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Pete Docter admits he wasn't the most socially proficient kid, and says that even today, he prefers to work alone and has to remind himself to connect with others.

Docter, director of the new Pixar film Up, gets those connections in his own family—he and wife Amanda have two children, Nicolas (12) and Elie (10)—and at the office, where the Pixar team considers itself very much a family. One of Pixar's originals, Docter helped create the characters and script for the Toy Story films, and wrote and directed Monsters Inc.

Up is the story of a lonely, curmudgeonly widower, Carl Fredricksen, who decides to escape the world's chaos by tying thousands of helium balloons to his home and floating away to paradise—all alone. But shortly into his trip, Carl learns he's not alone—a stowaway, a young boy named Russell, has unwittingly come along for the adventure. And along the way, both Carl and Russell learn some poignant lessons about life—and about the importance of relationships.

CT Movies caught up with Docter recently for a conversation about the film.

I hear the idea for Up partly sprung from a notion that it would be nice to be shipwrecked on a desert island and to escape the chaos of the world.

Docter: The genesis of it was that I'm not an extroverted guy. By the end of the day, a lot of times I just want to escape or get away from everything. So the idea of floating off into the sky seemed really intriguing. I think everybody can relate to that, and yet one of the most important things we can do is to connect with other people—and it's easy to lose track of that. And that's the message of the film, that Carl thinks he missed the real adventure in life by not going to these exotic places and seeing ...

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May 2009

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