Next Pixar Film Will Take Place Inside the Mind of an 11-Year-Old Girl


Pixar brass have broken their silence (or, you know, just started talking now because they weren’t entirely sure before) about the plot of the studio’s forthcoming animated feature, due in theaters next summer. Inside Out will take place entirely inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl, and it will tell the story of a the human brain evolving from that of a joyful child’s to a tween brain of confusion and change. And it sounds fucking incredible.

According to Variety, filmmakers consulted an array of experts on human brain development in determining the best way to dramatize the subconscious brain. Eventually, they landed on breaking base human emotions into five different characters. Anger (Lewis Black), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) who control the protagonist Riley Anderson’s mental state using a control panel “like the starship Enterprise.”

These distinct color-coded characters help Riley to process new experiences and to make memories, which are constantly being recorded within brightly colored orbs that look something like those translucent bath-bubble balls (filed away nightly and then erased in long-term storage by “Forgetters” with a vaguely Minions-like vibe). The inventive opening scene extends from the moment of Riley’ birth and the creation of her first memory to the introduction of its five main characters, ending with an encounter between Joy and Sadness where the former can’t seem to figure out Sadness’ role in the operation.

Holy shit.

While Fear, Disgust and Anger awkwardly try to keep things under control — as illustrated in a second clip set around the family dinner table which Pixar unveiled at CinemaCon in March — Joy and Sadness put aside their differences and take audiences through a tour of Riley’s thinking process. This epic road trip entails crossing such areas as Imagination Land (“a giant amusement park full of everything Riley has ever daydreamed about”), a movie studio where nightmares are made, the Train of Thought (a free-ranging locomotive that can go zooming off in any direction) and Abstract Thought — the zone Docter had the most fun translating to the screen.


The film’s director Peter Docter screened the first five minutes of Inside Out at a festival in France yesterday and said his desire to make it came from watching his own daughter grow up. Variety’s Peter Debruge says he predicts it could “change the way people think” by making people aware of subconscious ways that base emotions control our behaviors and reactions.

Because it’s from the studio that gave us Up, I also predict a big time cry fest.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin