Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Angela Bassett and Phylicia Rashad pour out their Souls for Disney-Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Thursday 24 December, 2020

What are your plans for the holidays? One of Pixar’s most anticipated animations of the year, “Soul,” the all-new original feature from Pixar Animation Studios, will debut exclusively on Disney+ on December 25, 2020. It will be on Disney+ just in time for Christmas Day and I am excited to share some soul searching convos with the cast of the film!

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About Disney & Pixar’s “Soul”

What is it that makes you…YOU? Pixar Animation Studios’ “Soul” introduces Joe Gardner (voice of Jamie Foxx) – a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22 (voice of Tina Fey), who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions. “Soul” is Directed by Academy Award® winner Pete Docter (“Inside Out,” “Up”), co-directed by Kemp Powers (“One Night in Miami”) and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray, p.g.a. (Pixar short “Lou”).

Soul” comes from visionary filmmaker Pete Docter, the Academy Award®-winning director behind “Inside Out” and “Up,” and co-director/writer Kemp Powers, playwright and screenwriter of “One Night in Miami.” It stars the voice talents of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Ahmir Questlove Thompson, Angela Bassett and Daveed Diggs and features original jazz music by globally renowned musician Jon Batiste and a score composed by Oscar® winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“The Social Network”)

 VIRTUAL PRESS JUNKET W/CAST OF PIXAR’S SOUL

Idea of both a jazz musician and having it centered on an African-American protagonist for SOUL.

Pete Docter (Director/Story & Screenplay by)

PETE: At the very beginning, it was-it was very personal.  This was a story I was trying to, for myself, figure this out. What are we going through? What’s the world about? What-what am I supposed to be doing with my life? I want [ed] to, kind of, take people on this sort of artist journey of finding a character that we could root for, that we’re find-we find compelling and interesting. We played around, for a little while an actor or a-a scientist. But as soon as we found a jazz musician, that felt very selfless. It felt like someone who loves.

You don’t go into jazz to get rich and famous, you know? You do it, because you love it. You have a passion for it. And it’s fascinating to watch. When you see somebody play, they’re just amazing. It’s like a magic trick. So as soon as we hit on that, one of our consultants called the jazz black improvisational music. And we realized, oh, we have to make this character black. He has to be from that culture that brought us this great American art form.

Finding her creative spark?

Tina Fey (voice of “22”)

TINA: I think, um, a-a story that comes to mind, when I was in college, I studied drama. University of Virginia. And I-like everybody, I think I mostly wanted to be an actor. But then the first time I took a playwriting class, and I wrote a one-act play, and I was not in the play. That was the first time I ever sat back and watched other people get laughs and stuff from something that I wrote. And it was such a unique thrill that I-it-something opened in my brain, of like, “Oh, I think this is-this is it for me.”

Giving advice on what true support looks like. 

Phylicia Rashad (voice of “Libba Gardner”)

PHYLICIA: Well, you know, just because you push somebody to follow their dreams, that doesn’t mean you’re not giving a gut check. Sometimes that’s a gut check too. Because
people have dreams and aspirations that they might be a little leery about, simply because they’re not accustomed to following their inner inspiration. Listening to themselves for real. And sometimes, that’s a real gut check, to tell somebody to follow that dream. To tell them to dare to be bold enough to believe in it.

On being apart of the very few voices of animated films featuring black women.

Angela Bassett (voice of “Dorothea Williams”)

ANGELA: I’ve been fortunate enough to portray maybe, you know, a hand-a handful of them. It means a great deal, the more and more that we get these-these stories and these images and opportunities out there. You know, we think of animation usually for-for the youngsters. But it’s also, you know, families are taking. So, if we get to see, you know, just start early with these-these images and this idea that um, you know, that it’s a vast and diverse humanity. I think it’s a great thing.

How much of black culture is in the film

Kemp Powers (Co-Director/Story & Screenplay by)

You know that I’m gonna be pushing for a lot of black stuff. Because I can’t help myself. Like I think our culture is amazing and a lot of people, particularly in Hollywood, will tell you that in order to appeal to a wide audience, you want to get away from that. And I feel the opposite. I feel, like, there is universality by going for hyper specificity. My number one defense is, do you not enjoy Sopranos and The Godfather if you’re not Italian? That sounds absurd, right?

I feel like it’s-this was a wonderful opportunity to both do something that my family, that my kids and my mom and all my relatives could be proud be but something that everyone could enjoy and just show how the black-American experience and our humanity is as universal as anyone else’s experience.

On how Jamie’s youngest daughter thinks he really made it now that he is a Pixar star!

Jamie Foxx (voice of “Joe Gardner”)

When it comes to animation I’ve done animations. But my daughter, my youngest, was like “yeah, dad, you’ve done animation but not the good kind”. I said, “what you mean?”

[daughter]You’re Pixar now. You made it.

So, my daughter 11 years old and she be looking at me like, “oh, when it is go-when it is gonna take off for you?” I know my grandmother, who is looking down, would be proud that we are doing
something like this.

Joe discovers the little things he took for granted through 22 discoveries. Can Jamie relate to that, especially what we’ve experience in 2020?

JAMIE: Yeah, I can. You know 2020 has been bittersweet for me. I’m living now in a situation where my family has been affected, you know, by someone welove very dearly, my-my-my sister, who has transitioned. The one thing about my sister though, she always lived every moment, every single moment to the tilt. She had down-syndrome and she loved music. She came to live with me 18 years ago when she got out of high school.

I did a video called Blame it on the Alcohol. That video had Ron Howard and Samuel Jackson and Jake Gyllenhaal and Quincy Jones and everybody. But my sister was like, big bro, don’t forget me ’cause I want to do my dance solo. I said, all right, I got you. And I looked down. And she had a little purse and there was hair hanging out the purse. I said, what’s the hair?
[Sister] Oh, that’s my ponytail. Well, you know, I’m gonna put that in when it’s time to do my thing. And she did her thing. And she set the world on fire. The down syndrome community saw her.

She became the ambassador for down syndrome. She was the ambassador for 11 years.  So, when you talk about the little things, she always reminded me. She was always so excited. So when you look at this film it is exactly what I am now going through, the bittersweet of losing someone but gaining a sort of vision of joy of all the things that she taught us while she was living. Its in a beautiful strange way, it’s exemplified here in this-in this film.

What the meaning of Soul to you?

JAMIE: I have a phrase that I use. You know the world has been here mill-billions-however many billions-millions of years. So, 70, 80, 100years is what? It’s a blink of an eye. So, I say to everybody, don’t waste your blink. Live your life.

This is a cute film. I love the soulful chat we had with the cast and now get ready to watch this film from home! I highly suggest you make it a pizza night and make this a holiday family movie night to remember!

SOUL is streaming exclusively on Disney Plus starting December 25th #PixarSoul

About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty


Kiwi is the free spirited blogger and content creator of KiwiTheBeauty.com. As a digital influencer, she produces creative inspiration around beauty, lifestyle, media and travel leisure. Her life mantra is to make manifesting fun! When she’s not blogging, she is eating trendy hipster food, carrying crystals, making it rain at her local farmer's market and binge brunching. Follow her on her blog and social media at kiwithebeauty.com + @kiwithebeauty

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