Pete Docter on the Personal Story That Inspired Inside Out

From the Disney Insider

Last week, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera, Inside Out director and producer respectively, to pick their brains about the making of the film.We expected to hear about the inventive character design, the dynamite cast, and whatever technological advancements Pixar has cooked up lately, but we were not planning to be floored by the personal, relatable inspiration behind Inside Out.

When Pete and Jonas set up the screening for us, Pete started talking about his daughter Elie. (Pixar fans will recognize Elie as the namesake and one of the voices for Carl’s wife inUp.) He talked about how outgoing and silly she was as a child, the friendly sort of girl who would introduce herself to strangers without fear: “Hi, I’m Elie! What’s your name?” At age 11, however, Pete observed that Elie’s “childhood joy took a vacation.” As he reflected on the changes that every parent must see in their growing children, he couldn’t help but wonder what was going on in inside her head, and thus, the world of Inside Out was born.


Anger-Fear-Sadness-Joy-and-Disgust-Inside-Out
The emotions of Inside Out look out at the world of Riley’s mind.

As Jonas explained: “The minute he pitched it about her [Elie] changing, I thought, ‘Oh gosh, I’m right behind you, man.’ My daughter’s nine now and I’m seeing it. And I thought, everyone’s either had a kid or been a kid—there’s something that will resonate with everyone. So, it really became this exercise of parenting and us three [Pete, Jonas, and co-director Ronnie del Carmen] talking ourselves through that.”

More than just an exercise in parenting, Inside Out helped Pete work through his own childhood memories. “I still have, sort of, remnant issues from having difficult times in junior high. I think to some degree that’s why I’m in animation, you know, because it was so hard talking to other people. It’s a lot easier to sit in my room and draw, because you still have something to say…so all those things kind of came together to make it a very personal film. Watching my daughter sparked memories of my own childhood.”

Elie-and-Pete-Docter-at-Up-Premiere
Pete and Elie Docter at the Up premiere.

 

To give you a sense of how long this process has been, Elie Docter is now 16. What began as an observation from Pete is now a fully developed world of the mind, complete with the starring emotions of Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. Every human in the film has this roster of five emotions, but uses them in different order, which in a simple way, explains how “childhood joy” can take the backseat as we grow up. As Pete said, “That’s what the film is about. It’s probably one of the more difficult things in our lives, is growing up.”

Inside Out will be in theaters June 19.

mm

Scott

Co-Owner / Webmaster / Business Relations / PT Writer As co-owner and co-creator of The Main Street Mouse. Working in a technical support position for 18 years, it was time for a change. As the Webmaster and Project Planner, I spend most of my time researching everything from the latest Disney News, technology advances and of course keeping up on all the Marvel news that comes out. I never considered myself a writer but I’ve come to like blogging and sharing news with all. I feel blessed everyday that I get to spend my days working with my best friend and love of my life while we continue to grow and expand what started as a hobby all those years ago.

Scott has 3658 posts and counting. See all posts by Scott

mm

Leave a Reply

The Main Street Mouse
%d bloggers like this: