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Pixar's newest animated feature, Cars 3, is very nearly here, but it may not be quite as fascinating as the short film that will accompany it. Pixar's next short is entitled Lou and there's a very good chance that it will be the thing you remember after you see Cars 3 later this month. Not only was I able to see Lou in its entirety early, but I got a deep dive into the process of making the short, and learned a great deal of interesting information about its production.
Lou is a creature made up of all the items that end up in a lost & found box at an elementary school, who does battle with a school bully who likes to steal things from other kids. It's got all of Pixar's heart but it's also got some of the most amazing animation we've ever seen from Pixar. Here are some of the interesting details about the production of Lou.
It Was Delayed Because of The Good Dinosaur
While Pixar's shorts are one of the things the studio is best known for, features are the priority. Since Pixar doesn't have an unlimited number of people, shorts will occasionally shut down entirely for a period of time so that the animators working on it can focus on something else. In the case of Lou, production was halted entirely for about six months so that attention could be given to The Good Dinosaur. Only once that movie was over did the team have a chance to get back to Lou. We very likely would have seen Lou much sooner otherwise.
One of the Main Characters Was Inspired by Crazy, Stupid, Love
While the name of the short is Lou, the apparent name of the creature made up of items from a lost & found box, it is just as much a story about a school bully named J.J. as it is the creature. The design team looked at several films trying to find inspiration for the bully character, like Scott Farkus from A Christmas Story, and even Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Eventually, they found their emotional core in Jonah Bobo's character of Robbie from Crazy, Stupid, Love. Bobo had a look which outwardly reflected confidence, while also intimating an inward vulnerability which is exactly the combination they were going for.
J.J.'s Final Design Was Borrowed From Inside Out
When you get to see the bully J.J. for the first time in Lou, he might look vaguely familiar if you're an avid Pixar fan. That's because much of the visual design of the character was taken from one of the classmates in Riley's new school in Inside Out. By "borrowing" a character that had already been designed, the production team was able to save a lot of time as compared to having design something entirely new from scratch. As far as we know, J.J. isn't actually the same character that was in Inside Out, although, all Pixar movies are allegedly connected, so...
The Composer Of Frozen Scored The Film In A Very Unusual Way
Christophe Beck is one of the most accomplished composers for film and television working today. Director Dave Mullins thought Beck's sensibilities were perfect for the music in Lou. Beck, for his part, and a fairly unusual idea for recording the music. He had the percussion recorded in the round meaning that each note was played by a different percussionist, one after the other. It took the musicians hours to get the coordination right so that the music was recorded properly, but it resulted in a unique and special theme.
Lou Was Greenlit Because It Would Be So Hard To Do
Director Dave Mullins spent a long time working on the idea that eventually became Lou. To help sell his idea to Pixar, Mullins wife, a stop motion animator, designed a maquette of Lou, made up of all his various parts to be used during the pitch meeting. When Pixar head John Lasseter saw the maquette, he was inspired by the complexity. According to Mullins, Lasseter said...
This character looks like a pain in the ass to do, let's make it
The animation of Lou is truly something special. Every individual piece of him looks to be animated separately, and yet it all comes together to form a cohesive creature. See the new short ahead of Cars 3 on June 16.