April 23, 2014

D23 Expo: New ‘Inside Out’ Details Revealed, Film Could Be Pixar’s Most Brilliant Ever

Pete Docter has directed Monsters, Inc. and Up for Pixar, both of which are adored by fans and critics. When I learned he was working on a new project, I was excited to learn more. In 2011, the director shared the premise for his latest film, Inside Out, which would take us inside the human mind, later revealed to be that of a young girl. Today at the D23 Expo, Docter and Producer Jonas Rivera, delved deeper into the project, sharing brand new details and showing some mind-blowing storyboards. Read all about it after the break!

Inside Out

The female character is named Riley, and is not only a protagonist but is also the setting for the other characters such as her emotions. These emotions work together in an area of the brain known simply as “Headquarters.” Docter likened the five emotions to Disney’s seven dwarves. The emotions are able to see what the humans see, and are also able to have simple interactions with the emotions in the mind of other humans. It is a process that is difficult to describe, but somehow Docter and his team have found an effortless way to demonstrate how all of this works on screen.


The five emotions in Riley’s mind, accompanied by the voice actors who will portray them, are:

  • Anger – Lewis Black
  • Disgust – Mindy Kaling
  • Fear – Bill Hader (yes, he is in a string of Pixar films lately, as he was just announced as the voice of a character in The Good Dinosaur)
  • Joy – Amy Poehler
  • Sadness – Phyllis Smith

The story begins as Riley moves to San Francisco, which leads to troubles in her life and inside her mind. After some
escalation, Joy and Sadness are cast out of Headquarters, into the deep recesses of the mind. Other areas of the mind, which are creatively designed, include:

  • Long-Term Memory is where every memory of Riley’s is stored
  • Imagination Land, which beared a striking resemblance to Disneyland in concept art we were shown, is where fantasy is created
  • Abstract Thoughts
  • Dream Production
  • Train of Thought connects all the areas of the mind

After Joy and Sadness leave, the characters of Anger, Fear, and Disgust are running things, which predictably leads to not-so-great events. Can you imagine if you were, all of a sudden, unable to accurately feel joy? The emotion of joy is even more crucial to Riley, as it is a major part of her personality, but when Joy is thrown out of Headquarters, it leads to disastrous results, both inside Riley’s mind and in her life. From the footage that we viewed and the story details that we learned, Inside Out looks like Pixar’s most ambitious project in its 27-year history.

We were also shown some storyboards showing the emotions interacting with one another and the emotions in the mind of Riley’s parents. Confused yet? Do not worry. Docter has proven that he is up to the difficult task. Every one in the D23 Arena was laughing, some hysterically, throughout the sequence which lasted for several minutes. If the rest of the film is as good as what we saw, this could be Pixar’s most brilliant film ever, as it was also extremely well put together for how complex the mind can be. It was complex but we understood what we were watching. It was also one of the funniest scenes I have ever seen from Pixar. Sure, it is unfinished, but this film is now destined for amazing things.

Inside Out is scheduled to debut in theaters on June 19, 2015!

UPDATE: Pixar has released concept art of the five emotions, which we were shown inside the Arena. Can you guess which emotion is which?

Inside Out

About Samad Rizvi

Samad is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Pixar Times. His favorite films include The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Vertigo, Back to the Future, Children of Men, Pan's Labyrinth, and of course, Pixar's Monsters, Inc., WALL-E and Up.

  • PersonGuy

    I am INCREDIBLY excited about this cast, particularly with Amy Poehler as Joy. If you are even remotely familiar with some of her roles in film and television, you know that this is a perfect match – I could not think of a more perfect voice actress for Joy. Also, I’m ecstatic for Phyllis Smith and Mindy Kaling. But again, I cannot wait to see Amy Poehler (or, rather, hear her) in a Pixar film!

  • George Comerci

    This movie will be great!

  • Mike

    I’m kind of Pixar’d out as far as the level of their “genius”. Of their last three movies, Brave and Monster’s University were so-so ok. Cars 2 was horrible and should have gone straight to video. There’s a dinosaur one they’re putting out before this one, so we’ll see.

  • Steve C

    The premise isn’t that original. There was a sitcom on Fox in the early 90s called “Herman’s Head” based around the same concept. The characters in his psyche were slightly different. They were based on intellect, fear, compassion, and lust but again this isn’t anything that hasn’t already been explored before. Hollywood remember? The largest recycling factory on the planet *wink* *wink*

    Being that this movie is coming from Pixar it should be pretty entertaining nonetheless. Will be interesting to see how they went about crafting the psyches in creative ways.