Interview: ‘Monsters University’ Director Dan Scanlon on the Making of a Monstrous Pixar Prequel
'Monsters University' (Photo: Walt Disney Pictures)
Pixar's 2001 animated hit "Monsters, Inc." introduced us to the monstrous world of best buddies James P. Sullivan and Mike Wazowski, top scaring team at the Monsters Incorporated power plant. (There are indeed monsters in your closet, and your screams are powering their world.)
But Mike and Sully weren't always the best of friends. This summer's Pixar prequel "Monsters University," opening June 21st, delves into the collegiate origins of their epic friendship, going back to where it all began: the hallowed halls of Monsters U.
Yahoo! Movies recently visited Pixar to participate in an in-depth "orientation" to Monsters University, and sat down with director Dan Scanlon to talk college comedies, making monsters and finding the emotional journey of a one-eyed green guy.
'Monsters University' director Dan Scanlon at Pixar (Photo: Deborah Coleman / Pixar)
Philip Yu: You didn't work on "Monsters, Inc.," right?
Dan Scanlon: I started at Pixar the month "Monsters Inc." came out.
PY: As someone who wasn't involved with that production, just as a fan, what did you love most about "Monsters, Inc."?
DS: I love the world. I love that it's just such an original world, but I love that it's also very human. I think it's hilarious that they chose to basically make it monsters in a somewhat human world. You had a normal-looking factory, and a day-to-day boring job thing... with monsters. But mostly, I love the emotion of it. I love the heartfelt lengths that it goes and the feelings that it evokes. It's just the perfect combination of what I want out of any movie -- humor and emotion.
PY: One could argue that Pixar movies, on a storytelling level, are perfectly contained and don't demand sequels. What goes into the decision to reach back, revisit characters and determine that there's more story to tell?
DS: It's really that -- realizing that, hey, we have more story to tell. We don't always know. I think we make the movies, initially, with the one movie in mind. But we do love the characters, and so we kind of miss the characters when the movie is over. But I think what happens is, every now and then you realize there's more to tell, or an idea comes up. It's nice now to be making enough movies that we can fit in a sequel every now and then.