***Disclosure: I attended The #MonstersUEvent . My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney. All opinions are 100% mine. ***
Scott Squibbles gives new meaning to the term “undeclared.” A sophomore whose dream of becoming a Scarer was squashed in his first year at Monsters University, “Squishy” is a bit of a wide eyed wanderer small, sweet, naïve and quiet who, not surprisingly, still lives with his doting mother. But with a little help from his Oozma Kappa brothers, Squishy begins to realize he’s more than just that shy monster in the corner.
Meet Squishy AKA Pete Sohn. Squishy is on of the members of the Oozma Kappa Frat on Monsters University. He’s one of the new awesome characters that Pixar has put out and already is a fan favorite! Make sure to check him out during the dancing scene in Monsters University. I had a chance to meet the voice behind the adorable Squishy, Pete Sohn, at the #MonstersUEvent Below is some of our chat.
Peter Sohn is a Pixar storyboard artist, animator and director. Sohn started his career with Pixar in the art and story departments for Finding Nemo. He also worked on The Incredibles, Ratatouille (was the voice of Emilie) and WALL•E. He will co-direct the upcoming Pixar film The Good Dinosaur with Bob Peterson.
Pete Sohn: My name is Peter Sohn. I’ve worked here at Pixar for about 11 years. I’m lucky enough to be playing Squishy the chubby guy with the hat and a bunch of eyes and it’s been really fun.
Q: How did you get the role?
Pete Sohn: It’s funny. I’ve played Emile in Ratatouille here and it was like you’re chubby and you’ll eat funny food. So why don’t you play this guy? I’m like okay. Then this is kind of like you’re chubby….and you’re kinda nerdy too. So why don’t you give this a shot? The recording was done a while ago. I’ve been on other projects since.
Usually I’m in story. So I’m pitching stuff and as you’re pitching stuff you do voices, but this was a straight on kinda casting call for the thing where they wanted me specifically. So it was just Dan and Cory saying come on down and do the scratch for it. Do you know what the scratch voices are? What scratch voices means is, temporary, like, fake voice just to put something in there just to feel out how the story’s going to work.
That’s how I started with just like, okay, scratch, this is just fake dialogue stuff. So, whatever you want me to do Dan. Then it became permanent. It’s really interesting ’cause,, working here at Pixar and then doing voices, it’s kinda this give and take with all the other productions here ’cause it’s so familiar. When in such family, you want to do whatever you can for each other. So if someone’s just like you’re in the middle of a punch, go, hey, could you quickly come down for ten minutes and just scream into the microphone about, you know, your mom.
Uh, yeah, sure. Mom! It’s this give and take that’s really fantastic here, because they have a studio. They allow this kind of creed of freedom of, yeah, you can do this and then you can try this as well. If that makes any sense.
Q: What do you when you’re not doing voice?
Pete Sohn: I started here in as a character designer on Finding Nemo in 2000. Then I moved into story on that on production. Then, I’ve been in animation. So I’ve been in many departments. Currently I’m co-directing The Good Dinosaur with Bob Peterson. That’s coming out in 2014. It’s gonna be great. But I’ve been all over the place here. It’s been amazing that this place allows you to just move around into what you’re interested in and what you want to learn about. You know, Pixar’s great about that.
Q: Did you inspire the character or vice versa?
Pete Sohn: I think it’s the back and forth. In the beginning there was a squishy but then evolved to be a guy with a hat and chubby. So maybe it wasn’t a stretch. Maybe that’s what he looks like. Oh, that guy looks like that. Let’s put him in there. It was an evolution for sure.
Q: Describe your character. What do you like about him?
Pete Sohn: I like that he’s so sincere about like kind of naïve things. You know, like, there’s a scene in there where Mike and Sully want to throw a party and he’s like this is great. Grab some couch cushions ’cause we’re gonna build a fort. I totally connect with that type of guy just ’cause that’s how I grew up with my cousins. We didn’t have the Internet. So the world was so like out there. For us it was just like Oh my God. You have the one piece of Lego like whatever that is that you can just nerd out for a while.
It was that naïve sincerity that I really really liked about him. Then when Julia Sweeney came who plays, Ms. Squibbles, his mom. I had lunch with her. Wow, she’s so brilliant. Then seeing in the reels how he’s embarrassed of his mom but still totally like, yeah, that’s my mom. He still loves her but totally living this weird 30-year-old living with his mom kind of feeling of it.
I totally understand it, connect with it as well. It’s not a stretch. Seriously, it’s not a stretch at all what that character is.
Q: Can you do the squishy dance?
Pete Sohn: I haven’t seen the dance. I only saw it in boards. I haven’t seen the animation yet. I mean it’s like– yeah, I remember that in the boards. Like, woo-woo. [LAUGHTER] I will dance for you if you want.
Pete was a great guy. I can’t wait to see The Good Dinosaur next year! For now, check out Monsters University which is out NOW!
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