Find out which emotions didn’t make the cut for Pixar’s Inside Out!
Despite it’s smashing success in the box office, Inside Out wasn’t always looking as joyful as it turned out to be. In 2013, Oscar winning animator Pete Docter was having doubts about the film. The storyboard for Inside Out was almost complete, but Docter was certain something wasn’t working. If only he could figure out what.
Every film goes through problems during it’s production, but the script for Inside Out seemed to have more problems than most, and in 2013, the storyline for the film was very different than what eventually made it to the big screen. In this draft of the film, Fear played a much larger part.
Docter had started working on Inside Out in 2010, right after winning an Oscar for Up. At this time, his own daughter had turned 11 and was “heading into that tough time of growing up,” much like Riley in the film. “I wanted to make sure the story was something that moves people and reflects back on your life,” Docter says. “For the kids, we tried to layer in slapstick and physicality, but it had a complex concept: explaining how the mind works.”
In the early stages of the screenplay by Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley, there were far more emotions pulling at Riley than the ones that ended up in the film, being Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Anger (Lewis Black). At different points in the development of the script Hope, Envy, Ennui and even Schadenfreude were all a part of Riley’s emotions. Although, at that point they didn’t have the character Disgust, and for awhile, the fifth emotion was Pride. At one point, the writers even toyed with the idea of having 27 different emotions that all had different names: Sadness was Misty, Anger was Ira and Fear was Freddie.
Another key element of the film that wasn’t in the original drafts was Riley’s family’s move from Minnesota to San Francisco which sends the emotions into their crisis that drives them out of childhood. Instead of this, the main conflict in the film was focused on Joy not letting Riley grow up, which took the story in a very different direction.
“The essence of the problem was, Joy wasn’t likeable,” says editor Kevin Nolting. “She was putting Riley in embarrassing situations; Riley was in middle school, but Joy was making her act like a child. As an audience member, you weren’t rooting for Joy.”
There were also many more elements to the the brain the eventually had to be cut. Along with ‘Abstract Thought’ and the ‘Personality Islands’ that were in the film, there was also ‘Music’, where the emotions spoke with the trumpet and violin, their words becoming musical tones and forming shapes. Unfortunately, this was seen as too similar to ‘Abstract Thought’ which is why it was eventually cut.
However, the biggest change to the script was the role of Hader’s Fear. Initially, Joy had teamed up with Fear – not Sadness – to go through the wonders of Riley’s mind, working their way back to the central control. The problem Docter faced in 2013 was that he didn’t know what Joy would be able to learn from Fear, and how he would help her to grow. But then he had the idea that shaped the film into what it is today: to have Joy travel with Sadness instead.
“It hit me that the friends that I’m closest to are the people I’ve not only shared good times with but also sad times,” he says. “There’s a real purpose for sadness — we’re not meant to be happy all the time.” And then he was rewriting the entire film, giving Sadness a much bigger role. “We had to go back, strip all of this work and redo it, with Sadness teaching Joy a lesson,” says Docter.
And from then on, the film took it’s course, quickly becoming one of the most talked about movies of the year. It has been named the best animated feature by the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle, and is sure to have at least one Oscar nomination.
Despite the film not having all the emotions it could of, we’re glad it had the ones it did, as those characters made Inside Out completely unforgettable.