'Soul' Filmmakers on That Big Emotional Moment, the Cat Conundrum, and More [Interview]

Soul marks another step forward for Pixar into fascinating narrative storytelling that is not only meant for young children. In fact, this may be the least kid-centric movie they’ve made in quite some time.

Don’t get me wrong – the movie is very good and has plenty of the typical Pixar qualities we’ve come to expect from that studio. But a film about a middle school band teacher who finally gets his big break in music, only to quickly fall into a manhole and be whisked away to another plane of existence to learn how souls work? That’s pretty damn ambitious, and it’s yet another example of how the studio often pushes beyond the most basic version of a story when one of their films is making its way through Pixar’s rigorous process of building, breaking down, and rebuilding a movie to get it right.

A few weeks ago, we spoke with Pete Docter (director/story and screenplay by), Kemp Powers (co-director/story and screenplay by), and Dana Murray (producer) about the clash between creativity and pragmatism, Soul‘s excellent score, and the thought process behind a plot decision which temporarily sidelines the studio’s first lead Black character – a decision which I suspect will generate a lot of discussion in the days ahead.

Soul is streaming now on Disney+.

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