When Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” opens June 21, 2019, it will do so without its original writers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack. The duo behind “Celeste and Jesse Forever” made headlines last November for departing the film, and Pixar hired relative newcomer Stephany Folsom as their replacement in January. Jones and McCormack hinted last year that their departure had something to do with Pixar being a place where minorities “do not have equal creative voice,” and it’s a sentiment Jones echoed while talking about her “Toy Story 4” exit during a Net-A-Porter interview.
“That situation was complicated,” Jones said. “You look at [Pixar’s] track record and it was one woman directing one film in 25 years, and she was fired. But that doesn’t look different from most studios in Hollywood. All I can be is myself, and speak up and be honest when I feel things don’t reflect the world as it today. As a corporation, you will be held accountable.”
Jones is referencing Brenda Chapman when she mentions how Pixar’s one female director was fired. Chapman was the driving force behind the studio’s “Brave” for several years, but she was removed from the project over creative differences and replaced by Mark Andrews. Jones doesn’t elaborate further, but between her Net-A-Porter quote and the statement she issued with McCormack last fall, it’s being hinted at that Pixar wasn’t giving her the necessary creative control during the writing process.
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“We parted ways because of creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences,” Jones and McCormack’s previous statement read. “There is so much talent at Pixar, and we remain enormous fans of their films. However, it is also a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice.”
The Net-A-Reporter interview mentions that Jones felt she had to hold herself accountable, implying that she couldn’t remain at Pixar when the studio was stifling minority voices. Jones told the publication that she similarly holds herself accountable when writing female characters.
“When I was writing ten years ago, I took what is typically considered a male character and would give it to the woman,” Jones said. “I’d get feedback saying, ‘She’s not likable.’ I would think, ‘So fucking what. Every guy isn’t likable, until he is.’ Women are taught to be nice. Men are taught to be powerful. I want to find a way to tell stories from a woman’s perspective that doesn’t feel like it’s been put in the mouth of a woman by a guy.”
“Toy Story 4” is being described as a romantic comedy involving the relationship between Woody and Bo-peep, which is the reason Pixar probably sought out Jones and McCormack in the first place. Jones is the star of the TBS comedy series “Angie Tribeca” and has appearances in the upcoming films “Zoe” and “Tag.”