Pixar’s latest movie won’t be heading to a theatre near you but will instead make its debut on the Disney+ streaming service.
The highly anticipated “Soul” takes a musical and spiritual journey with Joe Gardner, voiced by Jamie Foxx.
Joe is a middle-school band teacher who dreams of being a jazz musician. Just as he’s on the cusp of getting his big break to play for a jazz quartet, a distracted step into an open manhole sends him on an unexpected detour from the streets of New York City to the afterlife, where he and other souls wait to move on.
With his lifelong dream so close, Joe makes a break for it and winds up in a place called the Great Before, where new souls receive their training before being sent to Earth. It’s there that he meets new soul 22, voiced by Tina Fey, and tries to help her find the spark that will earn her way to Earth.
“He’s sure if he can share his life story with her — his passion for jazz — she’ll be inspired and they’ll both get to go to Earth,” said producer Dana Murray. “They do make it back to Earth, but that’s really the beginning of their adventure. It’s a funny and touching story of friendship and self-discovery, and we can’t wait to show it to the world.”
Director Pete Docter conceived the character of Joe before jazz was even brought into the equation.
“I’ve been so lucky to work with some incredible people and make movies that have been seen around the world,” he said. “But I realized that as wonderful as these projects are, there’s more to living than a singular passion — as expressive and fulfilling as that may be. Sometimes the small insignificant things are what it’s really about. This film is about broadening the idea of a singular focus to thinking more widely about what life has to offer and what we have to offer life.”
According to co-director Kemp Powers, even though “Soul” has been in the works for years, “the film feels timelier now than we ever could have imagined back when we began. In a year where everything we know has been turned upside down, we’ve all been forced to find new meaning both in the relationships we have and the small moments that truly make life worth living.”
Other stars lending their voices to “Soul” include Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Wes Studi, Fortune Feimster, Zenobia Shroff, Donnell Rawlings, June Squibb, Phylicia Rashad, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Angela Bassett, and Daveed Diggs.
“Soul” also features original jazz compositions & arrangements by “The Late Show” bandleader Jon Batiste, and an original score by Oscar winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“The Social Network”).
“Soul” will debut on Christmas Day 2020.