Pixar's Monsters Inc. pulled back the curtain on childhood fears and things that go bump in the night. But the original pitch had a more adult tone, focusing on the anxieties and fears that remain even after you've grown up.
Pete Docter, who directed both Up and Monsters Inc., appeared on an episode of Jeff Goldsmith's Creative Screenwriting Magazine Podcast about Pixar's creative process and how the screenplays change from initial pitch to final product. Docter outlined his original pitch for Monsters Inc., which wasn't about monsters who frighten children, but monsters who act as manifestations of an adult's fears:
"Well, my idea was that what it was about was about a 30 year old man who is like an accountant or something, he hates his job, and one day he gets a book with some drawings in it that he did when he was a kid from his mom, and he doesn't think anything of it and he puts it on the shelf and that night, monsters show up. And nobody else can see them. He thinks he's starting to go crazy, they follow him to his job, and on his dates, and all this- and it turns out these monsters are fears that he never dealt with as a kid. And each one of them represents a different kind of fear. As he conquers those fears, the guys who he slowly becomes kind of friends with- they disappear as he conquers those fears. It's this bittersweet kinda ending where they go away, and so not much of that stayed
it sounds better as a pitch than it did at the time- anyway. "
Monsters Inc. is a wonderful movie, but I'd love to see this one as well. There is always more room for more beautiful stories about monsters in the world, and this just gets me more excited to see what Docter has up his sleeve next.