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March 18, 2009

Just What the Docter Ordered

'Up' director Pete Docter still another man of faith at Pixar

Every time Pixar releases a new movie, I count it as one of the most anticipated of the year--and this summer's Up is no exception.

Why is it that Pixar's creative wheels seem to be spin faster than everyone else's, that their wells of imagination seem to run deeper than all of their competitors? Perhaps it's because many of the company's principals are in tune with the Creator himself.

Andrew Stanton (WALL-E, Finding Nemo) has discussed his Christian faith (even with CT Movies), and we've heard that Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) is also a believer.

I was googling for info on Pete Docter, the writer/director of Monsters Inc., and now the director of Up, and found this interview with Radix magazine, done about the time Monsters Inc. released, in which he also discusses his Christian faith.

Docter was asked how having a child changed him as an artist, to which he replied: "Work-wise, I definitely see things differently. . . . As a Christian, having my son has made me even more amazed by the whole Creation, when I watch him grow and start to connect things in his brain. I say, 'That's amazing.' It leaves me speechless."

Asked how his faith affects his work, Docter said, "Years ago when I first spoke at church, I was kind of nervous about talking about Christianity and my work. It didn't really connect. But more and more it seems to be connecting for me. I ask for God's help, and it's definitely affected what I'm doing. It's helped me to calm down and focus. There were times when I got too stressed out with what I was doing, and now I just step back and say, "God, help me through this." It really helps you keep a perspective on things, not only in work, but in relationships."

Asked if he planned to ever make an explicitly Christian film, Docter said, "Not at this point. I don't feel so comfortable with that. Even if you have a moral to a story, if you actually come out and say it, it loses its power. Not that we're trying to be sneaky or anything, but you have more ability to affect people if you're not quite so blatant about it. Does that make sense? . . .

"To me art is about expressing something that can't be said in literal terms. You can say it in words, but it's always just beyond the reach of actual words, and you're doing whatever you can to communicate a sense of something that is beyond you."

Amen to that.

Related Tags: Pete Docter, Pixar, Up