From the makers of Disney Pixar’s critically acclaimed animation flicks “Monsters Inc.” (2001) and “Up” (2009) comes “Inside Out“, a story about what goes on in 11-year-old Riley’s head after she’s uprooted from her Midwest life and moves to San Francisco. Her 5 personified emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.
The stunning animated feature film features a stellar voice cast – Amy Poehler (Joy), Bill Hader (Fear), Lewis Black (Anger), Mindy Kaling (Disgust), and Phyllis Smith (Sadness). As well as Richard Kind (Bing Bong), Kaitlyn Dias (Riley Andersen), Diane Lane (Riley’s mother), and Kyle MacLachlan (Riley’s father).
After premiering at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in May, “Inside Out” was released in the United States on 19th June 2015. It received universal critical acclaim, with many film critics praising the voice performances (particularly for Poehler, Smith, and Richard Kind), its concept, and poignant subject matter. The film grossed USD90.4 million in its first weekend – the highest opening for an original title, beating out “Avatar”.
More recently, coming out of its 7th weekend, the animated film continues to spread the joy, crossing the USD600 million worldwide box office mark. But what makes “Inside Out” so special? Let’s explore some fun facts about the animated feature film, starting from the drawing board ;)
(WARNING: Might contain some spoilers so read at your own risk)
1. “Up” paved the way for “Inside Out”, but the process wasn’t easy
The smash success of director Pete Docter’s 2009 film “Up” encouraged those at Pixar to allow him to create another film with a more sophisticated story. But working on “Inside Out” wasn’t exactly a breeze per se.
“Inside Out” is the first Pixar film without input from co-founder and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who died in 2011. It also lacked extensive input from Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, who was more focused on restructuring Walt Disney Animation Studios in Los Angeles at the time of its production. Executives at Disney and Pixar were positive at the proposal of making “Inside Out”, but acknowledged it would be difficult to market.
2. “Inside Out” took 5 whole years to make
Director Pete Docter said that the idea to make the movie stemmed from his personal experience while growing up as well as watching his own 11-year-old daughter, Elie Docter, grow up. “She started getting more quiet and reserved, and that, frankly, triggered a lot of my own insecurities and fears,” he said. He imagined what happens in the human mind when emotions set in, and the idea to depict it through animation excited him.
He began researching information about the mind, alongside Jonas Rivera, a producer, and Ronnie del Carmen, a secondary director. They consulted Paul Ekman, a well-known psychologist who studies emotions, and Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Partly due to the fact that so much research went behind the making of “Inside Out”, the animated film took a whopping total of 5 years to complete.
3. Joy wasn’t supposed to be paired with Sadness
In early development, the makers tried to pair Joy with Fear instead of Sadness, but they veered off course from that in the long run. Because they realised that wasn’t really saying what we were trying to talk about, with the laws of childhood and growing up pains. That was a real pivotal moment of redoing the story, pairing Joy with Sadness.
Another major thing that helped was landing Amy Poehler, who gave her 2 cents on how to make Joy rootable and interesting. The real pivot and a step forward was when Amy told the makers, “I think I can help you with that. I can say things that other people can’t and get away with it.”
4. Pete Docter’s voice makes a cameo in “Inside Out”
While we already know which stars lent their voices to the film, one may need to pay attention to the full list of credits for a few surprises. As it turns out, there were a few famous names on that list. There’s Paula Poundstone (Forgetter Paula), comedian Bobby Moynihan (Forgetter Bobby), SNL writer Paula Pell (Dream Director and Mom’s Anger), Muppeteers Dave Goelz (Subconscious Guard Frank) and Frank Oz (Subconscious Guard Dave).
“Inside Out” writer Josh Cooley (Jangles) and Red Hot Chili Peppers band member Flea (Mind Worker Cop Jake) are also on that list, so are “Toy Story 4” co-writer Rashida Jones (Cool Girl’s Emotions), Mary Gibbs (voice of Boo in Monster’s Inc), and last but not least, director Pete Docter himself. Pete Docter lent his voice for the role of Riley’s father’s Anger.
5. In Japan, Riley’s least favourite food is not broccoli
In the original version of “Inside Out” (as in, the United States version), Riley’s least favourite food is broccoli. It’s also evident in the below short clip from the movie, when broccoli conveniently shows up on a slice of pizza:
But in Japan, it changes. To green pepper slices.
In an interview with Slate, director Pete Docter explained the logic behind the change. “We learned that some of our content wouldn’t make sense in other countries. For example, in Japan, broccoli is not considered gross. Kids love it. So we asked them, ‘What’s gross to you?’ They said green bell peppers,” he said.
6. The game in Riley’s father’s head changes too
The broccoli tweak wasn’t the only tweak that Pixar made. In some versions of “Inside Out”, the game playing in Riley’s father’s head is soccer, rather than the original hockey. Actually, in most international versions. And this can be seen when comparing the first US trailer with the corresponding UK trailer.
Pete Docter revealed, “We offered a version with soccer instead of hockey since soccer is huge in so many parts of the world. But some countries that are into soccer actually decided to stick with hockey since the characters in the movie are from Minnesota and it makes sense that they’d be hockey fans.”
A few international versions do retain the hockey match memory, like the Russian and French Canadian ones.
7. The characteres are shaped like representations of their feelings
This one is pretty easy to pick out – the shapes. The emotions aka characters Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness are molded after things that represented the feelings they stood for.
For example, Disgust is green and more or less looks like broccoli, the food that Riley hates. Fear is a squiggly, nervous figure that really isn’t much of a shape at all while Anger is a brick that sometimes have flames coming out of his head. Interestingly, Sadness is modelled after a teardrop and is obviously blue. And last but not least, Joy. Joy is has a huge glow and more multi-dimensional as compared to the rest because she’s the leader of the group.
BONUS: Find the Easter eggs strewn all over the place
No Disney Pixar film would be complete without some Easter eggs hidden here and there, much like the hidden Mickey concept. This may or may not spoil “Inside Out” for you so skip this part if you’re feeling adventurous and want to find them on your own. Otherwise, according to Pixar Post, Pixar fans can expect to find references from past Pixar flicks such as “Toy Story” (the globe in Riley’s classroom has been used in all the “Toy Story” films) and “Up” (the background memories on shelves inside or outside of Headquarters are shots from the “Married Life” scene in “Up”).
There’s also the “Cars” Easter egg (the background city cars of San Francisco all have bumper stickers from “Cars”), amongst others. So see if you can find about 17 more when you watch the film!
We’ll leave you now with the official “Inside Out” trailer :)
Directed and co-written by Pete Docter, co-directed and co-written by Ronnie del Carmen, and produced by Jonas Rivera, with music composed by Michael Giacchino, “Inside Out” is slated to be released in Malaysian cinemas on 20th August 2015.
Sources: Inside Out Wiki, Yahoo! Movies, The Dissolve, The Independent, Vulture, NPR, Stitch Kingdom, Pixar Post (1), Pixar Post (2), WhatCulture, Huffington Post, Reddit, Inside Out Wikia, Inside Out IMDb.