I’ve always been a Pixar fan, for as long as time can remember – let’s make that 1995 and onwards – so a new film is always a treat. For me, they still intriguingly reinvent and develop the animation wheel (take a look at the depth in this trailer as an example, and see our image gallery here!), whilst endeavouring to produce stories that actually click into real life, in whatever form that takes.
Coming exclusively to Disney+ on 25th December 2020, Disney and Pixar’s Soul takes us into the world of Joe Gardner, a middle-school band teacher with a heartfelt passion for jazz music. Jamie Foxx, who lends his voice to Joe, relates to his character a lot, and it begins with jazz and had this to say:
“Like Joe, I hear music in everything. When you’re a jazz artist, man, you talk a little different: ‘Hey, cat!’ I got a chance to go to a few jazz fests and meet Herbie Hancock, Chick Correa—hang out with those guys. They have a way of talking, a way of dressing—everything funnels toward their music, toward the jazz.”
On another side, director Pete Docter, who shares Foxx’s love of music, had an idea of the character before the jazz connection, and added:
“I’ve been so lucky to work with some incredible people and make movies that have been seen around the world. But I realized that as wonderful as these projects are, there’s more to living than a singular passion—as expressive and fulfilling as that may be. Sometimes the small insignificant things are what it’s really about. This film is about broadening the idea of a singular focus to thinking more widely about what life has to offer and what we have to offer life.”
Co-director Kemp Powers, who initially joined Soul as a writer, didn’t have far to look for inspiration:
“We’ve been working on ‘Soul’ for years, but the film feels timelier now than we ever could have imagined back when we began. In a year where everything we know has been turned upside down, we’ve all been forced to find new meaning both in the relationships we have and the small moments that truly make life worth living.”
In the film, Joe is on the brink of getting his big break playing for a jazz quartet. But he finds himself on an unexpected detour from the streets of New York City to The Great Before, tasked with helping new soul 22, voiced by Tina Fey, find her spark to earn her way to Earth.
Graham Norton revealed last weekend that he lends his voice to spiritual sign twirler Moonwind. The voice cast also includes Rachel House as the count-obsessed Terry, and Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Wes Studi , Fortune Feimster and Zenobia Shroff as the voices of the Counselors. Comedian Donnell Rawlings voices Joe’s barber Dez, and June Squibb provides the voice of Gerel. They join Foxx, Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Angela Bassett and Daveed Diggs.
Soul features jazz compositions & arrangements by globally renowned musician and GRAMMY nominee Jon Batiste, and an original score by Oscar®-winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.