Pixar, the animation giant known for crafting heartwarming and visually stunning stories, is gearing up to release a new film that promises to be a breath of fresh air in the world of animation. “Elemental,” directed by Peter Sohn, introduces audiences to an enchanting world where the unexpected becomes the norm. What sets this Pixar venture apart from many others is not only its imaginative storyline but also its commitment to casting for talent over celebrity status. Leading the charge are two exceptionally gifted actors, Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie, who lend their voices to the film’s main characters, Ember Lumen and Wade Ripple, respectively.
Breaking free from the traditional casting norms of Hollywood, this film has opted for talent over celebrity status, promising a captivating experience for audiences. To delve deeper into this exciting venture, Collider’s Steve Weintraub sat down with the voices behind the film’s main characters, Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie, who play Ember Lumen and Wade Ripple, respectively.
The Journey to Pixar
Both Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie had their share of moments when they found out they had landed roles in a Pixar production. The sheer elation and awe of being part of a legendary studio like Pixar were palpable in their words. It’s a dream come true for any actor to be a part of a Pixar film, and these two talented individuals were no exception.
Recording Booth Adventures
The process of bringing animated characters to life is fascinating, often taking place within the confines of a recording booth. For Lewis and Athie, this was an adventure filled with creative exploration. They shared the challenges and joys of giving voice to their characters and bringing depth to their performances. From capturing emotions to the nuances of character development, the recording booth became a playground for their artistic expressions.
The Unique Challenge of Efforts
One aspect of voice acting that might surprise many is the challenge of performing efforts, those grunts, gasps, and yells characters make during intense scenes. Lewis and Athie discussed the intricacies of these efforts and how they strived to make them as authentic as possible. It’s a testament to their dedication to the craft, ensuring that every aspect of their performances resonates with audiences.
Peter Sohn’s Vision
Working with director Peter Sohn was a remarkable experience for both actors. They described him as a director who is both gentle and fearless in pursuing his vision for the film. Sohn’s approach to storytelling and character development resonated deeply with Lewis and Athie, allowing them to connect with their characters on a profound level.
The Enchanting World of “Elemental”
“Elemental” takes place in the bustling Element City, a world where Ember, voiced by Leah Lewis, navigates her identity as a Fire-Elemental while helping her father in their family shop. Everything changes when she crosses paths with Wade, portrayed by Mamoudou Athie, a free-spirited individual who opens up new horizons for Ember. Their unlikely friendship sparks creativity and self-discovery, setting the stage for a captivating adventure.
“Elemental” is set in the vibrant and bustling Element City. Ember, a second-generation immigrant, assists her father Bernie, played by Ronnie del Carmen, in their family shop. Proudly embracing her identity as a Fire-Elemental, Ember is ready to take the reins of the family business. However, her life turns unexpectedly when she crosses paths with the easygoing Wade. Despite their stark differences, a friendship blossoms, opening new horizons for Ember and igniting her creative spirit. The film also boasts an ensemble of talented voice actors, including Shila Ommi as Ember’s mother, Cinder, Wendi McLendon-Covey as Wade’s boss, Gale, and Catherine O’Hara as Wade’s mother, Brook.
In the interview, Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie glimpse their thrilling journey of being cast in a Pixar film. They share the sheer joy and excitement of landing these pivotal roles and shed light on what goes on behind the scenes in the recording booths. The conversation also touches upon the challenges of delivering authentic performances, especially regarding exertion sounds. Both actors express their admiration for director Peter Sohn, describing him as gentle and fearless in his pursuit of realizing his vision for the film.
“Elemental” promises to be a groundbreaking addition to Pixar’s illustrious catalog. With a focus on talent and a commitment to telling a compelling and heartwarming story, this film is set to captivate audiences of all ages. Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie’s insights into their experiences provide a sneak peek into the magic that awaits viewers when they enter the world of “Elemental.”