The success of Inside Out has been a huge blessing for Pixar Studios, a pleasant surprise to its creators, but no shock to fans of Pixar films like Toy Story and Finding Nemo. We know how popular and beloved their films have become and we’ve learned to expect nothing less.
Recently, we sat down with Inside Out producer Jonas Rivera and director Pete Docter to discuss the popularity of the film, why it meant so much to those with autism, and what they say about a sequel.
Why So Many People Love Inside Out
“I never dreamed it would be received so warmly everywhere,” Rivera said. “I mean, we went around the world; we went to China and people like it there. It’s been awesome.”
“That was always the hope, of course,” adds Docter, “that it’s a very universal idea. Even remote tribes in Papua, New Guinea have the same emotions.”
It was immediate, the popularity of Inside Out, well before it hit theaters. There were reports of teachers and parents of autistic kids using the characters to teach lessons about emotions and how to recognize them, which really touched the creators of the film.
Paul Ekman and Dacher Keltner are two psychologists filmmakers gave credit to for having a big impact on how these Inside Out characters teach kids about emotions. Even my 5-year-old, like many kids her age, has a hard time expressing her emotions, but found it easier to identify her emotions with these characters and were able to share our ideas with our readers.
An Inside Out Sequel In The Making?
Of course, we were dying to know, with the popularity of the film, is there going to be an Inside Out sequel?
“We have spent 5 years of our lives on this film. We’re so proud of it, we’re proud of all of our characters and the world and all that,” Rivera said.
“Before this, we made the movie Up together – we finished that together – and we’re proud of that one. But what wakes us up in the morning and kind of gets us inspired is something completely new and it was that conversation that led to Inside Out and we’re kind of having that same conversation now.” said Rivera. “We never say never, but we want to do something totally different.”
Docter added, “…and we’ve already got some ideas.”
Thanks to our recent visit to the studio, we know The Good Dinosaur hits theaters this Thanksgiving, but they say there’s 7 or 8 in various stages of production.
In fact, we know of a few Pixar films that have release dates that have been announced and are part of that long list of exciting new films that the studio is releasing.
Finding Dory has a US release date of June 17, 2016, Cars 3 on June 16, 2017, Coco hits theaters on November 22, 2017, Toy Story 4 is sure to be a huge hit when it’s released on June 15, 2018 and Incredibles 2 hits theaters on June 21, 2019.
“When Pete pitched Inside Out to me,” Rivera told us, “just the very beginning of it, or the basic premise, I’ll never forget… I just sat in my chair and went “WHAT?” Rivera said that this is the same reaction he gave to Docter’s newest pitch.
That was unfair. It’s like telling the setup to a good joke and not telling the punch line. And try as we might, we could not get them to tell us a single detail. Not so much as a working title or a recruited voice talent.
Obviously, I’d never survive working a job at Pixar; I can’t keep a secret to save my life. These guys, they’re good. John Lasseter must be proud.
The guys seem to have a mutual respect for Lasseter as well as for the studio.
“Pixar is such a great place,” said Jonas. “Every now and then I pinch myself, like we have the greatest jobs in the world. I never dreamed I’d be doing this.“
Rivera says because of his life and his job, he mostly identifies with the character Joy from Inside Out.
“Joy is someone that is always positive, but she’s always looking backwards a little bit,” Rivera said. “She’s very much into her memories; I guess she’s a nostalgist and I’m a little bit that way, too. She’s my favorite.“
Docter chimes in, poking fun at Rivera. “That’s just a polite way of saying she’s in denial.“
The two seem to work well together – at the very least create brilliant films together – but we wondered how the ideas that they love to keep so unique and fresh are brought together into the vision we see on screen.
“The first concept I had in the very first pitch was a control room,” Docter told us. “I thought of it a little like a spaceship which we ultimately tried to move away from because we wanted to do something that people haven’t seen before.“
“Headquarters was the first thing [created] and then we kind of extrapolated out from there as we came up with the journey that Joy and Sadness go on. We made a big list of places we could go,” Docter said.
Much of what Docter and Rivera created along with their team were seen in the film, but there were ideas that didn’t quite make the cutting room floor. The Stream Of Consciousness and Brain Washing were among those. Part of their pitch to Lasseter was trying to create in his mind a look of how Disneyland is laid out.