A few weeks ago I was in LA for the #InsideOutEvent and arrived a little early so I attended the regular Inside out Press Conference with the cast:
- Amy Poehler (voice of “Joy”)
- Bill Hader (voice of “Fear”)
- Mindy Kaling (voice of “Disgust”)
- Phyllis Smith (voice of “Sadness”)
- Lewis Black (voice of “Anger”)
Let me preface this by saying just how hilarious this cast is together! It was like watching a comedy show with a live SNL performance all in one. The way that they all got along and riffed off each other was classic. They literally had the entire room crying from laughter. There were also some very poignant moments as well. Overall it was fantastic and of course made me love the movie a smidge more if that’s even possible. Inside Out is in my top 3 movies of the year list! Now let’s get to the highlights!
Q: What was it like for you all when you read the screenplay to wrap your head literally around the scope of what was going on in this movie? Let’s start with you Phyllis.
Phyllis Smith: Okay, I was speechless – no, I was very excited to get the call and it – I really don’t know the magnitude of it even now. I was just really happy to go to Emeryville and have Pete and Jonas tell me the story and see the pictures and immediately without missing a beat I said yes, yes please and I had a great time and I don’t know – take it Bill.
Bill Hader: All right, it was great. I kind of stalked them – Pixar – I went to them. I said, “I wanna take a tour of Pixar.” This was back in 2010 . I’m a giant fan, so I just said, “Can I please take a tour?” I went around and I met Pete and Jonas and there was actually a scene… They didn’t tell me about the movie, (but) there is a scene in the movie that deals with a live television element. We’d like to come to SNL; and I said, “Come to SNL.” They hung out at SNL for a week for reference of that sequence and so they let me come and hang out at Pixar as a thank you and then kind of really – “Do you want Fear?” and I said, “Sure.” It worked.
Amy Poehler: I came to the project later and they have done so much work already and a lot of people had already recorded, so I kind of got this PowerPoint presentation of what the idea was and I couldn’t believe it was – the setting was the mind of and 11 year old girl. I just loved that that was the setting. I just thought – I honestly believe from the minute they told me the idea I was like “This film is gonna be the best Pixar movie ever made, and it’s gonna make the most money and it’s gonna win an Oscar;” that’s what I thought from the minute they told me I was like this is the best movie ever made, and it will be the only good movie I’ve ever been in and I can’t believe I’m in it. So I just thought about this day, I actually thought about the day when the film came out because as you can tell, I’m kind of a pessimist when it comes to these things.
Lewis Black: Apparently – I found out – I was like the first one cast so I was really the tipping point as soon as the others heard I was in it, they couldn’t wait to be with me.
Bill Hader: Yes, they said, “You wanna be in a Lewis Black movie?” And I went “Yes.” And they said. “You got to go out to Pixar.” “Oh Pixar is doing it, oh boy.”
Lewis Black: But they did send me a box – I have to say they showed – you never see this in this city or really in this industry, but the humility that is really almost psychotic because they sent me a box of stuff with a letter in which they said that I may not know who Pixar is –which meant that they were crazy or they thought I was just some sort of a recluse. So they said that they had this role of Anger –well, that fit – and would I be interested in it? Maybe if I didn’t know them, then they sent me all their stuff; all these things that I’ve seen. They sent me everything and a big nice book – I think I made out better than any of you and I leapt on it but they also sent me – and I’ve said before – they sent me about a 20 page kind of what they were thinking, a kind of a rough draft of the script and I read it and I said, “Oh my God, this is going to be a flop and I’m going to be in the worst thing that they’ve ever done and maybe they’ll be something to that in its own special way.” Then I went out there and they’ve already done 12000 changes and I went “OH yeah you’re an idiot Lewis.” And the rest – Like she said – this is crazy what’s going on here.
Mindy Kaling: Well that is really true, it’s almost if Pixar and Pete and Jonas in the experience of working with them it’s like dating a guy. It’s like this really well raised guy that doesn’t know he looks like Tom Brady and has the title of Tom Brady and it’s just like – and we did these other movies and we have these other things and you’re like “I’m in”. I wanna just make you happy and you feel so honored to be with you and you say to your friends like – because they don’t have to be that way frequently, much less wonderful organizations teeming with talent treat you much worse and so you’re kind of like “This is great, how do I take advantage of this? It’s really wonderful.”
Bill Hader: They act like it’s a real privilege that they get to do their jobs. It’s like they can’t believe they get to do what they do which is really nice.
Mindy Kaling: Yes and I don’t know if that was so great – you know, a lot of the people hear we have to create our own opportunities or we enjoy doing that, being the orchestrator of own projects and to be part of something where you don’t have to, they want you to collaborate but you need to because the standard of excellence is so high, it’s such a treat.
I can’t get over how humble the entire cast is. They truly are honored to have been a part of making this film. When you do interviews and they go even better than you expected it always leaves you at a happy place. These guys love doing their job and are just fantastic people!
What do you see in yourself that makes it perfect that you play the characters that Pete Docter and the rest of the team wanted you to play?
Mindy Kaling: The character Disgust has a lot of qualities of a very impatient, judgmental adolescent girl and because I seem to be recurring in playing that role over and over again in my career – she just says the things I say on a really bad day – the thing I really wanna say but then don’t say it. Basically, in my mind the parenthetical role or her lines is “I can’t, I can’t with this;” it’s just like what she’s always thinking.
Lewis Black: For me it’s just that I’ve spent – my family argued all the time, that’s what we did, that was the way we expressed love and it’s always been so – that kind of anger is always kind of being a part of me and my mother couldn’t cook.
Amy Poehler: Well, I think there are some characteristics of Joy – like just maybe some unrelenting energy and bossiness perhaps that Pete, Jonas and Ronnie thought I could pull off, maybe from the other characters that I’ve played and I do think she just likes living in the moment and maybe like to think that I do that too, but I aspire to be more like Joy and I think that characters in the film get all of the range of emotions. Everybody feels anger, fear, sadness, joy; each in their own journey. Bill?
Bill Hader: I think yes, I’m a big whimp, I don’t know. I guess he needs to play Fear.
Phyllis Smith: Likewise I’m just a mess and I’m a real sad sack. I sit around and mope all day and I think they saw that effervescent side of me and decided to hone in on it. No, it’s actually my insecurities that I think they – you know, those little quirks that I have – that Pete was able to glean out of me so – yes.
Q: Of course, the movie is all about feelings and memories, what is a core memory that you have as performer or writer or producer?
Mindy Kaling: Sure, first I’d just like to say that the idea of a core memory – if that something that Pete and Jonas and Ronnie in this movie is making this movie that people say and talk about because if before they named it I didn’t know it, but there are such things as core memory and that’s what so enjoyable about the movie as you’re watching. You’re like “Thank you for putting a name on that now I know.” For me my core memory was that my mother who was my absolute best friend – she was an OB/GYN – when I was very little I would have that thing with my brothers, right? Competitive about spending time with her alone like one on one; that was so important to me, that no one would be around except the two of us.
And she came back from work and she was in her scrubs and she had spent the night at the hospital and she had – I grew up in Boston – she had brought home Dunkin Donuts and she had a jelly donut which I’ve never seen as a kid and I sat on her lap in the kitchen and we shared it a jelly donut; so it was like everything I ever wanted in the world was just undivided attention from my mother and to be exposed to this new delicious sweet filled with another sweet. So that to me is like such an important core memory.
Q: As you all just have shown, you have an excellent experience with improvisation and I was wondering if you had that opportunity in the recording studio to improvise on the characters and the dialogs and if so how much of that made it into the final cut?
Bill Hader: We all record by our self so that’s – you know, we’re just alone. Actually, Mindy and I figured this out that we’re all actually reading with Pete usually so in the movie, we’re all just responding to Pete. All our characters were basically talking to Pete. I remember there was a part in the movie where I go up – were I said, “I’m taking the coward’s way out,” and I go up a thing. That was in the room and I remember Ronnie del Carmen who’s a genius. Ronnie del Carmen boarded out the sequence in Up, showing the relationship between the two people – we’re talking about that and he’s looking at me just drawing and he goes “So like that?” And he just drew it out the way you see it. It was unreal. I was like “Yes, something like that” and he just did it.
Inside Out Opens on Friday June 19th!
ollow all the action for even MORE upcoming PIXAR Behind The Scenes News from the #InsideOutEvent which I’ll be sharing with you right up until the movie is out!
***Disclosure: I attended #InsideOutEvent My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney All opinions are 100% mine. ***