Meet Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness in Pixar’s Inside Out
Pete Docter, award winning director of Up, returns for the new movie, Pixar’s Inside Out. Inside Out, the first Pixar movie coming out in 2015, tells the story of a young girl trying to gain control of her emotions in a new environment.
Docter was inspired by his own daughter, whose changing emotions led to the idea for the movie. The director hopes to make this film relatable to children around the world who are struggling to understand their feelings. The characters described in the film give faces to these emotions, making them easier for kids to grasp.
This movie is meant to be very different from the usual Pixar films. Inside Out features a higher level of mature, grown-up concepts as opposed to the more straightforward plots and ideas featured in most of Pixar’s movies.
Read some of the highlights from his and producer Jonas Rivera’s interview after the jump:
Q: The islands are such a huge visual metaphor, and the scene of Goofball falling into the memory dump is I think emotionally harrowing in terms of how you lose pieces of your childhood personality as you get older? Was that a giant breakthrough in terms of how everything else worked?
Docter: Well, the concept of it came from watching my own daughter and watching a lot of kids really grow and change, and you always feel bad that they would give up something that’s so connected to who they are. But, the way that that became strong – we put it across in the film, and it was kinda like, “I don’t really care.” I think it was a fairly late edition of the flash cuts that you see this island go down, and Joy, and then you just cut to, and it’s inferred that it’s her remembering these events of Riley acting goofy, so you have some meaning to this thing, as it goes down. Once we had that, suddenly it stuck in your heart a little bit more. So a lot of times, it’s almost like a technique thing. “How do I make this resonate for people, because I know what I’m going for, but it’s not working yet,” you know?
Q: What were the little tweaks that came from your personal experiences, your crew and their experiences with their kids? The imaginary boyfriend, I think is hilarious.
Docter: Yeah, that one we took some heat for early on. People were like, “Oh, that’s so stereotypical.” But I asked my daughter, “Do you imagine boyfriends?” She’s like, “Oh yeah.” Okay, so all right, we’re on. (laughter)
Rivera: I remember we got a lot of the women together on the show and just picked their brains about first day of school or a new school, so a lot of that scene was not literally written by them, but informed by “What does that feel like?”
Docter: Or like that scene where Riley’s coming out with her food and there’s nowhere to sit. I mean, I remember that, and a lot of people have had that experience, so that was something told straight out of real life.
Rivera: One of our story artists, Valerie Lun, she just did these great little watercolor – remember those little illustrations she did?
Docter: Yeah, yeah.
Rivera: Of just little things she did with her best friend, like putting on a show or where to sit at lunch and trying on mom’s lipstick, when they were maybe too young, the little tiny vignettes. They just felt really truthful and believable. They just kind of were up in the storyroom to marinate in, and I thought that was kinda really cool.
Docter: Like lava. I remember playing lava and seeing my kids play lava. There’s something fascinating about lava.
Rivera: Lava and quicksand. Quicksand was a big thing.
Docter: John Mulaney did that joke. I could’ve sworn from being a kid that we really had to deal with quicksand more.
Rivera: It was a big deal. (laughter)
Q: Going back to the imaginary boyfriend, when you just said you got heat from that, did you get heat because it’s so collaborative here? What do you mean?
Docter: Collaboration is not always like, “Yay!” Sometimes, it’s like, “Hey, you know?” And we value that feedback from people that are like, “Why is a girl’s mind so full of male characters?” Like that kind of pushback, which is valuable. You want it to be truthful.
Rivera: Yeah, some of the women on the show are like, “Really, guys?” That was a good note, and then, “Okay, this is a fun idea.” So we would bring them in. We tried to make it so that it didn’t feel like that. We kind of made them buy off on it and I don’t know if they would’ve have, and then even Amy Poehler, we kind of pitched to her.
Docter: We did. We tested on her.
Q: One of the things that’s been interesting is that Bing Bong does not exist in the marketing for this film. He’s been very carefully kept out. Obviously, that was an intentional choice. Was that because contextually, he is very different than he appears at first glance?
Docter: Yeah, well, some of it’s that, and then, a lot of it has to do with we want to measure out the surprises so we’re not like everything at once.
Rivera: We love Bing Bong and I think he’s going to be one of the great surprises. To me he’s like our Tigger, but I think out of context, when you set these guys up as emotions, everyone gets that. When you set up an imaginary friend, and I don’t know, I always see it really weird, maybe like a baby movie or something, if you just saw him…
Docter: Or will it be confusing? Is he supposed to be one of the emotions?
Rivera: But I think in the envelope of the movie, and maybe as we get closer to release, we’ll start kinda sneaking him out there, but it’s also just fun to have something to save.
Docter: Little more nuggets.
Rivera: I mean, if we were in charge of marketing, we’d show you nothing but our logo. Pixar and the smart people at Disney marketing would be like, “No, no, you gotta show more than that.”
SEE MORE: Inside Out Official First Clip
Based in Headquarters, the control center inside 11-year-old Riley’s mind, five Emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), whose mission is to make sure Riley stays happy. Fear (voice of Bill Hader) heads up safety, Anger (voice of Lewis Black) ensures all is fair and Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) prevents Riley from getting poisoned—both physically and socially. Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) isn’t exactly sure what her role is, and frankly, neither is anyone else.
When Riley’s family relocates to a scary new city, the Emotions are on the job, eager to help guide her through the difficult transition. But when Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind—taking some of her core memories with them—Fear, Anger and Disgust are left reluctantly in charge. Joy and Sadness must venture through unfamiliar places—Long Term Memory, Imagination Land, Abstract Thought and Dream Productions—in a desperate effort to get back to Headquarters, and Riley.
Inside Out opens in theaters on June 19, 2015.