Over its many years of making people of all ages believe there’s good in the world, Pixar has made magic from writing stories about toys having feelings, cars having feelings, even feelings having feelings. In its latest offering set to hit theaters this summer, the beloved studio will yet again animate a seemingly intangible concept to ask: What if souls had feelings?
That’s the premise at the beating heart of “Soul,” which sees Jamie Foxx voice a middle school jazz teacher with performance ambitions who still dreams of his big break. When a manhole accident nearly takes his life, however, he enters a netherworld of unborn souls on their way to earth. Comedy ensues when he befriends a particularly reluctant baby soul, voiced by an almost unrecognizable Tina Fey.
Here’s the official synopsis from Pixar: “Joe Gardner is a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before — a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22, who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions.”
In addition to Foxx and Fey, “Soul” also features the voices of Phylicia Rashad, Angela Bassett, Ahmir Questlove Thompson, and Daveed Diggs, making it Pixar’s first film with a predominantly black cast.
“Soul” is directed by Oscar winner Pete Docter (“Inside Out,” “Up”), co-directed by Kemp Powers (“One Night in Miami”) and produced by Oscar nominee Dana Murray (Pixar short “Lou”). Globally renowned musician Jon Batiste (“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”) will be writing original jazz music for the film, and Oscar winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“The Social Network”), from Nine Inch Nails, will compose an original score that will drift between the real and soul worlds.
Disney/Pixar will release “Soul” in theaters on June 19. Check out the charming trailer below.