For the first time, Pixar is releasing a film with a black lead actor, according to CNN. The name of the movie is Soul and it stars Jamie Foxx alongside Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, and Questlove. Soul, which is co-directed by two-time Academy Award winner Pete Doctor and Kemp Powers, is about a middle school band teacher named Joe Gardner, voiced by Foxx, whose real passion is playing jazz. After Gardner falls into a manhole, he ends up in a mystical place and he’s just a soul.
According to The Walt Disney Co. site, Soul introduces Joe Gardner, a middle-school band teacher whose true passion is playing jazz. “I think Joe is having that crisis that all artists have,” says Powers. “He’s increasingly feeling like his lifelong dream of being a jazz musician is not going to pan out and he’s asking himself ‘Why am I here? What am I meant to be doing?’ Joe personifies those questions.”
The film is set in New York City—inviting filmmakers to capture everything they love about the city of dreams. “I was born and raised in New York,” says Powers. “This is the first time Pixar has gone to my hometown and I’ve been so impressed by the amount of energy that goes into making sure that everything is right. When the character’s in Queens, it looks like he’s in Queens. When he’s in Manhattan, it looks like he’s in Manhattan. It’s pretty incredible.”
Disney and Pixar’s “Soul” is slated to open in theaters on June 19, 2020. The film is produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray. Globally renowned musician Jon Batiste is bringing original jazz music for the film, and Oscar winners Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are creating an original score to match.
The studio released the trailer for Soul last week. Watch it below.