Disney-Pixar films are known for playing with our emotions – what look, on the outside at least, to be childish stories featuring the likes of talking fish or fantastical monsters, speak profoundly to people of all ages.
This year, we’ll be opening our hearts up to Disney-Pixar on two occasions. The last time we were treated to two Disney-Pixar films in the same year was back in 2015, with the Oscar-winning Inside Out and somewhat unappreciated The Good Dinosaur being released within the space of a few months.
The first of this year’s offerings is Onward, a tale of two brothers on a magical quest, featuring the vocal talents of Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy), Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Far From Home) and Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water). The film is released on the 6th of March.
Hot on the heels of Onward is Soul, which is set to be released on the 19th of June. Jamie Foxx voices a jazz musician who dies and discovers another realm where souls are chosen for specific bodies. In anticipation, here’s everything we know so far.
What is Soul about?
According to the official synopsis from Pixar Animation Studios, Soul centres on a middle school music teacher named Joe Gardner, who dreams of becoming a famous jazz singer. When an accident causes his soul to become detached from his body, Gardner is transported to the “You Seminar”, where he must rediscover his passion in order to return to his body on Earth.
While at the seminar he encounters many other souls who are struggling to find meaning in their life, and they must work together before it’s too late. We’re getting serious Inside Out vibes from the synopsis alone, and cannot wait to see how this plays out.
Who’s in the voice cast for Soul?
As always, Pixar have assembled a strong voice cast to bring these characters to life, including:
- Django Unchained star Jamie Foxx as the voice of Joe Gardner, the heart of the film
- Tina Fey as the voice of 22, a soul trapped in the You Seminar struggling to maintain a positive outlook on life
- Questlove as Curly, a drummer in Joe’s band
- Daveed Diggs as Paul, Joe’s neighbourhood enemy
- Phylicia Rashad as the voice of Joe’s mother
Neither Foxx nor Fey are strangers to voice roles, having lent their talents to Rio movies and Megamind, respectively. Questlove is best known as a member of The Roots, the current in-house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. And whilst Diggs is easily best known for originating the role of Thomas Jefferson in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway hit Hamilton, we personally loved him as school teacher Mr. Browne in 2017’s Wonder.
Who directs Soul?
The director of Soul is the one and only Pete Docter, whose previous credits for Disney-Pixar include the classics Monsters, Inc, Up and Inside Out, all of which were recipients of Oscars. He's now the Chief Creative Officer at Disney-Pixar in place of John Lasseter, but Docter always intended to finish work on Soul before stepping into his new role.
Co-writer and co-director Kemp Powers has said that Soul is “completely different” to Docter’s previous work. Mike Jones, Senior Story and Creative Artist at Disney-Pixar, also contributed to the script, as did Tina Fey, who wrote many of her character’s own lines.
Dana Murray is producing the film. Like Docter she is no stranger to contributing to a major Disney-Pixar release, having previously been involved with the likes of Inside Out, Brave and Up.
The film’s original score has been composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Oscar-winners for The Social Network. And, of course, Soul will also featuring original jazz music, which has been written by famous American singer Jon Batiste. Batiste has worked with such legends as Stevie Wonder, Prince and Lenny Kravitz. He is also the Creative Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem – clearly, the film’s soundtrack couldn’t be in safer hands.
Hannah Dixon is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team. Follow her on Twitter.