Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley has lined up another project. And this time, it’s live action.
The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Cooley has signed a deal to make Malamander for Sony Pictures. The project is based on a 2019 novel by British writer and illustrator Thomas Taylor, and according to the report “is set in Eerie-on-Sea, a seaside town filled with oddball characters and mysteries as murky as its winter fog.” The story follows a young boy named Herbert Lemon, who teams up with a young girl named Violet Parma, to look for the parents she lost as a child. There’s a monster and a villain with a hooked hand so, yes, this sounds very cool.
Cooley left Pixar, where he had been one of the company’s secret weapons for the past 17 years, shortly after he won the Best Animated Feature Oscar for Toy Story 4. Since then he’s already attached himself to one high profile animated feature – Paramount’s Transformers prequel. But Malamander will be his first live-action feature, following in the footsteps of fellow Pixar directors Brad Bird, who helmed Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Tomorrowland, and Andrew Stanton, who made John Carter.
While both Bird and Stanton returned to Pixar for another animated feature, it seems like Cooley is very much done with the groundbreaking animation studio he’s called home for almost two decades. Cooley started out as a storyboard artist on movies like Up, Ratatouille and The Incredibles, before writing and directing animated shorts (including the very amazing “Riley’s First Date?”) and even securing an Oscar nomination for co-writing Inside Out and ultimately winning the big Oscar for Toy Story 4. He was always one of Pixar’s brightest talents and it’s a shame he’s left the studio.
In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, Cooley said: ““Creating films and telling stories at Pixar for 17 years has been a dream. The quality of our storytelling was a direct correlation to the quality of the people at Pixar who shaped those stories together, and they will always be my family. And while it was a hard decision to leave, I am so excited to jump into and create new worlds with new collaborators and partners. There are so many stories that I want to tell, and I hope to bring some of that Pixar magic with me wherever I go.” Undoubtedly, he will.