DAN SCANLON has more than a bit of Christopher Guest coursing through his comedy veins.
Scanlon is a master of animated story at Pixar, but it was his vision for a live-action mockumentary that has given his career an extra boost.
His 2009 self-written and -directed low-budget comedy, “Tracy,” stars Scanlon himself — who has a winningly wry presence — as a man trying to crack the mystery behind the death of a former children’s-TV host. Some of his Pixar brethren make appearances in the film.
“Making ‘Tracy’ on my own may have made a difference — for me and them,” Scanlon tells Comic Riffs while speaking by phone from Oakland, not far from Pixar’s headquarters in Emeryville, Calif. “It’s not the same as an animated story, but it is an attempt to tell a feature-length story with heart and humor.”
“Them” would be the brain trust at Pixar, who tabbed Scanlon to direct the college-set sequel ”Monsters University” (opening Friday, which coincidentally is his 37th birthday). It is the storyteller’s first time at the helm of a big-budget feature film.
“I spent so much time with the brain trust in other films, I didn’t see a barrier to break through” as a director, Scanlon (“Cars,” “Brave,” “Mater and the Ghostlight”) tells us. “I saw it as a moment of trust.
“And when it came time to get help, I saw how their gut [instinct] is always right. It’s not always the right solution, but they’re right when pointing out the problem.”
His favorite part of the process from the director’s chair? “I had a front-row seat to see how these movies are actually put together,” he says.
To read Comic Riffs’s full article on Scanlon, which ran in Sunday’s Post, just click HERE.