The studio behind Inside Out and Toy Story 4 is ready to get existential again.
At D23 Saturday, Pixar revealed the first details from Soul, a new original feature coming in 2020 — including information about the premise and plot, and reveals of its star-studded cast.
Jamie Foxx leads the voice cast as Joe, who teaches music at a middle school but has dreamt all his life of playing at a prestigious New York jazz club called Half Note.
In footage shown exclusively at D23, we see Joe playing the piano in a rehearsal with a small jazz band, as he explains in his voiceover narration how it feels: “When I move, my only purpose on this planet is to play,” he says. “It’s what I was meant to do.”
When he pauses his playing, the whole band is staring at him, impressed, and he’s invited to come play at the Half Note.
Elated, Joe runs out of the club, and narrowly misses getting killed several times (a pile of bricks falls inches away from his head, cars and motorcycles swerve to avoid hitting him) though he doesn’t seem to notice.
Then he falls into an open manhole, and wakes up as a small glowing figure — his own soul.
The footage cuts off there, but the presenters onstage explained exactly what was going on. Joe’s soul has landed back at the You Seminar — the place where all souls start out, developing their quirks, abilities, interests, passions, and dreams, before they’re born.
While in this metaphysical realm, Joe encounters 22, voiced by Tina Fey. She’s an unborn soul who doesn’t seem much interested in ever being born — she’s been at the seminar long enough to form the opinion that life on Earth is actually terrible, stressful, noisy, and gross.
The pair team up to figure out a way to get Joe back to Earth, taking him through cosmic realms and, in the process, making him “think again about what it means to have a soul,” explained Docter.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Pixar movie without a star-studded cast. In addition to Foxx and Fey, Soul‘s includes Questlove as Curly, a drummer; Phylicia Rashad as Livia, Joe’s elegant-looking mother; and Daveed Diggs as Paul, Joe’s “neighborhood nemesis.”
And given the film’s focus on music, it’s only natural Soul‘s got some heavy-hitters involved there as well, with new music from Jon Batiste, and an original score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Soul is in theaters June 19, 2020.