Josh Cooley

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Josh Cooley
Josh Cooley.jpg
Cooley in 2019
Born (1980-05-23) May 23, 1980 (age 40)[1]
OccupationAnimator, storyboard artist, screenwriter, director, voice actor
Years active2003–present
EmployerPixar Animation Studios (2003–2020)
Known forToy Story 4
Inside Out
George and A.J.
Riley's First Date?
Small Fry

Joshua Cooley (born May 23, 1980) is an American animator, screenwriter, director and voice actor. He is best known for working on the 2015 Pixar animated film Inside Out and directing the short film Riley's First Date? that was included in its home video release. He made his feature film directorial debut in 2019 with Toy Story 4, the fourth installment of the Toy Story franchise, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.


Cooley was recruited by Joe Ranft at Pixar, where he started his career as an intern,[2][3] mostly working as a storyboard artist on films including The Incredibles in 2004, Cars in 2006, Ratatouille in 2007, Up in 2009, and Cars 2 in 2011.[4] In 2009, Cooley wrote and directed a short film George & A.J. for Pixar and Walt Disney Pictures.[4]

In 2015, Cooley worked as a screenwriter and storyboard supervisor on the film Inside Out, which was released to critical acclaim. Cooley received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay for his work on the film, alongside Pete Docter (the film's director), Ronnie Del Carmen (co-director), and Meg LeFauve.[5] The same year, he wrote and directed another short film titled Riley's First Date?.[6][5]

Following the success of Inside Out, Cooley was tapped by John Lasseter and screenwriter Andrew Stanton to co-direct Toy Story 4. Lasseter ended up setting aside his directorial duties in 2017, making Cooley the sole director. Toy Story 4 was Cooley's directorial debut. Upon release, the film received critical acclaim, and Cooley took home his first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.[7] Cooley left Pixar during March 2020.[8]

Cooley is set to direct an animated Transformers film at Paramount Pictures.[9] The film, which will be "separate and apart from" the Michael Bay-directed franchise and the stand-alone Bumblebee, will focus on Optimus Prime and Megatron's relationship.[9] On May 19, 2020, it was reported that Cooley will write and direct a live-action adaptation of the children's book Malamander for Sony Pictures,[8] marking his first live-action film, following the footsteps of other animation veterans who tried live action, such as Quest for Camelot director, Frederik Du Chau, the Academy Award-winning filmmaking duo of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois, Chris McKay, Rob Minkoff, Clay Kaytis, Shrek helmers Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, Monsters Vs. Aliens and Shark Tale co-director Rob Letterman, Rise of the Guardians helmer and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse co-director Peter Ramsey, and French animation veteran Sylvain Chomet as well as fellow Pixar veterans Andrew Stanton, Brad Bird, Kevin Lima, his wife Brenda Chapman, her fellow The Prince of Egypt co-director Simon Wells, his fellow Amblimation colleague David Bowers, Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge and Laika president, CEO and director of the Oscar-nominated Kubo and the Two Strings, Travis Knight as well as the writer and director of the family-friendly monster film starring your favorite Universal Monsters characters, Little Monsters for Universal Pictures.[10]


Feature Films[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Story
Story Artist Other Voice Role Notes
2004 The Incredibles No No No Uncredited[4] No Additional Storyboarding
2006 Cars No No No Additional No
2007 Ratatouille No No No Yes No
2009 Up No No No Yes Yes Omega
2011 Cars 2 No No Additional Uncredited No Additional Story Supervision
2015 Inside Out No Screenplay Yes No Yes Jangles
2017 Coco No No No No Yes Senior Creative Team
2018 Incredibles 2 No No No No Yes
2019 Toy Story 4 Yes Original Story No No Yes Additional Screenplay Material
Senior Creative Team
2020 Onward No No No No Yes Senior Creative Team
We Bare Bears: The Movie No No No No Yes Painting Elephant Additional Voices
Soul No No No No Yes Additional Screenplay Material[11]
Senior Creative Team
TBD Untitled Animated Transformers Prequel[9] Yes No No No No
Malamander[8] Yes Yes No No No
Little Monsters[10] Yes Yes No No No

Short Films[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Film Editor Story Artist Other Voice Role Notes
2005 Mindwalk No No Yes No No
2009 Calendar Confloption No No No Yes No
George and A.J. Yes Yes No No No
2010 Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales No No No No Yes Additional Voices Episodes 8-9
2011 Toy Story Toons: Small Fry No No No No Yes Cashier/Lizard Wizard Story Editor
2013 Cars Toons: Tales from Radiator Springs No No No No Yes Bug/Additional Voices Episodes 1-3
Toy Story of Terror! No No No No Yes Officer Phillips
2015 Riley's First Date? Yes Yes No No Yes Dad’s Sadness

Other credits[edit]

Year Title Role
2009 Tracy Cameraman #2, Extras, Camera Operator, Artist
2015 The Good Dinosaur Special Thanks
2019-20 Forky Asks a Question
2020 Lamp Life


  1. ^ Cooley, Josh [@CooleyUrFaceOff] (May 23, 2019). "Frank, I never told you that I was turned by my vampire master 400 years ago. I am immortal, birthdays mean nothing to me. But I accept your human congratulatory message" (Tweet). Archived from the original on July 15, 2019. Retrieved July 15, 2019 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ "Twenty-Four Years and Beyond: Pixar Artists Who Worked on Every "Toy Story" Film". 1 May 2019.
  3. ^ Brown, Phil (June 17, 2015). "Inside Pixar And Out With Josh Cooley". Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Murphy, Robert (October 6, 2010). "Josh Cooley gives an in-depth look at Pixar's creative process". Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  5. ^ a b McFarland, K.M. (October 16, 2015). "4 Things Riley's First Date? Reveals About Pixar". Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  6. ^ "Riley's First Date? Is a Sublime Follow-Up to Inside Out". Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  7. ^ "D23 Expo: Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Upcoming Films". July 14, 2017. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Kit, Borys (May 19, 2020). "'Toy Story 4' Director Josh Cooley to Tackle 'Malamander' for Sony Pictures (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  9. ^ a b c Fleming, Mike Jr. (April 29, 2020). "Animated 'Transformers' Prequel Activated; 'Toy Story 4's Josh Cooley To Direct For Hasbro/eOne & Paramount". Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  10. ^ a b Kit, Borys (July 10, 2020). "'Toy Story 4' Director Josh Cooley Tackling 'Little Monsters' for Universal (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  11. ^ Hazelton, John (December 19, 2019). "'Toy Story 4' filmmakers on why the franchise needed another instalment". ScreenDaily. Retrieved November 12, 2020.

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