When it comes to Pixar's next film, Luca, we're looking into sea monsters. However, this is Pixar, and that means when it comes to "monsters," we're not talking anything too scary looking. While Pixar movies might challenge what kind of emotional story points adults and children can handle, they aren't often scary visually. Last month, we got to do an early press day for Luca, and we got to see 30 minutes of footage from the movie. The word "monster" got thrown around a lot when it comes to describing the sea creatures but also the humans. During a Q&A with director Enrico Casarosa and producer Andrea Warren, we got the chance to ask about the design of the sea monsters and how you walk that line of making them look monster-ish without making them too scary for a younger audience. We also got to see a bunch of concept art for the monsters themselves, which Disney and Pixar have sent over for us to share.
"That's interesting. It isn't something we really delved into," Casarosa explained. "It might be just a bit how I draw. We kind of started in a place where there was some cuteness. I honestly wasn't too worried. I mean, I guess it's just not my sensibility, to be honest, to go to something truly, truly scary. Or draw something slimy. I think it's a bit of a preference, and I thought that it could still be fantastical but appealing. And that's a little bit how we kind of came to this design. I was thinking a little more about their characteristics. I love the idea of that, for example, Luca's all eyes because he's curious.
"And that's actually a little something that I did in the La Luna short, too, where there was another curious character that is looking at the world," he continued. "And we are looking at the world through their eyes. So those were some of the factors that kind of brought that in. There's definitely one scary sea monster, but that one, which you might've seen in the 30 minutes with the Uncle Ugo, the one that we wanted to make as scary as possible to make it as dreadful as possible for Luca to have; to go with him."
Uncle Ugo is very much based on deep-sea creatures, and anyone who has spent five minutes googling that knows that we don't need to elaborate on the weird stuff you find there. Warren continued that the theme of what is and isn't a monster plays into the theme of Luca.
"I think there's also an interesting theme in the film," she said. "Which is that both sides kind of refer to the other as 'monsters.' You know, the humans say they're sea monsters, and the sea creatures say, you know, they're land monsters. And I think that is a part of, you know, the theme of the film, which is that they really aren't monsters. Neither one of them are. And if they get to know each other more and appreciate each other for what they are and what they can learn from each other, they'll discover they aren't monsters. So, I think that was also part of them not looking like monsters is that, ultimately, we didn't want that to be true of either side."
The footage from Luca that we got to see looked really, really awesome, and it's a shame that we're not going to get the chance to see this movie on the big screen. However, it looks like the perfect movie for families to hide inside during the hot summer months, and maybe, down the line, Disney can do some sort of Pixar double feature with Luca and Soul on the big screen as a limited release so fans can see these movies the way they were intended.
Summary: Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Disney and Pixar's original feature film "Luca" is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta, and endless scooter rides. Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from another world just below the water's surface.
Luca, directed by Academy Award® nominee Enrico Casarosa ("La Luna") and produced by Andrea Warren ("Lava," "Cars 3"), stars Jacob Tremblay ("Room," "Wonder") lends his voice to Luca Paguro, a bright and inventive 13-year-old sea monster with endless curiosity—especially when it comes to the mysterious world above the sea, Jack Dylan Grazer ("We Are Who We Are," "Shazam") voices Alberto Scorfano, an independent, free-spirited teenage sea monster with unbridled enthusiasm for the human world, Emma Berman provides the voice of Giulia, an outgoing and charming adventurer who befriends Luca and Alberto, Maya Rudolph ("Bridesmaids," "Saturday Night Live," "Big Mouth") voices Daniela, Luca's mother, Marco Barricelli voices Massimo, Giulia's father, and Jim Gaffigan ("The Pale Tourist," "Troop Zero") voices Lorenzo, Luca's father. It will stream to Disney+ on June 18, 2021.