Mumbai, Jun 23 (PTI) Director Enrico Casarosa, who made his directorial debut with Pixar’s latest computer-animated film 'Luca', says he is drawn towards stories about kids as it gives him an opportunity to reflect on his childhood.
The Italian filmmaker previously worked as a story artist on hit Disney animation movies 'Cars', “Coco”, “Incredibles 2”, “Toy Story 4”.
'What I like about kids is the sense of wonder and the light that they can bring because there's something about that age where we're a little more in the natural world and we wanted to just feel that summer. That's what interests me.
'Most of the stories I have are about little kids and I love to go back to that place. We all have that little kid a bit in us. I love stories that make me feel like a kid again,” the 49-year-old director told PTI during a group interview on Zoom.
With 'Luca', Casarosa explores a coming-of-age adventure of 13-year-old boy Luca (voiced by Jacob Tremblay) living on the Italian Riviera, who with his new friend, Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) are hiding a secret: they are both sea monsters from a world below the water's surface.
The film was released on Disney+ Hotstar Premium on June 18.
Casarosa said the story idea came from his own childhood and the bond he shared with his best friend, Alberto.
'Alberto was a bit of a troublemaker, while I was very timid and shy. He pushed me out of my comfort zone, pushed me off many cliffs, metaphorically and not. 'I probably would not be here if I didn’t learn to chase my dreams from him. It’s these types of deep friendships that I wanted to talk about in ‘Luca’,” he added.
While 'Luca' is set in Italy and explores the country's culture, the director said there were certain elements they borrowed from the Japanese folklore.
'There are a few different tales from all over Italy like the dragon or the story of a bell-ringing octopus that saved a village from pirates, there is an old legend of Colapesce and legends in Sicily. 'Then there is Japanese folklore and I've always been really fascinated by that. There was folklore about foxes that can transform to look like humans.' Casarosa said there will be moments in the story when 'Luca' would appear unpolished but that was actually intentional.
'We have to chase spontaneity with the kids. When you animate the performance a lot of it comes from the recording. We wanted to get a naturalistic vibe with some little imperfections. I love the idea of leaving things that don't feel too polished.
'Hence we wanted to be playful with animation. We record these things so separately, it's a little harder to feel spontaneity,' he added.
Producer Andrea Warren, who has earlier backed movies like 'Lava' and 'Cars 3', said the team had only one aim in mind -- to show an authentic story about Italy and children.
'It's so much more fun to be in the woods and think maybe there are fairies here. We try to create something that is authentic, I mean emotionally authentic and also an authentic place and time. We put a lot of effort into creating a world,' she said.
'In this case ('Luca') we wanted it to be authentic to Italy, to the time period. We put a lot of energy into making the buildings look right in this age, the posters in the town, the Italian words, food and the people,' she added. Produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 'Luca' also voice stars Maya Rudolph, Marco Barricelli, Jim Gaffigan and Peter Sohn. PTI KKP RB RDS RDS