Disney Pixar’s latest feel-good coming-of-age animation about remembering the people who shaped us along the way. It speaks to the younger generation only the way Pixar can, with sensitivity and a whole lot of fun. With the film’s release on Disney+ from June the 18th some of the animation’s voice cast and filmmakers came together for a recent press conference to convey how the film was brought together.
With the film set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera over one glorious summer in the late 1950s-early 1960s. We meet sea creature Luca (voiced by Jacob Tremblay) as his curiosity towards humans alongside his friendship with the mischievous Alberto (voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer) gives him his own sense of freedom and identity. As described by director Enrico Casarosa “It’s a love letter to the summers of our youth—those formative years when you’re finding yourself.”
The film’s director and Italian native Casarosa conveyed his own childhood summers were on a parallel to those of Luca – without the sea creature turning into a human angle.
“I was born in Genoa, which is this poor town right on the riviera. And I was a shy kid, a little bit sheltered by my family. And when I met my best friend at 11, kind of my world opened up. He was a bit of a troublemaker; he didn’t have a whole lot of supervision. And so, in those special kinds of summers when you’re growing up and kind of finding yourself, I was kind of following him and getting dragged into, uh, troubles. It really made me really think about how much we find ourselves with our friendships, or how much friendships help us find a bit of who we wanna be.”
One of the many themes of the film, which Disney Pixar are famous for illuminating so well, is that niggling annoyance of self-doubt and in children that can be a major anxiety trigger. One way the movie copes with suppressing that is with the phrase “Silencio Bruno”, however, Jack Dylan Grazer is not one to ever listen to his own doubts.
“I myself have always been a really impulsive decision-maker. Like, I don’t like to think about whether there are two ways that things could go. Whether it’s terrible, or it could be wonderful. And I choose not to think long enough to think about how terrible it could be. And it might end up being a terrible decision, but I’m hoping for wonderful.”
Both Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan play the parents of our young Luca, they are parents that most children will recognize as loving and somewhat overprotective, ones that fear what is out there and fear for their child venturing out into the unknown. As parents themselves, both Maya and Jim’s own children were impressed their parents were starring in a Pixar movie.
“My kids, well they’re all excited by Pixar, but my oldest lost her mind. ‘Cause I think if she had a child she’d name it Pixar, it’s maybe the coolest thing I could ever do. And we actually did all watch it together, and they have not stopped saying “Silencio Bruno” I have to be honest, it does feel like a dream come true, I think, to me, too. It feels like you’re part of something bigger and it’s just such a beautiful movie. They’re-they’re pretty stoked, as the kids say. Right?” Rudolph commented.
Thanks to the pandemic, the film’s voice stars had to find new and creative ways of recording their parts, who knew closets would be a great recording studio for our A-List stars? Producer Andrea Warren revealed that it wasn’t easy and being your own tech could at times be rather tricky.
“I think when the pandemic hit and we were all sort of realizing that we had to work from home, one of my biggest concerns was how are we going to record, you know, everybody. I really have to thank this group and everybody at Pixar who sorted it out, because it involved sending iPads and microphones, and everybody testing out spaces in their houses where the sound would be baffled. I’ll never forget you, Jack, especially in your…I think your mom’s closet. You know, and your arms hitting the hangers, and you know, we’re all trying to press the right buttons at the right time. I mean it’s tricky, to be acting and be your own tech, and all of us trying to sort it out. And even Zoom is tricky ’cause sometimes it cuts out and somebody’s just performed something, and you’re like, well I bet it’s good. I don’t know. You know? So you’re trying to respond and… So it was definitely tricky.”
Grazer added; “Being in my mom’s closet for a year, yeah, totally, it was definitely a stretch for me, a challenge for me as an actor, and as just a human being. It got hot in there. And I bet my neighbours were really freaked out about the amount of screaming that was going on from my house. I don’t know what they were thinking. I was screaming like, help and I don’t know, and all that crazy stuff.”
Thankfully for Jacob Tremblay, he wasn’t affected by having to record is role from home as he got his done in a studio before COVID hit us all hard, but Tremblay admitted that because of COVID we could all related to Luca’s story.
“I definitely relate to Luca in a lot of things. I relate to his eagerness to go out and explore, especially right now. Because of COVID, I feel like we can all really relate to Luca in wanting to go out and just ride a Vespa through Italy. And then also, the whole Silencio Bruno part I definitely relate to, because in acting you have to really go a hundred percent on all your performances or else, you know, it’s gonna fall flat. So I have to make sure I step out of my comfort zone.”
For those with kids and no sign of a summer holiday in the sun on the horizon, there couldn’t be a better animation to bring home the vibrant sun into your own living rooms.