A few months ago, I had the incredible pleasure to take a quick trip to San Francisco to screen Strange Magic and interview George Lucas at his famous Skywalker Ranch. As part of that trip, we also spent an evening at Pixar Studios to learn more about the new upcoming Disney-Pixar feature, Inside Out, and animated short, LAVA. Talk about an incredible place to work! Before we dive into the films, let’s take a little tour… Immediately upon entering the grounds, you’ll spot the famous Pixar lamp! Naturally, we all had to stop for pictures there! Then, just across from the lamp is the Steve Jobs building where the magic happens! And, what a cool building to work in!!! It’s open & bright, with all kinds of fun Disney-Pixar characters & memorabilia. I LOVED the giant artwork on the walls from many of the Pixar animated short films. And, all the characters we spotted were just so fun! The whole place just exudes creativity. It must be SUCH a fun place to work! My absolute favorite artwork in the whole building (of the parts we got to see) was actually inside the cafeteria. It’s from Toy Story and is just perfection. It reminds me of my boys! Right inside the lobby, they have quite an impressive trophy case (and rightly so)! I LOVED seeing all the Oscars. So.MANY.Statues!!! And, after getting about a 20 minute sneak peek of Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out and sitting down with the film’s director & producer duo (Pete Docter & Jonas Rivera), I am completely confident that they will be adding to the trophy case after the Academy Awards next year!! From the bit I got to see, it is SOOoooo good!!! SO good! In fact, I was a little teary-eyed just in the first few minutes (sort of like in UP)!Here’s the basic premise and all-new trailer:
Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.
Here are a few interesting tidbits we learned about the movie during our interview with Pete Docter & Jonas Rivera:
- They’ve been working on the movie for 5 years!
- Pete Docter’s daughter is actually the inspiration for Riley. She was 9 during Up (and the voice of young Ellie in that movie) and things changed with her around age 11 or 12 (as with most kids at that age). Pete said, “it’s 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– trying to figure out what’s going on inside her head, you know?”
- For the film, they did a lot of talking with psychologists and neurologists to really dive deep into how and why we think and feel. According to Pete, “a lot of that research has shown up in the film, and then of course we made some stuff up too, ‘cause it’s supposed to be fun to watch.” 😉
- Of the characters, they actually said Anger was the easiest to bring to life and Joy was the hardest!
As a parent and someone with a degree in pyschology, I am SO stinkin’ excited for this movie! I can hardly wait for June 19th (when it hits theaters). In June, when you go see Inside Out, you’ll also be treated to a breathtaking new animated short, LAVA!
We had the pleasure to see the whole short and I loved it!!!! It’s absolutely beautiful! And, we got to talk to director James Ford Murphy about his film while we were there! Here are some fun tidbits of info:
- The director has a real love for Hawaii, volcanoes, and particularly Hawaiian music. “So then when it cametime for me to come up with an idea for a Short Film I thought, well I have this love of Volcanoes and this love of Hawaii and Hawaiian Music, what if I could write a song that makes me feel the way that that song [the Hawaiian rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow] did when I first heard it and feature it in a Pixar Short.”
- Murphy actually developed the idea, the story, the short film pitch, AND the original song for LAVA! And, it’s SUCH a beautiful song! In fact, he played a little of it for us on his ukelele.
“A long, long time ago, there was a Volcano living all alone, I never did see. He sat high above his bay watching all the couples play and wishing that he had someone too. And from his lava came this song of hope that he sang out loud every day for years and years. I have a dream I hope will come true that you’re here with me and I’m here with you. I hope that the Earth, Sea, and Sky up above will send me someone to love.”
- They traveled to the Noku Hana Awards in Honolulu (the Grammy Awards of Hawaiian Music) to find the perfect Hawaiian singers for the characters.
- Kwana Torres Kahele and Napur Grey are the singers in the Short – and it turns out that they actually grew up together and were in Hula School together as kids.
Both LAVA & Inside Out will be in theaters on June 19th! Perfect for a summer family outing!
Disclosure: Disney hosted me in San Francisco in order to attend the Strange Magic screening and participate in group interviews & media events. As always, all opinions, experiences, and love of Disney & Pixar are entirely my own!