This summer, Pixar will reach maximum meta-physicality with Soul, a movie about where our personalities come from before we're born. In order to treat the film's material with the utmost respect, the Disney-owned animation studio actually consulted with various religious communities in order to learn what the world's various faiths have to say about souls.
"We talked with a local Buddhist instructor, a rabbi, a number of different pastors in the Christian tradition ... we even spoke with a couple of shamans," director and co-writer Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Inside Out) told Empire for the magazine's March issue (now on sale).
Soul stars Jamie Foxx as Joe Gardner, a middle school teacher with a dream of becoming a world famous jazz musician. Just as he gets the big break he's been waiting for, Joe falls into a sewer hole and dies. Instead of heading to the afterlife, Joe's life-force accidentally heads to "The Great Before," a plane of existence that precedes birth. There, he meets 22 (Tina Fey), a cynical soul who sees no point in being given a body.
While the concept of death can be unsettling and hard to comprehend for a young mind, the film's creative team wanted to present one of life's macabre eventualities through a lens of comedy.
"Death has always been a great source of comedy!" said co-writer Kemp Powers. "I mean, do you remember Heaven Can Wait? Exploring death in a disarming, funny way is not unprecedented."
Featuring the voice talents of of Phylicia Rashad, Questlove, and Daveed Diggs, Soul enters theaters on June 19.
Disney movies are about to hit their next stage of evolution. According to intel from The Hollywood Reporter, the London-based company known as Secret Cinema will be adapting some of the Mouse House's most iconic films for "immersive experiences."
While details are still hazy at this point, we do know that Secret Cinema is working closely with Disney’s StudioLAB ("the studio’s tech-focused storytelling laboratory hub"). The first installation is expected to open in London later this year. Exhibits will eventually hit New York and Los Angeles in the hopes of expanding to other cities down the road.
"Working with The Walt Disney Studios is much more than access to a treasure trove of titles, it’s about bringing together a unique combination of skills and expertise to build ever more authentic and amazing experiences, raising the bar again for what we mean by ‘immersive cinema,’” said Secret Cinema CEO Max Alexander in a statement, per THR.
Secret Cinema previously built experiences based around Stranger Things, Alien, Blade Runner, and even Star Wars.
Titled The Boys: Dear Becky, the new series will be written by Ennis and drawn by Russell Braun, the latter of whom is a veteran illustrator of previous issues. Robertson is drawing some of the covers. Set 12 years after Hughie's marriage to Starlight, the comic is said to focus on a document that derails the duo's relationship with shocking truths about The Boys.
Using extensive flashbacks, "Dear Becky will flesh out both the pre-history of The Boys, call back to classic moments, and move the story forward," says a press release. As its title suggests, the comic's real star is Billy Butcher's late wife, Becky.
"Originally I never intended to do more with The Boys at all, but for obvious reasons I’ve found myself thinking about the story and characters again over the past couple of years," Ennis said in a statement. "There was one aspect of the original story, and one character in particular, that I never felt got a fair shake — Becky Butcher, whose demise motivates her husband Billy to do the terrible things he does, but who only actually appears in two issues of the original book. I liked writing Becky very much, almost as much as Butcher himself, and I wanted to look in greater detail at how her relatively brief appearance cast such a long shadow."
"This comic has always been close to my heart and seeing the response to the show and the new drove of readers discovering the original material, makes the timing for this series a wonderful opportunity to bring fresh material to the new readers as well as a treat for the original fans," added Robertson. "Revisiting these characters is a nice feeling, and creating covers for the series and collaborating with Ennis again is a treat."
The Boys: Dear Becky #1 is expected to go on sale in April.