Posted on Thursday, June 18th, 2015 by Germain Lussier
“We’ve done outer space, we’ve done the ocean, but the biggest set we’ve ever created is inside the mind of an 11 year old girl.” That’s Pete Docter, the co-writer and director of Inside Out, the latest film from Pixar. As Docter says, the film is set in the mind of an 11-year-old girl, giving the filmmakers an infinite canvas to work on, which was both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is the absolute creative freedom. The curse is there’s so much freedom, it’s hard to keep things focused, and one small change can affect the entire movie.
Over the course of the better part of a decade, Inside Out took many forms before the final version that hits theaters this weekend. And below, Docter, along with producer Jonas Rivera and star Bill Hader, told us about some ideas they had for the film, but then never made it in. Read about the alternate Inside Out ideas below.
1. Riley’s Location and Thanksgiving
In the film, Riley grows up in Minnesota and moves to San Francisco when her dad gets a new job. That wasn’t always the case:
Pete Docter: You know, we had Riley initially growing up in San Francisco. She hadn’t moved….And she was part of a Thanksgiving Day pageant. That was one version of the story as she was growing older, she was gunning for the prized role of the turkey pageant, the turkey. And that was so bizarre and didn’t really work.
2. Joy and Fear not Joy and Sadness
The bulk of Inside Out shows Joy and Sadness, separated from the other three emotions, trying to get back to “headquarters.” But for a long time, it was Joy and another character who were the main characters of the film:
Pete Doctor: We had Joy paired with Fear for a long time. [The point was] really giving Joy someone to bounce off of and knock heads with that would change her mind about where she stands. It ended up Fear didn’t really provide that so we rejiggered the whole thing to make it about Sadness.
Bill Hader: It was better for the movie. It made more sense to be honest, ’cause Joy and Sadness are more polar opposite. And they were more interesting to go on the journey together ’cause the movie can’t be, “You can have Joy in your life, but you also need to have some Fear in your life.” You know what I mean? Sadness and Joy go hand in hand. I don’t think Joy and Fear go hand in hand. Joy and Sadness have to work together. Where Fear and Disgust and Anger are kind of these other emotions that really rule you when you’re an adolescent. So no, I didn’t think twice about [the change]. When they pitched it as Sadness and I went “Oh that’s great. That makes so much more sense.”