×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

John Lasseter Says Disney/Pixar Wants More Diverse Characters

At a Monday afternoon press conference for the new animated film “Inside Out,” John Lasseter said that Pixar and Disney are making a push to tell stories about more diverse characters.

“It’s very important to us … to have female and ethnic characters,” said Lasseter, the Disney Animation Studios/Pixar chief. “It’s grown in importance over time. As you’ll see in future films, we’re really paying attention to that.”

Lasseter revealed that when he started in animation, it was an industry that mostly employed men behind the camera. “We have been seeing more and more women, and more and more people from all over the world starting to work with it,” Lasseter said. “That’s exciting. I think it will get reflected in the characters.”

He cited Disney’s 2016 release of “Moana,” about a Polynesian princess, as an example. “It’s pretty spectacular,” Lasseter said. “I guess most people think of fairy tales as European fairy tales. We’re trying to reach out and find origins of legends all over the world.”

Lasseter made these comments after a reporter asked if Pixar would ever release a film with a black protagonist.

Popular on Variety

Inside Out” is set in the mind of a young girl, as her emotions — such as Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) — embark on an adventure after her family moves to a new home. “It’s really nice to go to work and your job is to tell everybody everything’s great,” Poehler said.

The film was inspired by director Pete Docter’s daughter, Elie, who was 9 when she did a voice of the girl in 2009’s “Up.” He found that as she grew older, “she was a lot less energetic and reserved,” and remembered thinking: “What’s going on in her head?”

The film relied on scientific data about emotions and thoughts. “We did a tremendous amount of research to get the details right,” Lasseter said. He explained how the voices in a Pixar movie are recorded before they start on the animation, so the actors are able to influence the feel of their characters. “I believe in all of Pixar history, this is one of the most talented and amazing casts that we had,” he said.

Kaling said she wept when she read the script. “I’m not asked to do many things,” said Kaling, as she explained why she had to develop her own material. “It’s very specific the way I look and talk,” Kaling said. The star of “The Mindy Project” said she was most moved by the fact that the story gave a voice to a demographic — young girls — that often don’t headline their own movies. “I remember being an 11-year-old girl,” Kaling said.

“Inside Out” premieres out-of-competition on Monday night, and opens in the United States on June 16.

More Film

  • Cineworld

    U.K.'s Cineworld Poised to Buy Canada's Cineplex in $2.1 Billion Deal

    U.K.-based movie theater chain Cineworld is to acquire Cineplex, Canada’s leading cinema chain. The deal, announced Monday, values the Toronto-listed Cineplex at $2.1 billion (C$2.8 billion). Cineplex says that it has secured unanimous approval from Cineplex’s board of directors, and that Cineplex’s leading shareholder Global City Theaters, with 28% of the shares, has also accepted [...]

  • Trailer to Fedor Bondarchuk Sci-Fi Actioner

    Fedor Bondarchuk's Sci-Fi Actioner 'Invasion' Debuts Imax Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety has been given exclusive access to the Imax trailer, dubbed into English, to Fedor Bondarchuk’s sci-fi actioner “Invasion,” the sequel to his 2017 blockbuster “Attraction.” In the first film Moscow becomes the battleground for all-out war against an army of alien invaders. In the sequel, an alien spaceship crash lands in Moscow, and an [...]

  • Sheep Without a Shepherd

    China Box Office: ‘Shepherd’ and ‘Skyfire’ Lead Local Film Dominance

    Chinese-made films “Sheep Without A Shepherd,” “Skyfire” and “Gone With the Light” dominated weekend takings at the mainland Chinese box office. Hollywood’s holdovers were consigned to the lesser rankings. “Shepherd” is a remake of 2013 Indian thriller “Drishyam” and tells the story of a man trying to cover up for his daughter’s killing of a [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    COLA Announces California On-Location Awards Winners

    “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Dolemite is My Name,” and HBO’s “Ballers” are among the winners of this year’s COLA awards. The COLAs recognize location managers, public employees and other professionals who help facilitate on-location production across the Golden State. This year’s awards program was held at the Universal Hilton. Finalists and winners are [...]

  • French movie director Jean Luc Godard

    How Anna Karina and Jean-Luc Godard Immortalized Each Other (Guest Column)

    With the passing of Anna Karina, a curtain has fallen on the French New Wave, that fabled cinematic movement that brought fame to the man who made her name, Jean-Luc Godard. Yes, Godard is still with us, as is “Breathless” star Jean-Paul Belmondo (practically the last of the living New Wave legends), but his moviemaking [...]

  • Richard Jewell

    Box Office: Clint Eastwood Suffers Worst Opening in Four Decades With 'Richard Jewell'

    Clint Eastwood might end up with a lump of box office coal after “Richard Jewell” sputtered in its domestic debut. Despite critical acclaim, Warner Bros.’ drama about the security guard falsely accused by the media for playing a part in the 1996 Olympics bombing ignited with a dismal $5 million from 2,502 theaters. It’s a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content