'Luca' First Look: Pixar's New Film Is Coming-Of-Age Riff On 'The Little Mermaid'

Some of Pixar's greatest masterpieces come from simple existential questions: What if toys could talk? What if feelings had feelings? What if pre-born souls could walk this Earth? The animation studio's next film asks a more niche question: What if The Little Mermaid was given a coming-of-age twist? Luca, the vibrant Italian Rivera-set film helmed by La Luna director Enrico Casarosa, answers that latter question with a film that more or less looks like a family-friendly take on Call Me By Your Name, right down to that Timothée Chalamet-inspired coif that one character wears in the new first-look image. See the Luca first look below.

Luca First Look

Empire debuted the first look at Luca, the feature directorial debut of Casarosa after the filmmaker was nominated for an Oscar for his exquisite short film La LunaAndrea Warren (LavaCars 3) produces the film, which is set on the coast of Italy at the height of summer and follows the central character Luca and his friend Alberto, as they romp around the Italian seaside. But here is the mythic twist: Luca and Alberto are actually sea creatures who appear human on dry land, but become fish-like creatures underwater. It's a "Little Mermaid riff," Empire describes, as "the pair get to experience life up where they walk, run, and stay all day in the sun – befriending a human girl along the way."

The film is "deeply personal to Casarosa, who based it on his own childhood growing up in the Italian Riveria, albeit with fewer magical fish friends.

"I was born in Genoa, and my summers were spent on beaches," Casarosa told Empire. "I met my best friend when I was 11. I was really shy and I found this troublemaker of a kid who had a completely different life. I wanted to make a movie about those kinds of friendships that help you grow up." According to the director, the result is a Pixar film that pays homage to Fellini and other classic Italian filmmakers, with a dash of Miyazaki in the mix too. It sounds like the cinematic summer blast we'll all be desperate for when winter finally ends.

It sounds like another wholly unique entry from Pixar, which recently delivered one of their best films with Pete Docter's existential Soul, and Luca looks like it has beautiful, warm visuals that rival anything we've seen from the studio. The animation style looks more along the lines of equally vibrant films like Coco rather than the hyper-realism of Soul, but it fits the fantastical fable that the movie is set to tell.

Pixar's Luca is slated to arrive on June 18, 2021.