It took Jonason Pauley and Jessie Perrotta two years of filming and about three months of prep to create a live-action version of the beloved Pixar film Toy Story, and it only took two days for the YouTube video to get more than 1.7 million views. “I’m kind of blown away,” Perotta, 21, tells EW.
The two friends, film buffs who met at church, shared a love of the Toy Story franchise. That love went into overdrive around the time Toy Story 3 was released and they started hatching a plan to painstakingly remake the original scene for scene.
“We started off with the easy stuff, all of Andy’s room first,” says Perrotta. The guest bedroom in Pauley’s parent’s home became Andy’s room and one of his siblings’ room became Sid’s. And then came the hard parts: finding exterior shots in their Arizona locale that matched the L.A. setting of the movie, and making those action sequences seem real.
But they finally finished it last summer and along the way tried to keep Pixar apprised with videos and tweets, explaining what they were doing and even the plan to put it online. And on Jan. 8 they flew out to the studio.
“We didn’t have a formal invitation, but we’d contacted them on Twitter to let them know we were coming to give out our DVD. The security guard said he expected us and let us give it out to people going in. That was a nice gesture.,” says Perotta. “We never had an official, ‘Go ahead. We like it.’ But we also never got a ‘No.’ I feel like if they ever wanted us to not have done this, they would have told us. We’re not making any money off of this and we don’t plan to.”
[UPDATE:] Pixar reps declined to comment, noting that they never comment on fan inspired clips or sites. But the budding filmmakers seem to have to support of at least one person behind the wall. Lee Unkrich, director of Toy Story 3, tweeted his admiration yesterday:
Lee Unkrich (@leeunkrich) January 14, 2013
So what more do the aspiring filmmakers want from this experience?
“We already got what we were looking for: the recognition. This will help us as we move on to our next video. We’ll have a fan following,” he says. “We just love Toy Story and have so much respect for Pixar and what they do. We wanted to make something that other Toy Story fans could enjoy as well.”
What do you guys think? I’m betting you don’t even mind seeing the wires.
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