‘Toy Story 4’ Director Josh Cooley To Direct Animated ‘Transformers’ Prequel



Josh Cooley, who won an Oscar in February for directing Pixar’s Toy Story 4, has been hired to direct an animated Transformers feature.

Here’s what we know at the moment:

Josh Cooley
Josh Cooley
  • Cooley will direct from a script by Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari, the writing duo behind Marvel sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp, who also worked on the original Ant-Man. Entertainment One, the Canadian media company acquired last year by Hasbro, will develop and produce the film alongside Paramount Animation.
  • According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The project is acting as a prequel of sorts to the live-action Transformers movies, and will explore the origin of the heroic Megatron and the seeds of conflict between the harmony-seeking Autobots and domination-loving Decepticons.”
  • Cooley is a director, writer, and storyboard artist with credits on many Pixar features, including The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Up, and Inside Out (whose screenplay he co-wrote). He directed the short film Riley’s First Date? at the studio. Toy Story 4 was his feature directorial debut.
  • Paramount Animation’s recent history is checkered. Its last release, 2019’s Wonder Park, underwhelmed critically and commercially, but it has an ambitious slate of projects in the works, including monster-wrestling film Rumble and an adaptation of Laurence Yep’s book series The Tiger’s Apprentice. There are high hopes for its forthcoming feature The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run, whose release date has been pushed around during the coronavirus crisis, and currently stands at August 7.
  • Transformers started in the 1980s as a Japanese toyline, to which Hasbro eventually acquired the rights. A live-action film franchise based on the toys was launched with 2007’s Transformers; the franchise has spawned five films and a spin-off, 2018’s Bumblebee (image at top), which was directed by Laika president and CEO Travis Knight.
  • The live-action franchise, which has grossed around $4.3 billion globally, continues to generate movies: two more are in the works. In the current climate, however, animation is seen as a safer bet, given that it lends itself better to remote working than live-action production. Cooley’s movie may have been fast-tracked as a result.

Watch Cartoon Brew’s interview with Paramount Animation president Mireille Soria:


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