Andrew Stanton Steps Back Into Directing Spotlight With 'Finding Dory'

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

At the world premiere of the latest Pixar feature, John Lasseter called the director "one of the best storytellers of our time."

Andrew Stanton's latest endeavor Finding Dory is the fourth time he has found himself in the director's chair for Pixar.

"It was like getting to do a second season of your favorite TV show," the director told The Hollywood Reporter at the world premiere of the animated feature.

He added: "It's like you are on a car trip with somebody you know, and you have driven long enough where you are through with all the stuff you know and you start learning new stuff."

Finding Dory is the sequel to his 2003 oceanic tale Finding Nemo. The movie focuses on Dory, the blue tang fish with short-term memory loss voiced by Ellen DeGeneres as she tries to find her parents, with the help of old pals Nemo and Marlin and new friends like a octopus who's seen some stuff and a near-sighted whale shark. 

"When we choose to do a sequel, it is because we have come up with a story that is as good or better than the original," said Pixar patriarch John Lasseter.  

Of the inception of the sequel, he said, "We love in the first movie when she goes 'It runs in my family ... Where are they?' and Andrew said, 'I want to dig into that.'"

The last film Stanton directed was the live-action action adventure John Carter, his first feature made outside of Pixar's Emoryville campus.

Lasseter is happy to have him back helming a Pixar film for the first time since 2008's Oscar-winning Wall-E, saying, "He's my brother, he is one of the founders of Pixar with me. Every movie made has his touch with it. … I think he is one of the best storytellers of our time."

The Wednesday night premiere shut down Hollywood Boulevard with the screening taking place at Disney's El Capitan theater. An enclosed aquarium sat at one end of the carpet with a touch tank, complete with starfish, sea urchins and sea anemones (or, as Nemo would put it, amnemonemomnes).

Nemo originals like DeGeneres and Albert Brooks walked the premiere's blue carpet, with newcomers Ed O'Neill and Ty Burrell and Pixar mainstays like Ed Catmull and Bob Peterson on hand for the carnival-like afterparty.

John Ratzenberger, who has famously voiced a character in every one of Pixar's now 17 features, was also in attendance. 

"They work as hard on Finding Dory as they did on the first Toy Story. They are old-school Hollywood," he said when asked why Pixar sequels often avoid the dreaded sophomore slump. "It's like if you were making furniture or a car, in order to sustain your business, you have to make that first one as good as the 50th."

Finding Dory hits theater on June 17.