It’s not everyday you the opportunity to tour Pixar Animation Studios and meet some of the talented team behind incredible animations such as Inside Out and Lava. Read on to learn more about Pixar’s Inside Out and the short Lava coming out June 19.
We saw clips from Inside Out when we chatted with Inside Out‘s Director Pete Docter and Producer Jonas Rivera and it’s going to be great. I’m looking forward to the whole thing. The cast is epic: Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black. Need I say more? Epic. Worth the price of admission right there. Plus you get the see the animated short Lava, too, which you can only see when you see Inside Out.
Interview with Inside Out‘s Director Pete Docter and Producer Jonas Rivera
On the origins of Inside Out
Director Pete Docter’s daughter is the voice of young Ellie in the movie UP. She was around 9 years old when it was recorded and Pete said she was actually a lot like that character. She would walk up to strangers and say, “Hello.” And talk to people, and was spunky and bubbly.
“And then she turned 11 or 12, and things changed a little bit. She got quiet. We talked to her teachers who’d say, ‘Ellie’s a quiet girl.’ And we’d say, ‘Who are you talking about?’ So obviously you guys know what that’s like. You go through a difficult time, sometimes very difficult, both from the kid’s point of view, and the parent’s point of view. And that was really the origins of this film, is trying to figure out what’s going on inside her head,” Pete said.
“We had this idea of using emotions as our main character, Anger, Fear, Sadness, Disgust, and Joy. What that lead to was this great research that we got to do talking to psychologists and neurologists, and really deep dive into how and why we think and feel. And that’s, uh, a lot of that research has shown up in the film, and then of course we made some stuff up too, but, uh, ‘cause it’s supposed to be fun to watch.
Jonas: It was really the idea that we’ll personify the emotions. When we pitched it to Disney and to John Lasseter we talked about our version of the Seven Dwarfs. You can really do something in animation, really get these characters and do something unique, specific, and fun. It just really appealed to us. We love—obviously—animated movies, but also the classic Disney animated movies, and we talk about that a lot. What was it about those movies that lasted forever? Why do we still talk about Lady and the Tramp and Dumbo and these movies that we grew up? They’re very emotional. UP is very emotional. We like movies that are emotional. What if we made one about emotions?
Pete: So the fun of this film has been really about casting, and even from the beginning we were thinking, ‘Okay, you have Anger, Fear, Sadness, Disgust, you have all these guys who have such strong passionate points of view on how you should act.’ You know, Fear is always going to be the one to say, ‘Uh, maybe we should, uh, uh, you know, just back off a little.’ Early on using Lewis Black, the great comedian, as an example of the kind of cast you could find. We were lucky enough to get him.
It ended up, not only do the characters lend themselves to great animation fun, but we had this amazing cast between Amy Poehler, who’s just fantastic, and really what made me fall in love with her is Smart Girls blog. My daughter was looking at. She does such great work in reaching out to kids and letting them know that growing up is hard, and so she really resonated with the film, as did Mindy…
Jonas: …Kaling, who plays Disgust. It’s just really great, too, we pitched with all these really smart actors, and they responded, and really have approached the film as if it’s theirs, like they’re really proud of it, as are we.
One of the clips we watched was dinner during the teenage years
They’re about to have dinner. This is their first night in a new town.
So Joy and Sadness have been out, their whole journey is of course to try to get back to headquarters, so that they can make sure that Riley stays happy. But in the meantime, these three guys are driving, which makes something even as simple as a family dinner, a little more complicated.
Riley has new friends, new surroundings, all sorts of things we’re getting into. Um. What happens along the way is that Sadness starts to become more and more pushy, and start to get in the way. And Joy is wanting to make sure that her kid stays happy, and so she tries to relegate her to the side. Things, tensions escalate, things get worse and worse to the point where both of them end up getting sucked up out of that tube and sent out of headquarters, way out into long-term memory.
So that means the only emotions that are driving, are disgust and fear and anger, which may explain some things about teenagers.
On kids and parents and the relationships between them
Jonas: What started off as a movie sort of as an observation of Pete’s daughter…we all have kids… but they’re big in the movie. But it’s really become a movie about us as parents. It’s kind of like trying to explain what we cannot figure out. So, we’re having a lot of fun with it, and trying to keep it truthful and real and so forth.
On Pete’s daughter being the inspiration for the film’s main character
Pete: She’s playing it pretty coy. She just saw the film, maybe a couple months before Christmas. She’s 16 now, she’s not really been forthcoming with exactly what she thinks of it, but I think she’s having a good time with it.
Jonas: I think she enjoys it. I mean, we kind of kept it quiet for a while that was—it wasn’t literally—but it was an observation of her, and then we started talking about it, and pitching it, and referencing. We look for things as we make these films that are truthful and real, or coming from at least a real place. Doesn’t matter what people think of them, we can say, ‘Well, they’re observations of our own family and friends and life.’ There’s no getting around it. She seems really cool about it.
Pete: She said, ‘Good movie, dad.’ And then later my, my wife mentioned that she was crying a little during the movie. I always take that as a good receipt.
One which emotion was their favorite to bring to life
Pete: The one that seemed easiest, and I don’t know what this says about me, is anger. I don’t think of myself as a very angry person.
Jonas: No, you’re not. You’re not.
Pete: I know the crew has said they never see me get angry, which is good. He was just the most fun in terms of a cartoon. I could right away know what he looks like. He was one of the first that we designed. The most difficult was Joy actually, because we wanted her to have depth and she’s our lead. And I don’t know if you have people, friends that are just happy all the time, you kinda wanna strangle them, you know? You just don’t believe them. We wanted to make sure that Joy had a depth and a complexity to things.
Once we cast Amy Poehler, that really added a whole other level to things. And I think she was able to find humor in her overachieving perfection, which is similar what she does with her character on Parks and Rec, where she’s so good and so prepared, has a whole stack of papers, instead of just the one that would’ve been necessary. The whole cast, every character has really come to life, thanks in part to of course to the voice talent but also the animation staff here, which is just amazing.
On how much leeway the actors have with the scripts
Pete: This was really an ensemble comedy. So we had a good sense of where the thing was going. But what we did with Bill Hader and Amy and well all the actors, we would go sit with them. And Amy we sat for a day and just rewrote and wrote out some things. And so she really contributed firsthand to the writing on her character’s parts. And then usually what we do is we’ll sit down, record what’s written, and then they’ll ad lib for a little while. Mindy was great that way.
Jonas: They’re so fast, and such good improv artists that we would take advantage of it. Make sure we got what we needed, but then just let them go. And a lot of that’s in the movie; they’re really small things, little reactions, little things how they’d play off of each other that we hope makes the movie feel conversational and real, so that it really feels believable. It was a lot of fun to work with them.
Pete: The drive of the story is sort of hinted at the beginning, is Joy and Sadness and those two characters. Especially Joy starting to understand that there’s more to life than being happy. And so that’s based on real life observations and things that we’ve learned as adults.
Jonas: That’s really the thrust of it. It’s something we’re really proud of, and we hope everyone will think it’s really funny. UP , we’re really proud of that film. That was sort of an observation and a love letter to our grandparents, and this idea of growing old, and the fact that there’s nothing you can do about that and all that with Carl. This is the echo of that about our kids and growing up, which is just a lot of fun, and it means something to us. So it’s very personal, and we’re very proud of it, and we’re really glad you guys are here.
Here’s the brand new Pixar Inside Out trailer for you! Pixar Inside Out is in theatres June 19.
Pixar Inside Out Trailer
Meet the #InsideOut Voice Cast
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INSIDE OUT opens in theatres everywhere on June 19th!
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