In Pixar’s animated world, multicultural casting is the way to go
Actors like Mindy Kaling, Pia Shah and Ahmed Luncan (who was born in South Asia) have been part of the Pixar universe. Also, not to forget Indian-American Pixar artist Sanjay Patel’s animated short Sanjay’s Super Team, which even earned an Oscar nomination.hollywood Updated: Jun 12, 2017 08:37 IST
From Finding Dory, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur to the Cars franchise -- Kevin Reher is responsible for getting the right voices for the animated characters coming out of Pixar Animation Studios. The casting director says getting Indian talent on board is always their priority to be in sync with the “multicultural casting” principle of the Hollywood studio.
“I do voice casting and we put a number of Indian actors up for voices in the movie because we want to be kind of a company that does multicultural casting,” said Reher.
Actors like Mindy Kaling, Pia Shah and Ahmed Luncan (who was born in South Asia) have been part of the Pixar universe. Also, not to forget Indian-American Pixar artist Sanjay Patel’s animated short Sanjay’s Super Team, which even earned an Oscar nomination.
In fact, Indian actor Priyanka Chopra also lent her voice for one of the characters in Disney’s Planes, which is a spin-off of Pixar’s Cars franchise.
Reher says he doesn’t think about the business side of any film, and instead has his focus set on the story and casting. “Our job is to make movies. It is somebody else’s job to (focus on the numbers). Hopefully they (Pixar movies) are popular in India, but I don’t have numbers at my finger tips.”
Talking about India, Reher said, “I have never been to India unfortunately, but love the food.”
Apart from being a casting director, Reher, born in Bellevue, Washington, also associates with films as a producer. His tryst with Pixar studio began in 1993 when he landed work for Toy Story. He has also worked as a casting director of films like The Incredibles, Monsters University, Up, Toy Story 3, Brave and Coco.
On the production side, he started as an associate producer with Gumby: The Movie, and then followed it up with projects like A Bug’s Life, Partly Cloudy, Tales from Radiator Springs and forthcoming film Cars 3. The Disney-Pixar movie is slated to release in India on June 16.
Reher said they are very cautious about not offending any country’s culture while making a film. “We have our Disney partners in different countries. They tell us what they need, about marketing and the promotional things. When we make a movie they help us release in a country and even help us so that we are respectful (to that culture/country).”
From Fifty Shades Darker, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, The Fate of the Furious, Transformers 5, Cars 3 and two Avenger films in the pipeline -- Hollywood seems to be becoming a machine for churning out films of popular franchises.
Asked whether sticking to franchises is a safe bet to play, Reher said it is to take forward the story. “I don’t know why there are so many. But I think the reason is that people love these characters and they want to see further adventures. We talk about the challenges and they are that we don’t want to repeat ourselves. We don’t want anyone to think that ‘I just spent 12 bucks and saw what I saw two or three years ago’. It is about keeping the story fresh and telling a new version... and also getting new characters.”
Cars 3 is a fantasy world of cars where they are not just metal bodies, but talk and feel like humans. It narrates the story of racing car Lighting McQueen. This time, McQueen is facing a threat from a young sports car, and the movie is about how he works hard to retain his position.
First Published: Jun 12, 2017 08:34 IST