• Image about Michael Giacchino

Composer Michael Giacchino’s name may not ring a bell outside Hollywood, but his career is off the charts.

Illustration By Roberto Parada

A couple of Hollywood creatives hurtle down California’s Interstate 5 on a mission. One is the Oscar-nominated writer of the animated blockbusters Monsters, Inc. and WALL•E, while the other is the hottest film composer to pen a note since Randy Newman. The two have just wrapped their first day of work on Pixar’s big summer feature, Up, but they’re still looking for the magic, a sense of nostalgia that will make this film soar like a helium-filled balloon. So they’re fighting through five lanes of Los Angeles traffic to find it -- in Disneyland, of all places -- and they’re listening to the soundtrack from The Muppet Show along the way.

“I grew up loving the Muppets,” says Up cowriter and director Pete Docter, who confesses he had hoped to work with the late Jim Henson one day. But upon discovering that the CD player in composer Michael Giacchino’s car is already loaded with show tunes, he realizes he’s found a creative kindred. “It’s been like finding a long-lost brother,” Docter says.