'Luca' Team On The Disney+ Pixar Film's Theme Of Both Self And Community Acceptance
Photo Credit: Disney/Pixar

'Luca' Team On The Disney+ Pixar Film's Theme Of Both Self And Community Acceptance

We are continuing to approach the release of Disney and Pixar’s s latest animated film, Luca, which will drop on Disney+ later this summer. The coming-of-age fantasy film is set and Italy and its all-star voice cast includes Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Marco Barricelli, Saverio Raimondo, Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan.

The official description of the film reads, “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.”

Shadow and Act attended a presentation on the film and press conference featuring director Enrico Casarosa and producer Andrea Warren. Press members were also shown footage from the film to get an understanding of what’s to come.

One thing that Casarosa and Warren were asked about is the potential timeliness of the film. Disney is no stranger at attempts to weave social commentary into their animated films, with the most notable of projects being 2016’s Zootopia from Walt Disney Animation Studios. Perhaps there are similar parallels in Luca when it comes to the sea monsters. This type of commentary could especially timely given the prejudice against minority communities over the past year.

Warren explained, “I think that we liked the idea always that the metaphor of being a sea monster can apply to so many different things. You haven’t seen the third act and we don’t wanna give away any spoilers, but there is a theme of openness and showing oneself and self-acceptance as well as community acceptance. Confronting the idea that there’s more to sea monsters than they realize. You know that they’ve only seen it through one perspective, one lens, and so I think that that’s a wonderful theme in the film, which is that those ideas weren’t right and that there’s more to learn. So, I do find that, a really useful and hopefully helpful metaphor for all the things that are going on.

“We hope that sea monster could be a metaphor for all sorts of feeling different…like being a teen or preteen,” Casarosa added. “That moment where you feel odd. There are all sorts of ways of feeling different. It felt like a wonderful way to talk about that and having to accept ourselves first, whatever way we feel different.”

Casarosa also addressed the Call Me By Your Name similarities that some people pointed out in the trailer and revealed if this could be Disney/Pixar’s story about queer characters.

‘I was really keen to talk about a friendship before girlfriends and boyfriends come in to complicate things,” he said.  Interestingly, even narratively, once Giulia comes into the picture and we looked at the structure of it, sometimes the story would pull you toward some puppy love or romance, and to be completely honest, I wanted to talk about friendships. So, we really said, “Well, this is that moment before those things come in to complicate the picture. So, that was really never our plan and this was about their friendship in that pre-puberty world.”

Luca begins streaming on Disney+ on June 18.

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

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