It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since Monsters Inc. hit the big screen. The Pixar animated film still holds up today, and so does the film’s tiny hero, Boo. The tender moment at the end of the film when Sulley had to say goodbye to Boo and she hugs Sulley pleading, “Kitty”, still rips my heart out.
Boo was played by 3 year-old Mary Gibbs. Her father was the story board artist for Monsters Inc. and asked the film’s director, Pete Docter, if they had any ideas on what Boo might look like? Many at Pixar thought Boo should be older, 5 or 6 years old, but Mary was brought in anyway to sketch and do what’s called ‘scratch dialogue’ – a sort of vocal placeholder until the actually actress was cast. At the time adults were playing kids’ characters mostly.
But there was something about Mary’s laugh and giggle that made the producers think she could be Boo. Mary was cast and the rest was history. Looking back, a toddler was the only way it could work. And older child wouldn’t have been as fearless. Boo’s innocence led her to believe she could do anything, it was a winning formula for Pixar. Monsters Inc. was a hit.
Today Mary is 19, a student at the University of Colorado, yoga instructor, and arial acrobat. She’s got a pretty sweet Instagram as well.