“Soul” is Disney Pixar’s new film that follows music teacher Joe Gardner. With a misstep, Joe finds his soul in a new cosmic world called “The Great Before” where souls find their purpose. Together with another soul named 22, Joe learns about life, happiness, and finding your passion.
Disney Pixar’s “Soul” premiers on Disney+ December 25th. Here is an interview to get you as excited as we are for the film!
Jacqueline Coley from Rotten Tomatoes introduces the cast and crew of “Soul” including Jamie Foxx, Tina, Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Angela Bassett, Pete Docter, Kemp Powers, and Dana Murray.
Jamie Foxx is the voice of Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher. Joe’s soul accidentally ends up outside of his body and in a strange place called The Great Before.
Tina Fey voices 22 who is a new soul with no interest in going to the human world. Through a mishap, 22 finds herself in Joe Gardner’s body and gets to see all that life has to offer.
Phylicia Rashad is the voice of Libba Gardner, Joe’s mother.
Angela Bassett voices Dorothea Williams, a popular jazz musician.
Pete Docter is the Director/Story & Screenplay
Kemp Powers is the Co-Director/Story & Screenplay
Dana Murray is the Producer
“Soul” Makes History
“Soul” premiering on Disney+ on December 25th will mark the first ever Pixar movie with an African-American protagonist. Producer, Dana Murray mentioned that while the film did not initially have an African-American protagonist it was decided after the character became a jazz musician. Murray says, “He has to be from that culture that brought us this great American art form.”
So, in order to do their new character justice, the cast and crew worked with a number of African-American musical artists including Questlove and Daveed Diggs. Co-Director Kemp Powers highlights the importance of Joe Gardner’s character saying, “The black-American experience and our humanity is as universal as anyone else’s experience.”
Angela Bassett, who voices Dorothea Williams, reflects on getting to play an animated African-American women. She says, “it means a great deal, the more and more that we get these-these stories and these images and opportunities out there.”
A Film Everyone Relates To
Since the film follows two souls as they gain an appreciation for the little things in life, it is a great lesson for children and adults alike to learn. This year especially, so many of us are living very different lives than what we are used to, so a film like “Soul” reminds us to appreciate the good things we have.
Jamie Foxx reiterates the importance of living life to the fullest, saying
“I have a phrase, uh, that I use, look I, you know, the world has been here mill-billions- however many billions-millions of years. So, 70, 80, 100 years is what? It’s a blink of an eye. So, I say to everybody, don’t waste your blink. Live your life.”
The Voice Acting
Because voice acting does not require a camera or film set, actors are able to deliver their lines one after the other. This constant performance can be exhausting, but director Pete Docter says that Jamie Foxx is, “as energetic at the end as he was at the beginning.”
Docter also praises Foxx’s performance saying,
“We had a lot of scenes where he talks about-Joe talks about the power of music and the importance of music. And I could-my hair stood on end when I hear Jamie talk about it. Because I know he feels that. He believes it so fully. And it was just so truthful and authentic.”
A Lesson For All Ages
This film covers various themes of life, happiness, and appreciating what you have. In response to a question about how the film allows people to reflect on different themes, Tina Fey chimes in. She mentions that the film is coming out in a year where many people have had to reflect on these themes as well. Happiness and success now means taking, “small joys where you can find them. And being present with the people that you love.”
And for parents interested in this film, “Soul” has the seal of approval from the mothers involved. Phylicia Rashad plays Libba Gardner, Joe’s mother, and is a mother in real life also.
Reflecting on the lessons in “Soul” Rashad says,
“life is a continuum. And I try to teach my children that. I’ve tried to teach my children that because to understand that is to embody a kind of fearlessness. And also, an acceptance.”
Disney Pixar movie are known for their quality animation and beautiful world-building and “Soul” is no exception! In order to create The Great Before, developers took inspiration from photos of the World’s Fair. Also, Pete Docter says, “We were definitely inspired by museum exhibits.”
Additionally, the characters in The Great Before are stunning as well. Known as counselors, they resemble single-line drawings and keep order in The Great Before.
Despite being a simple design, Docter says the counselors are “one of the more difficult characters, not only in the film but in our- our library of-of characters at Pixar, to make those things come to life.”
Audiences will no doubt appreciate the effort required to create such a stunningly beautiful film, from capturing the energy of New York City to creating a new cosmic world.
What You Should Know About “Soul”
“Soul” is a heartfelt film that uses stunning visuals and relatable characters to skillfully address serious topics. Parents and children of all ages will enjoy watching Joe and 22 navigate life.
If you want a safe family activity this Christmas, order some pizza, settle into the couch with your family, and watch “Soul” on Disney+.