In ‘Soul’ on Disney+, Pixar Has Its First Black Lead Character
He recalled worrying about how the Asian-American scout Russell’s design would be perceived when creating Up. Docter said his colleague Pixar director Peter Sohn, a Korean-American artist, advised him, “Korean eyes are shaped differently than Caucasian eyes. Look at me and draw what you see: The truth is not racist. ‘”
Powers agreed that there is an important difference between leaning into these features and being proud of them and making fun of those features. Pixar, he said, was aware of the sad images from the animation story. When designing engaging but stylized characters, the artists were careful not to offend them. At the same time, we didn’t want these to be white characters that happened to have brown skin. We had to give them a clean look so they weren’t just boring, monotonous characters. “
To create these looks, Pixar artists and technicians had to capture the textures of the black hair and the way light plays on different shades of black. Murray said they brought in cinematographer Bradford Young, whose work “Solo: A Star Wars Story” included.
Finding the voice that suits an animated character is just as difficult as finding the best actor for a live action role. “You have a voice in your head that you can write to,” explained Jones. “We needed Joe to be ambitious, to play music at its best, but we also needed Joe to be excited about teaching his students what he loves – jazz – all of which Jamie made available.”
Although Foxx has already voiced animated characters, he still had to adjust his performance. “When I got to the recording booth, I delivered the lines with all kinds of facial expressions and gestures,” said Foxx. “They said,” Uh, Jamie, let’s try again and remember … we can’t see you. “
During the film, Joe argues and connects with a recalcitrant soul named 22 who refuses to enter a human body. At the age of 22 Tina Fey found the purely vocal performance liberating. although she has also done other voice overs: “I could let go of any worry about how I looked. Even as a comedy person, you always think a little about finding your light and standing up straight. It’s so liberating not to have to do that. “(Joe and 22’s relationship is getting more and more complicated, but neither actor wanted to say anything that could spoil the twists and turns of the plot.)
When Powers considered creating Soul, he said, “When someone told me I was Pixar’s first black director, I said it couldn’t be right. Pete said – and I hope it is – this is an indicator of change that is going to happen pretty quickly. “There are more color animators and women in business than there were 15 or 20 years ago, he noted. “It’s sad that it took so long, but I’m glad it’s finally coming.”