictures and Simon Kinberg's production label, Genre Films.[21] The film is based on The New Yorker short story of the same name by Thomas Pierce. The film will mark Stanton's third venture into the Science-Fiction genre, following WALL-E and John Carter. Stanton has been quoted many times saying that science fiction is his favorite genre. Films like Star Wars, Blade Runner, Aliens, as well as Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel, Princess of Mars, helped shape his interest in the genre. The same year, Stanton was attached to direct Revolver, a romantic comedy starring Maya Hawke and Ethan Hawke from a screenplay by Kate Trefry.[22][23] In 2022, it was announced that Stanton would direct In the Blink of an Eye for Searchlight Pictures from a screenplay by Colby Day.[24]

Stanton will direct the fifth main installment of Toy Story series titled Toy Story 5.[25][26]



Year Title Director Writer Executive
Other Voice Notes
1995 Toy Story No Yes No Yes Commercial Chorus 2 Story Artist, Character Designer
1998 A Bug's Life Co-Director Yes No Yes Bug Zapper Bug 1
Singing Grasshopper 2
Story Artist
1999 Toy Story 2 No Yes No Yes Emperor Zurg
2000 Buzz Lightyear of Star Command:
The Adventure Begins
No No No Yes Hamm Direct-to-video
2001 Monsters, Inc. No Yes Yes No
2003 Finding Nemo Yes Yes No Yes Crush/Lobster/Seagulls
2004 The Incredibles No No No Yes Additional Voices
2006 Cars No No No Yes Fred Additional Screenplay Material
2007 Ratatouille No No Yes No
2008 WALL-E Yes Yes No Yes Axiom Passenger 2 Pixar Senior Creative Team -
uncredited on WALL-E
2009 Up No No Yes Yes
2010 Toy Story 3 No Story No Yes
2011 Cars 2 No No No Yes
2012 John Carter Yes Yes No No
Brave No No Yes Yes Pixar Senior Creative Team
2013 Monsters University No No Yes Yes
2015 Inside Out No No Yes Yes
The Good Dinosaur No No Yes Yes
2016 Finding Dory Yes Yes No Yes Crush/Clam/Seagulls
2017 Cars 3 No No No Yes
Coco No No No Yes
2018 Incredibles 2 No No No Yes
Ralph Breaks the Internet No No No Yes Narrative Guru
2019 Toy Story 4 No Yes Yes Yes Pixar Senior Creative Team
2020 Onward No No No Yes
Soul No No No Yes
2021 Luca No No No Yes
2022 Turning Red No No No Yes
Lightyear No No Yes Yes Additional Screenplay Material
Pixar Senior Creative Team
2023 Elemental No No No Yes Pixar Senior Creative Team
2024 Inside Out 2 No No No Yes
2025 Elio No No No Yes
2026 Toy Story 5 Yes TBA No Yes Pixar Senior Creative Team
TBA In the Blink of an Eye Yes No No No Post-production

Short films[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Executive
1986 Somewhere in the Arctic[27] Yes Yes No Bahr
1987 A Story[27] Yes Yes Producer Randy / Goon Squad
1991 Light & Heavy Yes No No
2003 Exploring the Reef with Jean-Michel Cousteau No No Yes
2008 Presto No No Yes
BURN-E No Story Yes
2009 Partly Cloudy No No Yes
2016 Piper No No Yes
Marine Life Interviews No Yes No

TV episodes and specials[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Executive
Voice Notes
1987 Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures No Yes No No 13 episodes
1994 2 Stupid Dogs No No No Yes Episode: "Cookies, Ookies, Blookies"
1995 The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa No No No Yes Episode: "Good Mousekeeping"
2010 Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman No No No No Crush Episode: "The Ol' Shell Game"
2013 Toy Story of Terror! No No Yes No TV special
2017 Stranger Things 2 Yes No No No Episodes: "Chapter Five: Dig Dug" and "Chapter Six: The Spy"
2018 Better Call Saul Yes No No No Episode: "Piñata"
2019 Legion Yes No No No Episode: "Chapter 20"
2020 Tales from the Loop Yes No No No Episode: "Echo Sphere"
2021–22 For All Mankind Yes No No No Directed four episodes
2022 Obi-Wan Kenobi No Yes No No Episodes: "Part V" and "Part VI"
2024 3 Body Problem Yes No Co-Executive No Episode: "Destroyer of Worlds", credited as co-executive producer (8 episodes)
Win or Lose[28] No No Yes No 8 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1998 A Bug's Life Hopper Replacing Kevin Spacey
1999 Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue Emperor Zurg
2003 Finding Nemo Crush
Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure Emperor Zurg
2006 Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue[29] Seagulls Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS only
2007 Cars Mater-National Championship Fred
2009 Cars Race-O-Rama Fred / Tater Jr. PS3/Xbox 360/Wii version only
2010 Toy Story 3: The Video Game Emperor Zurg Uncredited
PS3 version only
2011 Kinect Disneyland Adventures Crush / Emperor Zurg
2015 Disney Infinity 3.0 Crush
2018 Lego The Incredibles Seagulls

Theme parks[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1989–2007 The Making of Me Animator[30]
1998–present It's Tough to Be a Bug! Hopper Replacing Kevin Spacey
2007–present Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage Crush, Seagulls

Other credits[edit]

Year Title Role
1997 Geri's Game Very Special Thanks
2000 For the Birds Thanks
2006 Lifted Special Thanks
2007 Fog City Mavericks
The Pixar Story Himself; Very Special Thanks
2010 Finding Nico Special Thanks
2014 Lava
Toy Story That Time Forgot Extra Special Thanks
2015 Sanjay's Super Team Special Thanks
2016 Zootopia Creative Consultant[31]
2019 Purl Kristen Lester's Story Trust
Frozen II Special Thanks
Spies in Disguise
2021 Encanto
2022 Beyond Infinity: Buzz and the Journey to 'Lightyear' Himself[32]
Cars on the Road Special Thanks; Pixar Senior Creative Team
2023 Nimona Special Thanks

Collaborations (Acting)[edit]

Andrew Stanton has cast certain actors and crew members in more than one of the films he has directed.

Finding Nemo WALL-E John Carter Finding Dory
Albert Brooks
Ellen DeGeneres
Alexander Gould
Willem Dafoe
Brad Garrett
Allison Janney
Austin Pendleton
Stephen Root
Vicki Lewis
Bob Peterson
John Ratzenberger
Bob Bergen
Paul Eiding
Jess Harnell
Sherry Lynn
Mickie McGowan
Laraine Newman
Jeff Pidgeon
Jan Rabson
Jim Ward
Sigourney Weaver
Angus MacLane

Award and nominations[edit]

Academy Awards[edit]

Year Category Film Result Shared With
1995 Best Original Screenplay Toy Story Nominated Shared With Joss Whedon, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow, John Lasseter, Pete Docter, and Joe Ranft
2003 Best Animated Feature Finding Nemo Won
Best Original Screenplay Nominated Shared with Bob Peterson and David Reynolds
2008 Best Animated Feature WALL-E Won
Best Original Screenplay Nominated Shared With Jim Reardon and Pete Docter
2010 Best Adapted Screenplay Toy Story 3 Nominated Shared With Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, and Lee Unkrich


Two of Stanton's short films, A Story and Somewhere in the Arctic..., were preserved by the Academy Film Archive in 2012.[33]


  1. ^ "JOHN CARTER director Andrew Stanton talks Pixar, Marketing & Critics". YouTube. March 12, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2024.
  2. ^ a b "Pixar's Andrew Stanton, Animating From Life". NPR. July 10, 2008. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  3. ^ Shamsian, Jacob. "The director of 'Finding Nemo' says he made the movie because he was bothered by a scene in 'The Lion King'". Insider. Retrieved 2020-12-13.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Friend, Tad (October 10, 2011). "Second-Act Twist". The New Yorker. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Best Animated Feature Film Acceptance Speech". Archived from the original on February 26, 2009. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  6. ^ "Alumni - CalArts School of Film/Video". California Institute of the Arts. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  7. ^ Moring, Mark (June 24, 2008). "The Little Robot That Could". Christianity Today. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  8. ^ Keegan, Rebecca (September 8, 2012). "Director Andrew Stanton looks back on 'John Carter's' rocky path". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  9. ^ Dörflinger, M., Taschenbuch Fußball: 333x Fußball – Superlative & Kuriositäten. Spannende Fakten und Kurioses über Fußball – Geramond Verlag (2019). ISBN 978-3964530530.
  10. ^ "Writers on Writing with Andrew Stanton". Writers Guild Foundation. July 30, 2019. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  11. ^ Thill, Scott (January 5, 2010). "Q&A: Toon Titan John Kricfalusi Hails Mighty Mouse Rebirth". Wired. Retrieved June 16, 2022.
  12. ^ Paik, Karen (3 November 2015). To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios. Chronicle Books. ISBN 9781452147659 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ Price 2008, p. 121.
  14. ^ Price 2008, p. 130.
  15. ^ Price 2008, p. 131.
  16. ^ "Toy Story (1995)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2011. Archived from the original on May 11, 2011. Retrieved March 12, 2009.
  17. ^ Megan Basham (2006-06-28). "WALL-E world". World Magazine. Archived from the original on July 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  18. ^ "Ralph Breaks the Internet - Press Kit" (PDF). Walt Disney Studios Media File. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  19. ^ a b Perry, Spencer (June 18, 2019). "Toy Story 4 Was Secretly Being Written Before Toy Story 3 Released". Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  20. ^ "Finding Dory Director Wants to Focus on Live-Action Movies Next". Screen Rant. 11 June 2016.
  21. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (May 19, 2020). "Andrew Stanton In Early Talks To Direct 'Chairman Spaceman' For Searchlight & Simon Kinberg's Genre Films". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  22. ^ Hipes, Patrick (October 30, 2020). "Maya And Ethan Hawke To Star As Father And Daughter In 'Revolver'; Andrew Stanton Directing – AFM". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 5, 2023.
  23. ^ Kay, Jeremy (October 30, 2020). "Andrew Stanton to direct Maya and Ethan Hawke in AFM sales title 'Revolver'". Screen Daily. Media Business Insight. Retrieved February 5, 2023.
  24. ^ McPherson, Chris (2024-06-09). "Pixar Legend Tapped to Direct 'Toy Story 5'". Collider. Retrieved 2024-06-14.
  25. ^ Hermanns, Grant (June 8, 2024). "Toy Story 5 Director Seemingly Revealed By Pixar Exec". Screen Rant. Retrieved June 8, 2024.
  26. ^ a b Simon, Ben (December 27, 2012). "Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2". Animated Views. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  27. ^ Gaur, Ryan (2023-07-06). "Conversation with Team Behind New Pixar Series 'Win or Lose' | Carrie Hobson, Michael Yates, David Lally". Skwigly Animation Magazine. Retrieved 2023-07-07.
  28. ^ Watts, Martin (April 15, 2013). "Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue Review (3DS)". Nintendo Life. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  29. ^ "Second-Act Twist". The New Yorker. 10 October 2011.
  30. ^ Strike, Joe (March 4, 2016). "'Zootopia:' Disney's Latest and Greatest Animal Kingdom". Animated World Network. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  31. ^ T.J. Wolsos (June 10, 2022). "Buzz Lightyear Documentary 'Beyond Infinity' Now on Disney+". Pixar Post. Retrieved July 2, 2022.
  32. ^ "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.


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