“Cars 2” co-director John Lasseter on Tim Burton, Pixar’s early days

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: One film we’re still looking forward to as Summer 2011 trucks along is Pixar’s “Cars 2,” primarily because the studio hasn’t dabbled with sequels outside of the “Toy Story” franchise and also because, as many have pointed out, the animation house hasn’t really swung and missed on a feature yet.

Will “Cars 2” be the first Pixar bust? Will it knick the sequel train, which is gearing up for another “Monsters” movie and maybe more “Incredibles” adventures?

As we wait to find out (thanks to screenings next week), EW.com has a great interview with Pixar honcho John Lasseter where he reflects on all 11 Pixar films and the studios early days. And he says Pixar might not have happened without Tim Burton’s help.

“Tim and I went to college together [at the California Institute of Arts], and he had developed a feature idea [while working as an animator at Disney] called The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Lasseter explained. “He went on to become a successful live-action director and was trying to buy Nightmare back from Disney. And they said, ‘Why don’t you just make it for us?’ That opened the door for Disney to think of these ‘niche’ animated films that could be done. They said, ‘Okay, we’re willing to talk with you. We’ve got puppet animation going [with Tim Burton] and now we’ll be willing to develop the computer animation.’ They said to come back when we had an idea. So we started thinking…”

He came up with “Toy Story,” and the rest was history.

Lasseter’s full interview will be in the next issue of EW, but get the preview online here before “Cars 2” reaches theaters on June 24.

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