If you’ve already watched your Blu-Ray copy of Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out, you’ve likely seen the short, Riley’s First Date? The main cast returns in a more comedic setting with a new story, a few more voices (including an unexpected rock star), and a story that any parent of a daughter can relate to.
We interview Josh Cooley & Mark Nielsen, creators of the Inside Out short, Riley’s First Date? to talk about their creation process and discover 5 awesome facts about the short.
“I came up with the idea while working on the film,” said Cooley.
Nielsen added, “Toward the end of production, Pete and Jonas started thinking about doing a short film for the DVD and they asked Josh to really start thinking about it and come up with ideas and so he came up with a few different ideas and pitched those to Pete and Jonas.”
Creation of the short, from pitch to final production, took about 10 months. There were originally two pitches for the short, the other being more focused on the now favorite character, Bing Bong.
“This was not planned at all,” Cooley said, “but all of us have daughters.“
“Yeah, the whole production [team]; the director, the co-director, the editor, the production manager…” Nielsen added.
“We’re all fathers of daughters. We would just talk,” Cooley said about the production process. “Trying to write a story about Riley, you just naturally talk about your own experiences. I was talking about my daughter who was 4 or 5 at the time and I was talking about how she was acting crazy. Our editor, whose daughters are… now out of college, said ‘Oh, you have nothing to worry about until she brings home a boy’ and just the thought of that… I never even thought of that being a possibility. That’s kind of where the seeds of this idea came from.“
At the end of ‘Riley’s First Date?‘, music from AC/DC is featured and makes the scene! Cooley and Nielsen said they tried a lot of different bands and a lot of different songs, but wanted something that was iconic and spanned generations.
Some of the most memorable moments of Inside Out are filled with heart; Riley’s First Date? is much different and opted for a more comedic spin. “Comedy is kind of my thing that I towards,” Cooley said, “and when you have 4 minutes to tell a story, I think you just want people to come out laughing. A short has that quick timing that lends itself to comedy a little easier, I think.”
It’s such a popular film, one of the most popular of the year, and already people are demanding a sequel. “At this point, there’s not really been any talk about [a sequel],” Nielsen told us.
The film and their short has also impacted their home life, as well. Their kids have used the characters to describe their own emotions and have heard from health professionals about the film having the same impact on children.
When the film and the short first started, there were originally around 30 emotions that were considered. “We picked 5 just for story purposes,” Cooley said.
When asked which of the emotions are they most drawn to, Nielsen said “Joy is the one I was kind of drawn to the most. I love Amy Poehler and what she brought to the character. I’m kind of optimistic by nature.“
“I would probably pick Joy, as well,” said Cooley. “Although I had a lot of fun writing Sadness. Without Sadness, Joy had nothing to play off of.“
Josh Cooley was the voice of Sadness in Riley’s Dad’s head for the short. “Go back to jail!” is his line in the movie, and he delivered it expertly! He’s also the voice of Jangles The Clown in Inside Out, Officer Phillips in Toy Story of Terror, Omega in Up, and a few other Pixar characters.
Of course, most of the cast of Inside Out carried over to Riley’s First Date?, but there were some voices that had to be recruited, such as the emotions in Jordan’s head.
Did you know that Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers does the voice of Fear in Jordan’s head? Inside Out director Pete Docter is the voice of Dad’s Anger, and Bill Hader is the voice of Riley’s Fear and Jordan’s Joy.
“Anger was the one that [had to be] Lewis Black,” Cooley said about casting.
“He was the most clear cut… you see one clip of him,” Nielsen said, “and you’re like ‘Yep! That’s him.’ And Bill Hader as fear, I think we decided on him pretty early on, too. He was kind of a friend of the show throughout, he helped us punch up some dialog and we worked with him for probably 4 years.“
Inside Out and the short, Riley’s First Date, is now available on DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital as well as on Disney Movies Anywhere.