Andrew Stanton was Disney-Pixar’s golden child. He co-wrote Toy Story, co-directed A Bug’s Life, and solo-directed Finding Nemo and WALL-E. Then, in 2012, he made his live action feature debut with Disney’s John Carter. It, um, was not received so well. Now, after a string of live-action TV directing (alongside Finding Dory), Deadline reports that Stanton is in talks to return to the world of live-action filmmaking.
The project is called Chairman Spaceman, a sci-fi tale based on a New Yorker short story by Thomas Pierce. Pierce himself is writing the screenplay for Stanton to potentially direct, and Simon Kinberg (who has his own live-action debut snafu with X-Men: Dark Phoenix) is producing with his production company Genre Films for Searchlight Pictures — the second of such deals made by Pierce and Kinberg after Pyros starring Reese Witherspoon. Chairman Spaceman, set in the near future, is about a corporate asshole who pulls a 180 and publicly renounces his mass wealth and decision to embark on a mission to colonize the solar system. Things go awry, and he must deal not only with his past reputation, but his present mistakes.
Since the John Carter of it all (which is actually a pretty damn interesting movie, thank you very much), Stanton has been keeping his teeth cut directing episodes of smart sci-fi and genre TV like Stranger Things, Better Call Saul, Legion, and Tales from the Loop. All of these eclectic, grown-up pieces of work feel exactly in line with the complicated, tone-blending premise of Chairman Spaceman, Plus, we’ve seen him savagely satire American greed run amok in WALL-E, a film for damn kids. It will be a treat to see Stanton apply his considerable talents to not only a live-action film, but one for grown-ups, toned by his experience in the small-screen space.