After receiving praise for his directing duties on Toy Story 3 and Coco, Lee Unkrich 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 would go on to gross a combined worlwide box office total of over $2 billion dollars. Both films also earned Unkrich an Academy Awards.
Longtime Pixar employee and Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter had this to say regarding Unkrich.
“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.”
Back in March, Unkrich’s producing partner Darla K. Anderson also left the studio after 25 years. Pixar President Ed Catmull also recently retired from the studio.