Lee Unkrich, who directed the beloved hit films Coco and Toy Story 3, is leaving Pixar after 25 years.

  • According to the Hollywood Reporter, Unkrich announced his departure to colleagues at Pixar today.
  • However, unlike other recent Disney departures that saw creatives nabbing deals elsewhere, Unkrich told THR, "I'm not leaving to make films at another studio; instead, I look forward to spending much-needed time with my family and pursuing interests that have long been back-burnered.”
  • As result, sources told the site that the split was amicable.
  • Unkrich first joined Pixar when the studio was creating the first Toy Story.
  • He would later direct the third installment of the franchise before helming Coco.
  • Both films won Oscars for Best Animated Feature in their respective years.
  • The departure of Unkrich is the latest in a series of major changes at Pixar, including the ousting of John Lasseter and retirement of Ed Catmull.

What they’re saying

  • Lee Unkrich:

  • Pete Docter, director (Up, Monsters Inc.) and Chief Creative Officer of Pixar: "Lee arrived at Pixar as we were crafting Toy Story, and he’s had a profound effect on all Pixar films since. He literally taught us rookie filmmakers about staging, composition, and cutting. His artistry and expert craftsmanship as an editor and co-director became a major reason for the high quality of our filmmaking, and as Lee went on to direct, his ability to find the deep humor and emotion enabled him to create some of the strongest films we’ve made."
  • Jim Morris, President of Pixar: “If you look at the sweep of contemporary cinema, it would be difficult to find someone more brilliant in the filmmaking arts than Lee Unkrich. He has been a key player in elevating virtually every one of Pixar’s films.”
  • Alan Horn, Walt Disney Studios chairman: “Lee has left an indelible mark on the world of film, and we are so grateful for the passion and talent he has brought to each movie he has worked on. He’ll always be part of the Disney-Pixar family, and we will miss him.”