Pixar has always been known for making movies that are emotional and tear-jerking. Think Finding Nemo, Up, and Toy Story 3 to name a few. If these movies are unable to tug at your heartstrings, then you must be a robot with no regard for humanity. With the announcement and first look at Pixar’s next film, Soul, it appears that they will once more be attempting to make viewers emotionally distraught.
Soul, which is coming to theaters next summer, centers around Joe Gardner, an aspiring jazz musician who is stuck as a middle school music teacher. Joe yearns for the opportunity to be performing rather than teaching. After impressing many of his fellow musicians during an open mic at the Half Note Club, Joe finally gets a chance to perform and do what he loves. However, as he celebrates, an accident causes Joe’s soul to be separated from his body. Joe’s soul is transported to the You seminar, a celestial center in which souls are created and develop their emotions, where they will then be transported to a newborn child after the process is complete. Joe must work with other souls in training such as 22, a soul who has been trapped at the You Seminar for years and has a negative view on life, in order to find his way back to Earth and his body.
Soul will take viewers to a world that has never been seen before. The “soul world” explains in detail why certain aspects of our life are the way they are, and what causes people to feel different emotions. Soul will try to answer questions about one’s very existence, and how everyday emotions, such as joy, anger, and sadness, play into that. It is an inward-looking film that is very reminiscent of Inside Out, one of Pixar’s previous films. Pete Docter, who directed the film and wrote the story, described his creative process and overall vision, explaining, “We talked to a lot of folks that represented religious traditions and cultural traditions and [asked], ‘What do you think a soul is?’ All of them said ‘vaporous’ and ‘ethereal’ and ‘non-physical.’ We were like, ‘Great! How do we do this?’ We’re used to toys, cars, things that are much more substantial and easily referenced. This was a huge challenge, but I gotta say, I think the team really put some cool stuff together that’s really indicative of those words but also relatable.”
Jamie Foxx will star as Joe Gardner in Soul, marking the first time the main character in a Pixar film is black. Joining him is Tina Fey as 22, Questlove as Curly, a drummer in Joe’s band, Phylicia Rashad as Joe’s mother, and Daveed Diggs as Paul, Joe’s neighborhood nemesis. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who scored films such as The Social Network and Gone Girl, will be providing the score, while jazz musician Jon Batiste will be writing songs for the film.
Soul is set to arrive in theaters on June 19, 2020.