With Pixar’s Finding Dory now available on home video, I recently got on the phone with director Andrew Stanton to talk about directing one of the most successful films of 2016. As most of you know, the sequel finds Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) setting out on an adventure to discover answers about her past. Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (newcomer Hayden Rolence) are back along with Bob Peterson as Mr. Ray and Stanton himself as Crush the super-chill sea turtle. New additions include Dory’s fish parents, Charlie and Jenny (voiced by Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton); a beluga whale named Bailey (Ty Burrell); a whale shark called Destiny (Kaitlin Olson); and the curmudgeonly octopus, Hank (Ed O’Neill).
During the interview Stanton talked about what kind of gift you get when your movie crosses a billion dollars at the worldwide box office, his reaction to the success of the film, what he’s excited for people to see on the Blu-ray, if he held back any deleted scenes, the way you can now render in real time, what he might do next, why Pixar changed the release dates of Toy Story 4 and The Incredibles 2, and more. Check out what he had to say below.
COLIIDER: First of all, I have to ask, when your film crosses a billion dollars worldwide, what is the gift that Disney and Pixar get you?
ANDREW STANTON: [Laughs] I think I got a couple of congratulatory emails, so yeah I’s pretty whippy.
That’s actually not what I wanted to hear in any way, shape or form.
STANTON: [Laughs] Yeah, all I got was a watch.
Being serious for a second, you went into making this movie knowing Finding Nemo is loved by so many people and that the whole planet is excited for it, but you never know how they’re gonna react. A billion dollars is crazy, so for you what does it feel like knowing that so many people loved Finding Dory and it was such a huge hit?
STANTON: It feels great. To be honest, I never really attach the monetary gain to how much people like something, because there’s plenty of films that have been box office wins that I’ve forgotten almost right after I walked out of the theater. So I don’t put a lot of weight into that. What I do is if people still talk about it or watch it years from now and I won’t know that for a while, so less so the fact that they went in the first place. It’s all good, I’m not complaining or dismissing it, but –It’s a huge sigh of relief, it always is, but it’s a huge sigh of relief that you made something that matched their expectations.
The trick is that all you’re really trying to do the whole time is match your own expectations. We learned a long time ago with Toy Story 2, which was our third film…over 20 years ago… that you have to convince yourself that you’re making another original very early on and stop looking at it like it’s a sequel to anything, it’s the only way it’s gonna get the same love that the original did. And so by the time you’re done you don’t see it as anything else but its own freestanding film, and that’s been true in any of the sequels I’ve worked on. So for me Finding Dory is Finding Dory, it’s not the follow-up, and I have that comfort of just knowing that I gave it that and that I feel like that about it. So the fact that other people receive it as strongly as the original it just makes confirmation of that.
The Blu-ray seems like it’s loaded. Is there one thing on the Blu-ray that you’re really excited for fans to see?
STANTON: I don’t know if the fans will love it as much as I do, but privately got a huge thrill and felt like a big win to get to sit down and talk with Thomas Newman and really let him go to town and break down how he approaches composing a score. Because I was a huge fan of his for years before I ever got to start working with him, and this is our third film together, I plan on working with him for a very long time. He rarely wants to talk about himself or get into it, even in private, so I thought it was such a gain to capture that on film. So I get something out of it just from having that event and I hope other people do too.