Pete Docter Shuts Down Possibility of Live-Action Pixar Remakes

Well, there goes the internet’s dream of Josh O’Connor starring in a live-action “Ratatouille.”

After fans have tried to cast the “Challengers” and “Knives Out 3” star as Alfredo Linguini (“Ratatouille” is one of the few films that make O’Connor cry), Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter thwarted any chance of a live-action remake. And that’s not just for “Ratatouille,” but all of Pixar’s catalog.

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For Pixar, live-action is a dish best served, well, never.

“This might bite me in the butt for saying it, but it sort of bothers me,” Docter told Time when asked about live-action remakes. (The question was teed up with the O’Connor-in-“Ratatouille” fan campaign.) “I like making movies that are original and unique to themselves. To remake it, it’s not very interesting to me personally.”

Plus, a live-action remake would require a CGI talking rat, which Docter said would be “tough” to make cute.

“So much of what we create only works because of the rules of the [animated] world,” he said.

Take “Up” for example.

“So if you have a human walk into a house that floats, your mind goes, ‘Wait a second. Hold on. Houses are super heavy. How are balloons lifting the house?’ But if you have a cartoon guy and he stands there in the house, you go, ‘OK, I’ll buy it,'” Docter added. “The worlds that we’ve built just don’t translate very easily.”

Instead of live-action remakes, like Disney has been doing with “The Lion King” and “Moana,” Docter envisions Pixar to expand its film slate with more sequels like the newly-released “Inside Out 2.”

“It’s hard. Everybody says, ‘Why don’t they do more original stuff?’ And then when we do, people don’t see it because they’re not familiar with it,” he said. “With sequels, people think, ‘Oh, I’ve seen that. I know that I like it.’ Sequels are very valuable that way. [We’re] trying to balance our output with more sequels.”

Of course, sequels come with their own problems.

“On the other hand, they’re almost harder than originals because we can’t do the same idea again. We have to build on it hopefully in ways that people don’t expect,” Docter said. “It’s sort of cynical to say people want to see stuff they know. But I think even with original stuff, that’s what we’re trying to do too. We’re trying to find something that people feel like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve been through that. I understand that I recognize this as a life truth.’ And that’s been harder to do. […] We’re still rummaging around for things like that, but it’s harder and harder to find as we’re into our 28th movie or whatever.”

Prequels also have proved to be tough — look at “Lightyear.”

“We took a long moment of self scrutiny after that didn’t deliver,” Docter admitted. “I think we overestimated the audience’s nerd level of being like, ‘Oh, that kid in the first “Toy Story” bought a toy, and it was based on a movie. And this is that movie.’ That’s probably a few layers too deep. Because I think people are going, ‘Well, where’s Mr. Potato Head? Where’s Woody?'”

Docter summed up of the Pixar franchise-building model, “If [‘Inside Out 2’] doesn’t do well at the theater, I think it just means we’re going to have to think even more radically about how we run our business.”

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