One of the most exciting parts of attending a press conference for a film is being able to chat with the cast and creative team responsible for a film and learning about the behind-the-scenes. I love learning what makes people tick and what inspires certain aspects of the filmmaking and acting processes.
To celebrate the June 18th release of Pixar Luca on Disney+, 7 of the cast and creators attended a global press conference where they talked all about the behind-the-scenes, the inspiration behind the movie and characters, and lots of Luca fun facts! Participating talent included:
- Jacob Tremblay (voice of “Luca”)
- Jack Dylan Grazer (voice of “Alberto”)
- Maya Rudolph (voice of “Daniela,” Luca’s mother)
- Jim Gaffigan (voice of “Lorenzo,” Luca’s father)
- Emma Berman (voice of “Giulia”)
- Enrico Casarosa (Director)
- Andrea Warren (Producer)
When I understand what goes into the making of a film or better understand what the inspiration for a film is, I feel I always appreciate a film more. Here are some fun facts about the making of Pixar Luca from the cast and creators of the film. Read our Pixar Luca Review if you haven't yet.
Fun Facts About Pixar Luca from the Cast & Creative Team
The story of Luca originates from director Enrico Casarosa's childhood
Casarosa was born in Genoa, a poor town right on the Italian Riviera. He was a sky kid and by his own account, a bit sheltered by his family.
“When I met my best friend at 11, kind of my world opened up. He was a bit of a troublemaker; he didn't have a whole lot of supervision,” Casarosa said. “In those special kinds of summers when you're growing up and kind of finding yourself, I was kind of following him and getting dragged into troubles.”
Alberto was inspired by Casarosa's best friend that he met the summer he was 11 years old. Casarosa discussed how friendships help us find a bit of who we want to be, and how those days of summer on that wonderful rocky coastline created a metaphor for life.
“Most towns are really hanging on for dear life—on rocks and lots of cliffs. I kept on thinking about the literal and metaphor of someone who pushes you off a cliff. There was a lot of diving into these beautiful waters when I was a kid.”
Producer Andrea Warren discussed how we all have inner critics that we need to overcome and overcome that sense of doubt. “Enrico and I keep saying, ‘You surround yourself in life with some Albertos',” Warren said.
She hopes some of the messages in the movie, like this one about eliminating self-doubt, reach the audience especially kids.
Jack Dylan Grazer elaborated a little more on Silenzio Bruno. “I think it's one of the most crucial things you could ever learn in your life. It's just the elimination of doubt. I got rid of my Bruno eons ago. I haven't had a Bruno for years,” Grazer said.
Essentially Silenzio Bruno is that little voice in your head nagging you. You have an idea to do something…it could go well or it could go horribly wrong. Grazer explained, “I choose not to think long enough about the thing to think about how terrible it could be. And it might end up being a terrible decision, but I'm hoping for wonderful.” Silencio Bruno is the act of pushing the negativity out and focusing on the positive.
From LeapFrog to Mermaid
Giulia is Emma Berman's first movie role; she got her start in voiceover work voicing toys for LeapFrog. Being in a Pixar movie is the most exciting thing ever and she's the luckiest person in the world to have worked on this role and with Enrico and Andrea.
Playing Giulia is contagious. She's such a strong, bold character. “She's determined, and she's hardworking and genuine, and intense. But she's also awkward, and quirky, and goofy,” Berman said. “I had a really fun time playing her because I relate to her in a lot of ways. That we're both passionate about what we do, and we're also very, like, excited and joyful people.”
Strong Loving Mom = Fierce Protection
Luca's mom, Daniela isn't messing around; she's a serious mom when it comes to Luca's safety. “That protection, that strong discipline is love,” said Maya Rudolph.
It's clear from what we see at the beginning of the movie that Luca's family is expected to do things a certain way and she wants to raise her son in a way that he believes is restrictive, but as the audience, we learn is for his own good—she is protecting him from what she already knows to be dangerous in the world.
Like any loving parent, she's a fierce protector. “Some might say it's tough love, but I think she gets all the passes. Because you know she loves her son. There's no question,” Rudolph said. “It's the scariest thing in the world to let your babies run out in the world and explore. And even though you know they need to, it's terrifying. I think all parents go through that at some point.”
Being a Parent of 5 Helped Jim Gaffigan in his Approach to his Character Lorenzo
Lorenzo is well-intended but distracted. In most parenting partnerships, it's a negotiation on how to raise a child. I'm kind of overwhelmed—hopefully—well-intended as a parent. And so, I kinda brought that in and, I think Lorenzo might be distracted, but he's not disinterested.
“The fun of Lorenzo is navigating the partnership with his wife in raising Luca and him finding the right path,” Gaffigan said.
Parents Being a Part of Pixar is High Praise
Gaffigan said the fact that he's in a Pixar movie is the only thing his kids have ever been impressed by.
Rudolph said her kids are very excited by Pixar, but her oldest, “lost her mind. ‘Cause I think if she had a child she'd name it Pixar. It's like Jim said, maybe the coolest thing I could ever do. And we actually did all watch it together, and they have not stopped saying Silenzio Bruno. My kids, they're bussin'.”
Recording Voices from Home
The entire voice cast recorded at home except for one person; Jacob Tremblay was fortunate enough to record from a studio in Vancouver. The Pixar team sent out iPads and microphones and they tested spaces in their homes that would create the least muffling.
Warren recounted a funny story of Grazer recording in his mom's closet, arms hitting the hangers, and trying to press the right buttons at the right time.
“It's tricky to be acting and be your own tech and all of us trying to sort it out. And even Zoom is tricky 'cause sometimes it cuts out and somebody's just performed something, and you're like, ‘Well I bet it's good. I don't know,” Warren said. “So you're trying to respond and, it was definitely tricky.”
“Being in my mom's closet for a year, totally, it was definitely a stretch for me, a challenge for me as an actor, and as just a human being. It got hot in there. And I bet my neighbors were really freaked out about the amount of screaming that was going on from my house,” Grazer said. “I don't know what they were thinking. I was screaming like, ‘Help!' and all that crazy stuff. But it was definitely a testament. And it got hot. It was a hot COVID summer.”
Summer Friendships Remind Us of Luca
Everyone has memories of their summers, often because they are unique or fun in some way. Rudolph recounted her summers with friends: swimsuits, salt water in their hair, ice cream cones, summer camp.
“Those friendships that you make, that's the familiarity of this movie that feels so sweet and instantly connective,” Rudolph said. “The friends that I made at camp—we don't live in the same city. We don't see each other during the year. And then you have those people that you just hook into and you fall in love in the most lovely, possible way…it's just kinda like your summertime romance.”
“As adults, we have such an expectation surrounding enjoying summer. I think some of that's established as kids, having this idealized summer,” Gaffigan said. “This movie captures that romantic notion of summer being about freedom. As adults, we kind of chase it in these 2-week windows of vacation or a long weekend. I thought that was really moving how it kind of stirred up that memory and how being a kid was really fun.”
Lollipops and Bluefins Tuna
Casarosa talked a bit about the design of the characters, how shape language helped to inform their design, and how they vary despite still being sea creatures.
Luca has a sense of curiosity and wants to take in the world. Casarosa said he stole the design concept for Luca from himself because there was a kid he had created in the short La Luna, who similarly wanted to take the world in. So Luca is actually the basic shape of a lollipop—head and big eyes—something that, already in his pencil, and he reused it.
Alberto as a sea monster, looks more like a fast swimmer, with sharper lines, and his tail is inspired by a bluefin tuna He's a bit more fierce and a little bit sharper. Luca was a little more innocent and has a slightly more rounded shape.
“I love watercolors,” Casarosa said. “I wanted to bring some of that feeling of a sketch or something expressionistic to this world.”
About Disney and Pixar’s LUCA
Disney and Pixar’s original feature film Luca is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta, and endless scooter rides. Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from another world just below the water’s surface. The voice cast features Jacob Tremblay as Luca Paguro, Jack Dylan Grazer as Alberto Scorfano, Emma Berman as Giulia Marcovaldo, Saverio Raimondo as town bully Ercole Visconti, Maya Rudolph as Luca’s mom Daniela, Marco Barricelli as Giulia’s dad Massimo, Jim Gaffigan as Luca’s dad Lorenzo, Sandy Martin as Luca’s grandma, and Giacomo Gianniotti as a local fisherman. Pixar Animation Studios’ 24th feature film is directed by Academy Award® nominee Enrico Casarosa (La Luna) and produced by Andrea Warren (Lava, Cars 3). Award-winning composer Dan Romer (Beasts of the Southern Wild, Maniac) created the score.