Putting 'Soul' on to Disney+ was a 'tough' decision says director Pete Docter (exclusive)

Freda Cooper
·Contributor
·3 mins read

Watch: Pete Docter responds to Soul being launched on Disney+

As Pixar’s Soul makes its UK debut as part of the London Film Festival, the movie’s Oscar-winning co-writer and director Pete Docter has revealed the decision to release the film on Disney+ instead of cinemas was a ‘tough’ one.

“We made the film to be shown on the big screen. We previewed every frame on the big screen,” he tells Yahoo Movies UK in our video interview above.

“But we also wanted to make sure everybody gets to see it. It feels like it’s a timely film and we want to make sure people are safe. So here we are.”

Read more: Rave reviews land for Pixar's Soul

Soul was originally scheduled to launch in cinemas in June and then it was pushed to November, but last week the studio announced that it would launch exclusively on its streaming platform on Christmas Day.

Soul (Credit: Disney)
Soul (Credit: Disney)

Talking to PA, producer Dana Murray said: “We know that releasing it on Disney+, we think that the film is timely and people should see it now, and so the more time we sit with the news of it releasing on Disney +, I think we are really excited about it.

“But I won’t lie, we were processing, it was a gut punch, we thought we would be releasing in theatres in June and here we are entering the holiday season and this is still going on.”

The title also marks a significant first for Pixar – Soul is the animation studio’s first film with a Black character in the lead, something that Murray agreed had taken ‘too long’.

Soul (Credit: Disney)
Soul (Credit: Disney)

Docter explained that “We’ve had other characters, like Frozone, who are not at the centre, but in this case it was borne out of the story itself.

Read more: Everything coming to Disney+ in October

“We wanted to create a character who was a musician and we needed to make sure that he represented where jazz came from, so that’s why we made Joe African American. We were lucky to be working with a lot of great consultants who helped us make sure that was accurate.”

Watch: The latest trailer for Pixar’s Soul

Together with Docter and co-director Kemp Powers, the consultants formed a culture trust during production on the film to ensure it avoided harmful Black stereotypes. Some of those involved were actual Pixar employees, including storyboard artist Aphton Corbin and editor Robert Graham Jones, who has been with the studio for over 20 years. Cinematographer Bradford Young (Arrival) was also brought in to ensure the animation captured Black skin correctly on screen.

D23 EXPO 2019 - The Ultimate Disney Fan Event - brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event, which takes place August 23 - 25 at the Anaheim Convention Center, provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, television, games, theme parks, and celebrities. (The Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA via Getty Images) PETE DOCTER (CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER, PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS), DANA MURRAY
Soul producers Pete Docter and Dana Murray at D23 2019. (The Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA via Getty Images)

Voiced by Jamie Foxx, Joe is a music teacher who dreams of making it as a jazz pianist and, as he reaches middle age, gets his big chance. But an accident looks like stealing that away, taking him into the Soul World, with seemingly no chance of getting back to his original life. Yet looking after a difficult lost soul gives him the opportunity he so desperately needs to make the most of his life.

The director of Pixar’s Oscar-winning Up and Inside Out, Pete Docter also wrote the screenplay for both titles, as well as for Wall-E, and most recently was executive producer on Onward and Toy Story 4.

Soul will stream exclusively on Disney+ from 25 December.