Pixar turned its table lamp on its voice actors for the upcoming films The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out at the Disney fan convention D23.
The equivalent of Disney’s Comic-Con brought new revelations about the plots for the upcoming movies, which feature a dinosaur keeping a toddler human as a pet, a journey inside the workings of the human mind, and a return to the ocean for a sequel to a Pixar classic.
Disney animation czar John Lasseter also showed off footage from the films, and presided over a parade of voice talent.
Among the biggest news was that Pixar’s Finding Nemo sequel — Finding Dory — would feature Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton as the parents of Ellen DeGeneres’ forgetful fish, while Modern Family‘s Ty Burrell will voice a beluga named Bailey.
THE GOOD DINOSAUR
Pixar’s 2014 film about a world where dinosaurs never went extinct will feature an Apatosaurus family who work as farmers tilling fields to grow tree crops to feed their herbivore brethren.
Poppa and Momma will be voiced by John Lithgow and Frances McDormand, while Bill Hader voices the older brother Forrest.
Neil Patrick Harris and Judy Greer will play middle-sibling dinosaurs Cliff and Ivy, and the lead character — baby brother Arlo — will be performed by Raising Hope‘s Lucas Neff.
Pixar showed off the first footage, tracking a humongous potato-like asteroid as it hurdles through deep space on a collision course with Earth 65 million years ago, and …
A few prehistoric dinosaurs munching on some midnight snacks look up to see a blue bolt shoot across the sky and disappear.
Director Bob Peterson (a veteran story artist with the company, and the voice of Dug the Dog from Up and growling Roz from Monsters Inc.) oversees the film with co-director Pete Sohn (who voiced mama’s boy Squishy in Monsters University.)
“The modern dinosaurs are farmers,” Sohn said. “We actually designed them to function as their own farm equipment.”
Triceratops are bulldozers, the stegosauruses “have spiky tails that mow down acres of crops,” and the Apatosaurus uses its long neck and tough bill to plow and plant the fields.
While working the field one day, Arlo discovers a large beetle rustling around the ground, but there’s something strange about it. It’s actually a human toddler, in disguise. He’s a grunting, savage little boy named Spot — who can’t talk like the dinosaurs around him. He’s kind of like a found puppy, as the name suggests.
“Spot is all alone in the world,” Sohn said. “He’s not afraid of anyone — even a dinosaur 20 times taller than him.”
The film explores what happens when dinosaurs, the dominant species on Earth, discovers these strange, clever pests we would call humans.
No images were immediately released, but for now we have this piece of concept art — featuring an evolved, long-necked dinosaur (most likely Arlo) cutting the clouds while running through a mountainside plain.
When Lasseter revealed this project two years ago at the last D23 event, it was called simply “Pixar’s Untitled Project That Takes You Inside the Mind.”
Now it’s known as Inside Out, a comedy from Up director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera — and D23 finally revealed some plot details for the 2015 movie.
The movie zooms in to show the committees of emotions that run the minds of a mother, father, and an 11-year-old daughter going through a rough patch after moving to a new city.
Riley, the once happy-go-lucky pre-teen is uprooted from her pleasant life in Minnesota and thrust into a new, unwelcome existence in San Francisco. That’s when the emotions take over, much to the chagrin of her baffled parents. Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Fear (Bill Hader), Sadness (The Office‘s Phyliss Smith) and Joy (Amy Poehler) spar, collaborate, and miscommunicate with one another in an attempt to keep her functioning.
“We get to take you places everyone has thought about but nobody has seen before. Places like ‘long-term memory,'” said Docter. Other places visited include the Disneyland-esque Imaginationland and “Abstract Thought,” where emotions become Piccaso-style versions of themselves. There’s also Dream Pictures, a movie studio where dreams are produced and “The Train of Thought,” which connects all the different worlds and looks like … well, guess.
TOY STORY OF TERROR: Lasseter played the first 10 minutes of this Halloween-themed Toy Story short that will air on ABC this Oct. 16. It featured Tom Hanks’ Woody, Tim Allen’s Buzz Lightyear, Joan Cusack’s Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl, and the rest of the toy-box gang on a road trip with their little-girl owner, ending up spending the night in a roadside motel where some lost toys warn of impending doom, including a GI Joe-type action figure with a missing hand known as “Combat Carl.”
GOOD LUCK CHARM-OFF: Hader, having been announced as a performer in two new projects, took the stage dressed as a sea cucumber in a bid to lobby Finding Dory director Andrew Stanton to include him in the film. He played the slow-moving slug who (rightfully) feared being late for class in Monsters University. He said if he could get into four movies, he could be “Pixar’s good-luck charm.” The stage was promptly taken over by Cheers star John Ratzenberger — the actual Pixar good-luck charm — who voiced 14 characters in each of the Pixar films. “Never blow your own horn. Let somebody else do it for you,” Ratzenberger advised. Naturally, he was accompanied by a marching band.
Contributing: Lindsey Bahr, Amanda Taylor