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To Infinity and Beyond: The Live Action “Toy Story 3” Project

Animated films take years to make. From story boarding, lighting, voice acting, and animation, hundreds of crew members work tirelessly to finalize a product that people will enjoy all around the globe. The production of Disney/ Pixar’s 2010 film Toy Story 3 was no different. And all of that hard work paid off when the film won the Oscar for the Best Animated Feature Film in 2011.

It’s clear that critics and fans admired the film, but its safe to say that no one loved it more than Iowa brothers Morgan and Mason McGrew. The brothers worked an astonishing 8 years on creating a live action version of their favorite film. Yes, two people – not a crew of hundreds spent years on a passion project. They used a mix of stop motion and live action shots captured on their iPhones to create a pretty accurate interpretation. The best part? You can watch their shot-for-shot remake for free on YouTube.

Credit: Toy Story 3 IRL YouTube

Morgan and Mason began this project when they were 12 and 15 respectively. They collected toys, props, costumes, and even recreated extremely accurate detailed sets for their remake. Now in their early twenties, Morgan and Mason spent the majority of their free time during their teenage years on the project. Toy Story 3 explores the challenges of change and growing up with Andy going off to college and the toys trying to figure out what their new purpose is. This theme is something that the brothers experienced first hand during their 8 year production process.

The final film was released in January of this year and already has an astonishing 10 million views and counting. Disney approved the brother’s use of the film’s audio track over their live action shots, so thankfully the video won’t be taken down due to copyright infringement.

You can get a behind the scenes look at the amount of work that went into the making of Toy Story 3 In Real Life by checking out the McGrew brother’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

Credit: ABC Television Studios

Years earlier, friends Jesse Perrotta and Jonason Pauley of JP and Beyond created their own live action version of the original 1995 Toy Story. Also free to watch on YouTube, the McGrew brothers used Perrotta and Pauley’s project as inspiration for theirs.

All that’s left are live action versions for Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 4. Recreating the carnival and antique store scenes from Toy Story 4 would be very complicated, but as the McGrew brothers and JP and Beyond have proved, nothing is impossible. We hope there’s a group of fans out there ready to tackle these projects!


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Written by Abbie Campbell

Abbie is a college student studying media communications . She wishes to spread the magic of Disney by writing with JustDisney. When shes's not writing, she likes to paint, stay active, and spend time with her family and friends.

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