Jamie Foxx to Be Pixar’s First Black Lead in ‘Soul’

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BY August 31, 2019

Director Pete Docter announced the voice cast for his next film, Pixar’s feature Soul, at D23 last weekend. As Pixar movies don’t exactly have a track record of being terrible, every new film is cause for excitement. But this film has some special details. Here’s everything we know.

What It’s About

Jamie Foxx voices middle school teacher Joe, whose dream is to play onstage at the Half Note jazz club. (FYI: The club is a cartoon analogue for the real life Blue Note club in New York City.) One day, he finally gets his chance. However, after he leaves the club following rehearsal, he falls through a manhole and dies. Yeah, it sounds like pretty dark stuff, but this is a Pixar film, so there’s a catch.

And the catch is, he goes to the “You Seminar,” where souls learn to be “all the things that make you, you.” While at You, he meets another soul, 22, who’s voiced by Tina Fey. 22 has no interest in going back to earth and consequently, has been at the seminar for a century. Other voices include Phylicia Rashad as Joe’s mom Libba, Daveed Diggs as Paul, and Ahmir-Khalib Thompson (Questlove) as Curly. So not only is this the first Pixar film with a black lead, but it’s also the first one with a predominately black cast.

By the way, if this plot summary reminds you a bit of Inside Out, there’s a good reason for that. Docter, who wrote this story with Mike Jones, also created the story for Inside Out and is one of the credited writers. Incidentally, Docter won Oscars for both Inside Out and Up. And yes, he wrote the latter film, too, so you’re probably going to cry.

All About Soul Music

As the film is about an aspiring jazz musician, you can expect to hear a lot of it in the film. On that note–no pun intended–Jon Batiste will be handling that. He’s known for his solo music, his band Stay Human, and his role on the New Orleans-based HBO series Treme. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross will also be scoring the film. They won an Oscar for their The Social Network score, but of course, Reznor is most famous for Nine Inch Nails.

Soul will hit theaters on June 19, 2020. Will you be there?

 

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Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. She now splits her time between the Appalachian wilds (of Alabama) and the considerably more refined streets of New York City. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf.

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