Filmmakers Explain Inspiration Behind Pixar’s Newest Film ‘Soul’

in Disney, Movies, Pixar

22 and Joe Gardner in Pixar's Soul

Credit: Pixar

Although Pixar’s new animated original Soul was pushed to debut on Disney+ instead of in theaters, there is still quite the buzz surrounding this film!

Joe Gardner Pixar's Soul

From Director Pete Docter and Co-director and writer Kemp Powers comes a unique tale that poses life’s ultimate questions of existence. So, what exactly provoked the film’s creators to tackle one of life’s biggest questions in animated form for viewers all over the world? At ITM we got to hear exclusively from the filmmakers about the inspiration behind Pixar’s Soul.

Docter posed this question to himself and his own life. He had this to say:

I basically feel like, you know, making animated films is what I was born to do, and yet there are [MAKES NOISE] some days, uh, where I find myself wondering,
“Really? Cartoons? You know? Is this really what I’m supposed to be doing with my limited time on Earth?”
In fact, you know, in darker days, [LAUGH] e-around now, I wonder sometimes is there any point to it? If I had a choice, would I decide to be born and come live? And so really, it’s that thought, that struggle, uh, that became our-the s-the core of our film.
From there, the wheels began turning and soon led to the question of what would a soul even really look like, or how would you then explain existence to said soul? However, after research of different beliefs and religions, creators still needed to animate something unique to their story.
Producer Dana Murray explained how her team found a substance called aerogel which happens to be the lightest solid material on Earth and is used by the aerospace industry. They then brought the idea and knowledge of this substance to different Pixar animators and some great ideas were formed.

Pixar's Soul on Disney+ December 25th

After months and months of developing what would eventually turn into the soul named 22 (voiced by Tina Fey), they needed an opposite force to show 22 just what it means to be alive. In developing Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), the creators needed to show something he was passionate about and how he could convey that passion to 22. After listening to a Master Class from jazz legend Herbie Hancock, that laid out the groundwork for Joe being a jazz musician and the fact that music would play a huge role in this film.
As for the look and feel of what middle school jazz teacher Joe Gardner would look like, Kemp Powers was the man for the job. It turns out that Joe and Kemp have a lot in common. Here’s what Powers had to say about developing this character:
I very quickly realized that in [LAUGH] many ways Joe really was just like me, so then I could use my own experiences to inform writing this character. Just how much was he like me? [LAUGH]
Well, how old is Joe? He’s 45 years old. Coincidentally, I’m also in my mid 40’s. Joe lives in New York, which is, um, my hometown, and-although Joe is from Queens, and I’m from Brooklyn, and everyone knows that Brooklyn is better. Um, [LAUGH] Joe is a musician, and coincidentally, I used to be a music critic, I’m a musician myself, and my son is even named after the jazz great, Charles Mingus.
The work in development of how this film looks is incredible so far from what we have seen. And we can’t wait to see all of what Pixar’s Soul has to offer!
Will you be watching Soul when it comes to Disney+ on December 25th? Let us know in the comments!

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