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Mindhole Blowers: 25 Facts You Might Not Know About the Pixar Films

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | June 24, 2013 | Comments ()


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1. The Pizza Planet Truck is in every single Pixar film, except The Incredibles, though it can be found in The Incredibles video game.

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2. In A Bug’s Life, John Lassetter repeatedly attempted to get Robert DeNiro to voice Hopper, the grasshopper, but DeNiro repeatedly declined. DeNiro didn’t do animated voice work at the time. Kevin Spacey was offered the part after the 1995 Academy Awards, and he delightfully accepted. DeNiro would make his first voice appearance in an animated film six years later in the miserable Shark’s Tale. Uh, good choice.

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3. The fact that A Bug’s Life and Antz were released around the same time is not coincidental. In fact, it’s evident that Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was ousted from Disney and then started Dreamworks Animation, stole the idea from John Lassetter, and there was a lengthy and heated argument between the studios over this fact. In fact, at one point, Katzenberg tried to extort Pixar by agreeing to put a pin in Antz if Pixar wouldn’t release A Bug’s Life in competition with Prince of Egypt. Pixar refused. Katzenberg then spitefully sped up production on Antz to release it against Bugs. (A Bugs Life would fare much better in theaters — $162 million to $90 million — despite the fact that Antz came out a month earlier).

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4. It took four to 13 hours to render EACH FRAME of Toy Story, the first fully computer generated film.

5. Buzz Lightyear’s likeness was modeled after the facial features of John Lasseter.

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6. Billy Crystal was originally offered the opportunity to voice Buzz Lightyear but declined, stating later that it was the biggest regret of his career. After Pixar heard that he’d said that, they offered him the role of Mike in Monsters, Inc.

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7. Barbie was originally supposed to be the love interest, and Woody’s savior in the original Toy Story film, but Mattel declined to allow Barbie to be in the film because the company that the movie would fail and they didn’t want Barbie associated with it (her character was re-worked into that of Bo-Peep). After the success of Toy Story (it was the highest grossing film of 1995), Mattel jumped at the opportunity to allow Barbie to appear in Toy Story 2.

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8. In an early draft of the Toy Story, Woody was presented as a sarcastic jerk, and as a result, the film was deemed unwatchable by Jeffrey Katzenberg (then at Disney), and production was shut down on the film until Woody was reworked into a more likable character.

9. Joss Whedon allegedly created the character Rex the Dinosaur in Toy Story.

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10. The Buzz Lightyear cartoon, the yard sale, and Woody’s nightmare in Toy Story 2 were sloppy seconds, all originally conceived for the first film.

11. Bill Murray was also considered for the role of both Buzz Lightyear and Sully in Monsters, Inc, and in fact, was offered the latter, but never returned John Lasseter’s phone call.

12. Jennifer Tilly, who voiced Celia Mae in Monsters, Inc. was married to one of the creators of “The Simpsons,” and Tilly raved about a script written by one of “The Simpsons” writers, Brad Bird. That movie would eventually become The Incredibles.

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13. In Monsters, Inc., when Boo attempted to get Sully to stay and play at the end of the film, she offered him a toy Nemo, the first glimpse we got of Nemo, who would be the focus of Finding Nemo two years later. It’s common, in fact, to introduce future characters in background scenes of Pixar films.

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14. William H. Macy was originally cast as Marin in Finding Nemo and, in fact, recorded all his voice work before he was replaced by Albert Brooks, who was director Andrew Stanton’s first choice anyway.

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15. The number “A-113” appears in some fashion in all of Pixar’s films (license plate number, camera model number, classroom number, etc.). It’s a reference to the California Arts University room where the animators of Pixar Studios attend.

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16. Megan Mullally, originally cast as one of the character’s voices in Finding Nemo, was fired from the film for refusing to do her Karen Walker voice from “Will & Grace.”

17. In order to convince Sarah Vowell — who had never done voice acting before — to take the role of Violet, Pixar animators animated one of her “This American Life” segments and showed it to her.

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18. In listening to the temp tape of the voice of Edna Mode, Lily Tomlin, who was originally cast in the voice role, said that Brad Bird was so good, “What do you need me for?” Bird would ultimately supply the voice.

19. Many of the Car names in Cars are borrowed from an Isaac Asmimov short story, “Sally,” about sentient robotic cars.

20. This is the stand-up skit — Menu at the Black Angus Restaurant — that convinced Brad Bird to hire Patton Oswalt in Ratatouille.

21. In Up, 20,622 balloons are shown lifting Carl’s house; in actuality, it would take around 12 million balloons to lift it.

22. The dying wish of a 10 year old girl with terminal cancer, Colby Curtin, was to see Up, but Curtin was too ill to attend a screenig. When Pixar heard of this, they sent a Pixar employee to give her a private screening. Curtin’s illness had taken away her eyesight by then, but her mother gave her daughter a play-by-play of the film. Seven hours after she finished watching the movie, Curtin passed away.

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23. Toy Story and Toy Story 2 had 100 percent ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. Toy Story 3 had only a 99 percent. Armond White was the only holdout among “top critics.” He was kicked off of Rotten Tomatoes later for being the only top critic to like Jack and Jill.

24. Reese Witherspoon was originally cast as Meridia in Brave, but scheduling conflicts prevented her from doing it (which is strange considering that Tom Hanks provided his voice work in the midst of making other movies, and Jason Lee provided his voice tracks on The Incredibles in only four days).

25. The ball from Luxo, Jr., the first short ever created by Pixar, has appeared in nearly every Pixar production.

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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • the pizza planet truck was in the incredibles at the scene where the Winnebago was dropped into the city, on the motor way in literally 2 frames you see a pizzaplanet truck

  • number 5

    Is MERIDA, like a city in Spain, not Meridia ....

  • number5

    re: #24 BRAVE

  • trixie

    I live at the beach so the seagulls in "Finding Nemo" are the best thing ever! Anyone who lives near water has to have yelled "MINE" at them at least once.

  • AnnaKendrick'sLoveMuffin

    #26
    Wall-E made me tear up in front of my niece...

    She loves me more, now.

  • anna

    wall-E is prbly my fave pixar movie, but Up made me SOBBBB my eyes out in the theater!

  • Devil Child

    (Armond White) was kicked off of Rotten Tomatoes later for being the only
    top critic to like Jack and Jill.

    To date, this is the happiest news I've ever read about film. It's the "Bin Laden was killed" of cine-news.

  • Devil Child
  • Alex0001

    Never heard about 22 before. That was just punch in the gut right there...

  • BuffyloGal

    My youngest child was amazed when I could start rattling off scenes from Toy Story despite not having watched it for years. He forgot that he was the second kid in our house to watch it a hundred times a day for four years straight. Snake in my boot indeed.

  • Ugh, Antz is such a terrible movie. One of the many terrible animated movies that foregoes story in favor of having celebrities voice animals who act just like people. "It's funny because it's Woody Allen...as an ant!"

    No, no it isn't.

  • Anonymous Guy

    Armond White. L. O. L.

  • Lauren_Lauren

    I would have much, much preferred William H. Macy in Finding Nemo. I thought Albert Brooks' performance was grating.

  • WAIT. I must SEE #17! And WHICH This American Life segment?Surely this thing is on the interweb somewhere.

    Also, I've heard about #22 before, but it still makes me tear up. sob.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    ..by agreeing to put a pin in Antz if Pixar...

    This confuses me - when you put a pin in an actor it means they are under strong consideration for a part. Does it mean the opposite for movies?

    Billy Crystal as Buzz would've been strange. And good for Mullally not rehashing Karen. I'm surprised they wanted that of her. (though that would be a rather aggressive voice for Dory)

  • Plus Billy Crystal is so perfect as Mike!

  • Three_nineteen

    When I use the phrase "put a pin in it", I mean either "let's save it for later" or "I'm not forgetting about it, but I can't deal with it now".

  • PDamian

    One more: John Ratzenberger (Cliff Claven, Cheers) has voiced at least one character in every Pixar movie ever made. He's become a sort of unofficial mascot. He's probably best known for Hamm (Toy Story 1, 2, 3), but I loved him in The Incredibles as The Under Miner: "I'm always beneath you, but nothing is beneath me!"

  • I think my favorite of his is the school of fish in Finding Nemo.

  • PDamian

    "Blah blah blah, me me blah, blah blah blah blah me me me!"

  • PDamian

    To be clear, that's me quoting the school of fish, not harshing on Figgy (for whom I have the utmost respect).

  • apsutter

    My favorite is when he was the abominable snowman with his lemon snowcones

  • $27019454

    It's as if the very end of the film comes, and Pixar regulars are all wondering, Where the hell's Ratzenberger, and BAM! Up outa the ground!

  • Tinkerville

    The Pixar Story is a fantastic little documentary on Netflix instant that I highly recommend. It was made several years ago so it doesn't address a number of their recent movies, but the story of how they started is just wonderful.

  • Julie Chase

    A Bug's Life will always be my favorite Pixar movie. It's not the best, but I love it so. Partially because Madeline Kahn, mostly because Heimlich makes me cackle.

    "AND I AM A CUTE LITTLE BUMBLEBEE!! Ooooh, CANDY CORN! Let me help you to finish it!"

    Also, how did I not know that Jennifer Tilly was married to Sam Simon? (who I always picture as a cartoon Howard Hughes-ish character because of his likeness in the one episode)

  • The "YOU'RE FIRED!" bugs are the best!

  • Gabs

    A Bug's Life has a special place in my heart because of Madeline. It's not my favorite, but it's up there.

  • apsutter

    It's not my favorite but it always makes me sad that people kind of forget about it. I honestly don't know if I can pick a favorite Pixar movie...they're all just so good! I do love Toy Story 2, Wall-E, and Monsters Inc an inordinate amount tho.

  • $27019454

    My favorite, too. Not the best, but my sentimental favorite forever. It wends its way throughout my family's everyday vernacular. Love it forever.

  • psykins

    Could you please edit #16? I'm interested but don't understand.

  • BendinIntheWind

    Some Wikipedia-ing says she was originally slated to voice someone in "Finding Nemo", but it doesn't specify who. My money's on Dory:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F...

  • psykins

    Oh cool, thanks. See it's been updated, too - this is a pretty interesting list!

  • DarthCorleone

    I haven't seen Brave yet, but was the plan for Reese to do a Scottish accent?

  • bbmcrae

    She really has made the most awful life and career choices in the past few years.

  • Bert_McGurt

    She figured she could just down a few belts of scotch and go nuts on it. Interestingly, she ended up using the strategy a year or so later prior to filming Dashboard Cameras of the Georgia Highway Patrol, but the results were less impressive than intended.

  • foolsage

    * shudders * It really worked out for the best. Kelly Macdonald was perfect in the role, what with actually having a genuine Scots accent and all. ;)

  • Mrsexamme1965

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт...­ ­ViewMore----------------------...

    When I use the phrase "put a pin
    in it", I mean either "let's save it for later" or "I'm not forgetting
    about it, but I can't deal with it now".

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