It goes without saying that 2020 has been a questionable year for living.
We’ve experienced tragedy and loss to varying degrees, and now have to live with the new resulting realities. COVID-19, injustices against Black people, notable people dying, and a tumultuous presidential election certainly weren’t things that Pixar’s chief creative officer and veteran director/writer Pete Docter was thinking about when he was dreaming up his next film.
“I had a moment shortly after finishing Monsters Inc. wondering if making animated movies was what I really wanted to do,” siad Docter.
That exploration of an existential question of what in life is worth it all living was the beginnings of Soul.
As one could imagine, trying to explain the meanings of life was quite the challenge, which ultimately led Docter into a movie that needed to have new life breathed into it. Thanks in partnership with famed writer Kemp Powers, they found the road that might lead to those larger-than-life questions in a curious place: jazz.
“One day, a friend sent me a video of Herbie Hancock describing how he plays jazz, and it just all clicked for me there,” Docter said.
In the video, Hancock said that with jazz music, you can play something that may be technically wrong, but often times you have someone to help you turn it around and make it sound better. According to him and Powers, that was often the commonality between anthropology studies and even religions.
“We’re all trying to do something that makes us feel valued and loved,” Docter said. “That’s the difficulty and yet rewarding beauty of what it’s like to have a soul.”
We’ll have much more on Pixar’s Soul in the coming weeks, so keep an eye here for more updates! The movie is due out on Christmas Day, December 25 exclusively on Disney+.