Among the announcements made at the last Disney D23 event two years ago was word of Up director Pete Docter’s next project, then called The Untitled Pixar Film That Takes You Inside The Mind. We’ve known for a while that it’s been titled Inside Out and today Docter announced the main cast for the movie, with Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, Lewis Black and Phyllis Smith on board.
Inside Out is set within the noggin of Riley, an 11 year-old girl who has moved with her family to San Francisco. As she sets out to make new friends, audiences will go inside her mind to explore how memories are formed and how a mixture of five emotions – Joy (Poehler), Disgust (Kaling), Anger (Black), Fear (Hader) and Sadness (Smith) – defines life experiences.
Hader’s casting comes on the heels of announcements that he’ll also be in The Good Dinosaur and reprise his Monsters University Slug character for a new short based on the film, Party Central, which will play before Dinosaur.
We got a chance to talk to Smith following the presentation asked what Sadness gets up to in the film. “She plays opposite Amy's Joy a lot, she's her nemesis,” says the actress. “Joy is one of the emotions who is always driving Riley forward, and I'm always the downer trying stop everyone doing anything.”
Though it might seem a backhanded compliment to be told you’re what the filmmakers pictured when they wanted someone to voice pure sadness, Smith was quick to sign on. “Absolutely, I did. They told me that they heard my voice in Bad Teacher, and there was one scene in the lunchroom that they liked.”
And her first visit to the Emeryville studio was far from sad, especially given how many people there are fans of her work on the US version of The Office. “It was so fun! They flew me up there and everybody was saying, ‘Hi, Phyllis! Can we take a picture?’ It took me aback in a nice way. I didn't know what it was about."
Finally, while she’s still in the early stages of working on the film, she got a great introduction to voice acting. “It was terrific. I worked with Amy Poehler last Sunday, and she's wonderful. She put me at ease, actually, because I was very nervous. But fortunately nervousness and sadness go hand in hand!"
Inside Out will be released in June 2015.