MOOD SWINGS: Disgust, Anger and Fear must cope with unexpectedly being in command of headquarters in a scene from the movie Inside Out.
MOOD SWINGS: Disgust, Anger and Fear must cope with unexpectedly being in command of headquarters in a scene from the movie Inside Out. Pixar

Pixar goes inside for film and director couldn't be happier

WHAT could the inside of a child's mind look like?

It's a question the makers of Pixar's latest film Inside Out spent years figuring out.

The film follows the five major emotions - Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust - running the mental control centre of an 11-year-old girl, Riley.

"There were a lot of discussions about would there be chairs and things made out of wood? Where would you get wood in the mind?" director Pete says.

"We came up with a palette of building materials based on the idea of energy."

Docter was the third animator hired by Pixar in 1994 and he worked on the studio's first feature film Toy Story.

Joy becomes stuck in the outer reaches of 11-year-old Riley’s mind.
Joy becomes stuck in the outer reaches of 11-year-old Riley’s mind.

He went on to be nominated for an Oscar for his directorial debut Monsters Inc and eventually won an Oscar for his acclaimed film Up.

Just as Up was a love letter of sorts to grandparents, Docter says Inside Out is a love letter to children.

The film was partly inspired by the changes he saw in his own daughter Ellie.

"It's difficult as a parent to watch your kids change and go 'No, remember you like this'," he says.

"Change is difficult but it is beautiful, and necessary. Change is what life is about."

The film follows Riley and her emotions, up until this point dominated by Joy, through her family's tumultuous move from Minnesota to the busy metropolis of San Francisco.

Anger, Disgust, Joy, Fear and Sadness at the controls.
Anger, Disgust, Joy, Fear and Sadness at the controls.

When Joy and Sadness, the outcasts of the five emotions, get stuck in the outer reaches of Riley's mind, there is a noticeable change in her behaviour as the other three emotions take over.

"This is exactly what I love about animation, strong opinionated characters," Docter says. "They're almost exaggerations, caricatures of themselves like Bugs Bunny and Donald Duck.

"This is our chance to do that; to be able to push the characters (to the extreme) in the way they act and move."

Docter says star Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Lewis Black had a strong influence over their characters.

"I used Lewis Black (as Anger) from the very beginning pitch, while other characters came later," he says.

"The actors contributed heavily to the writing, sometimes literally. In the case of Bill and Amy we said 'write with them'. Other times it just happened at the microphone, listening to the way they speak."

Inside Out's opening was highly anticipated not only because it was Pixar's first film in two years, but also because it received an eight-minute standing ovation at Cannes.

"Just having people respond and laugh is great," he says.

"I think it's really universal. Everyone around the world has the same emotions and reacts to things in a similar way.

"There is a lot of pressure in the world and we do spend a lot of time asking ourselves 'How can I be happier?'. But there's a reason why we have all of these emotions in there. Life is complex, full of disappointment and loss as well as happiness."

Inside Out is in cinemas across the Coast now.


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