INSIDE OUT – Getting Inside the Heads of a Movie’s Creators

It’s been almost twenty years since Pixar Animation Studios came out with their first animated feature film, TOY STORY.  Since then they have been a consistently reliable leader in the entertainment industry.  On June 19, 2015 their newest animated film, INSIDE OUT, will begin its theatrical run across the country.  The movie will bring audiences inside the head of an 11-year-old girl and introduce them to five of her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness.  Continue reading for the cast and crew’s insights on the world inside your head, and click here for more news, images, and trailers for Disney•Pixar’s INSIDE OUT.

INSIDE OUT

Disney•Pixar’s “Inside Out” takes moviegoers inside the mind of 11-year-old Riley, introducing five emotions: Fear, Sadness, Joy, Disgust and Anger. In theaters June 19, 2015. ©2013 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Earlier this month, Pixar invited the press to a special Q&A to introduce everyone to their newest release.  Members of the cast and crew openly answered questions and talked about their experiences working on the project.  First, we were introduced to the film’s producer, Jonas Rivera, and director, Pete Docter.  Afterwards, members of the cast were also brought out.  They included Amy Poehler (Joy), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), Bill Hader (Fear), Lewis Black (Anger) and Mindy Kaling (Disgust).

Beverly Hills, CA - June 7 - INSIDE OUT Press Conference  with director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera moderated by Scott Mantz.

Beverly Hills, CA – June 7 – INSIDE OUT Press Conference with director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera moderated by Scott Mantz.

Beverly Hills, CA - June 7 - INSIDE OUT Press Conference  with Mindy Kaling, Lewis Black, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Phyllis Smith moderated by Scott Mantz.

Beverly Hills, CA – June 7 – INSIDE OUT Press Conference with Mindy Kaling, Lewis Black, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Phyllis Smith moderated by Scott Mantz.

 

Director Pete Docter started off by discussing how his daughter inspired the story’s premise. “I noticed my daughter growing up, being a little less goofy and wacky… and a little more shy and quiet because she had turned 11.  And at the same time, I was looking at different ideas for a film and thought about emotions as characters.” He then went on to describe how he pitched the idea to some of the creative minds at Pixar by saying, “The basic pitch that I gave to Jonas (Rivera) at first, and then ultimately John (Lasseter) was, ‘What if we have an 11-year-old girl who’s moved across the country, but she’s actually not the main character, she’s the setting, because inside her head are her emotions that help her deal with everyday life?’”

INSIDE OUT

WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? Pixar Animation Studios takes audiences inside the mind of 11-year-old Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Riley struggles to adjust, and when Fear, Disgust and Anger are left in control, even a simple family dinner takes an unexpected turn. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

 

Since the film spends so much time relating to the characters that represent the emotions inside a little girl’s head, the conversation eventually began to focus on this theme.  Starting with the choice of how many emotions to actually include,  Docter commented, “There is no consensus among scientists about how many emotions there actually are.  Some say 3; some say 27; most are somewhere in the middle… We arrived at five mainly because it’s a nice odd number.  It felt like a good crowd, enough contrast and conflict between them, but not so big that you’re like, ‘Wait, who’s that again?’  Then when talking about choosing the particular emotions to represent he added, “We ended up at these five largely because of the work of Dr. Paul Ekman, who was one of the consultants on the show.  He had originally, back in the ’70s, posited six.  It was our five, plus “surprise.”   We felt surprise, as a cartoon, is probably fairly similar to fear.  So we jettisoned that one, and that’s how we ended up with five.”

Pictured (L-R): Sadness, Fear, Anger, Disgust, Joy. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Pictured (L-R): Sadness, Fear, Anger, Disgust, Joy. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

 

Next came the choice of casting.  When asked about this, Docter commented, “…as I was pitching the concept, I would say, ‘Imagine the fun we’re going to have when it comes to casting.  We could get people like Lewis Black as Anger,’ and people would go, ‘Oh, yeah, I get that.’”

Actually, the most interesting casting story would have to be the one involving Bill Hader.  Producer Jonas Rivera told it this way, “I was just a fan of Bill Hader since Saturday Night Live and it turned out Bill was a fan of Pixar…  He shows up one day at Pixar and our casting director says, ‘Bill Hader’s in the atrium.  Does anyone want to go have coffee with him?’  I go, ‘What?’  So we go down and there’s Bill Hader drinking coffee by himself.  He had, on his own dime, flown up, just because he loves animation… and we just fell in love with him.”

While talking about the casting of Joy, Docter said, “Joy was the last one to be cast and it was the most difficult of any of the characters to write for, because she had a tendency of being really annoying.  If you write someone who is always chipper and upbeat and, ‘Come on, guys, we can do this,’ it just kind of got like, oh, you want to sock that person… Amy (Poehler) was able to put that in some way that made it entertaining.  It was not insufferable.  You root for her.”  Poehler reiterated, “my fear was that Joy would get annoying…  That’s okay…  we talked a lot about that and pitched jokes, ways to walk that line…  so she wasn’t driving you crazy.

INSIDE OUT – Joy and Sadness navigate through Imagination Land. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

INSIDE OUT – Joy and Sadness navigate through Imagination Land. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

 

The cast seemed to have a real respect for each other.  Hader, Phyllis Smith and Poehler even made a point to talk about the voice-over work of Richard Kind (Bing Bong). Poehler went as far as to say his performance was both “Amazing and Heartbreaking.”  Hader said that Kind had some of his favorite moments in the film, calling the performance, “Unreal.”

Beverly Hills, CA - June 7 - INSIDE OUT Press Conference  with Mindy Kaling, Lewis Black, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Phyllis Smith moderated by Scott Mantz.

Beverly Hills, CA – June 7 – INSIDE OUT Press Conference with Mindy Kaling, Lewis Black, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Phyllis Smith moderated by Scott Mantz.

 

Poehler also showed some real respect for Pixar as a company.  “Pixar doesn’t patronize their young audience and they don’t underestimate the intelligence of their audience…  They keep raising the bar and also they assume that you and your big brain are going to show up with your big heart.  They assume you’re going to take all those things with you when you go see their movies and you’re so rewarded when you do.”  She also made what may have been my favorite statement of the day when she talked about working with Pixar by saying, “…with the exception of a few eccentric geniuses, I feel like the most talented people are good collaborators, because they are not threatened by other people’s good ideas… It was awesome.”

"LAVA" Pictured: Uku. Inspired by the isolated beauty of tropical islands and the explosive allure of ocean volcanoes, “LAVA” is a musical love story that takes place over millions of years. From Pixar Animation Studios, director James Ford Murphy and producer Andrea Warren, “LAVA” opens in theaters on June 19, 2015, in front of “Inside Out.” ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

“LAVA” Pictured: Uku. Inspired by the isolated beauty of tropical islands and the explosive allure of ocean volcanoes, “LAVA” is a musical love story that takes place over millions of years. From Pixar Animation Studios, director James Ford Murphy and producer Andrea Warren, “LAVA” opens in theaters on June 19, 2015, in front of “Inside Out.” ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

 

A small side note:  As with all Pixar animated features, there is a short film that accompanies INSIDE OUT.  On the front end of the film is a musical story about a lonely volcano that sings out a song of love in hopes that someday he will find it.  The short is named LAVA and director James Ford Murphy was on hand to speak on its behalf.   Murphy spoke about how he came up with the idea-  “I’ll never forget the first time I heard Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version of SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW…  it absolutely stunned me and I never forgot it.  And I thought, what if I could write a song that makes me feel the way that song does and feature it in a Pixar short film?  So that’s what I set out to do.”

INSIDE OUT and the short film LAVA will arrive in movie theaters nationwide on June 19, 2015.  For more family movie news, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Mark Oguschewitz

Mark Oguschewitz moved to Los Angeles, California after graduating with a film degree from Columbia College in Chicago, Ill. Pursuing a career in the industry, Mark became an award winning freelance editor. He is also known for being the creative consultant for the podcast "Skywalking through Neverland" and co-host of the Podcast "Talking Apes TV." Mark's short film "Gourmet" took the Best Micro-Short honor at the International Horror and Sci-Fi film festival in 2007. His spare time is all about movies. It's not just entertainment, but has become more of a real passion, as he tries to see everything he can. Art house or Blockbuster – It doesn't matter, he loves them all.