How to sell your Soul: Pixar rediscovers its mojo in a midlife crisis
‘Inside Out’ gave its director the Oscar hit he’d always dreamt of – and an existential crisis
A month after the release of Inside Out, Pete Docter arrived back at Pixar Animation Studios with a plan in mind for his next film. The director’s two children had reached their late teens, and he had found himself in what he calls a “looking-back phase” - poring over baby pictures, and reminiscing about watching the first sparks of their personalities emerge. His next film, he thought, would follow two of those sparks: a pair of souls-in-training who are having a pre-existential crisis, but decide to face their fraught and uncertain lives on Earth side by side.
This was a strong idea with one obvious drawback; it felt an awful lot like Inside Out, in which Joy and Sadness - two emotions inside the head of an 11-year-old girl - learn to accept their differences and appreciate each other’s worth...