Press Conference: Disney/Pixar’s ‘Luca’

Coming up for release on Disney+ this June 18th, is Disney and Pixar’s latest oeuvre, Luca.

LUCA poster

Set in the beautiful Italian Riviera, Luca tells the tale of a timid young sea monster who yearns to know more about the forbidden world on land.

His life’s boundaries expand dramatically when he makes the acquaintance of Alberto, a fellow sea monster with apparently none of the insecurities or self-censoring qualities that plague Luca.  The friendship the two forge one magical summer leads them into adventure and peril and changes their futures forever.

©Disney/Pixar

To discuss more about the characters of Luca and what it all means, a panel of cast and creatives met for a virtual press conference.  In attendance were Jacob Tremblay (voice of “Luca”), Jack Dylan Grazer (voice of “Alberto”), Maya Rudolph (voice of “Daniela,” Luca’s mother), Jim Gaffigan (voice of “Lorenzo,” Luca’s father), Emma Berman (voice of “Giulia”), Enrico Casarosa (Director), and Andrea Warren (Producer).

© Disney | Pixar

Press Conference highlights:

The Characters

Tremblay on Luca:  “So, when you get to meet him at the beginning of the movie, Luca, he’s a bit more of a timid kid.  He really wants to be able to explore the human world, but his parents have a lot of restrictions for him.  But he meets his great friend Alberto, who helps him kind of step out of his comfort zone.”

Grazer on Alberto:  “I think the aspect of curiosity is across both of them, but Alberto definitely has got no restrictions.  He’s so eager, and he’s so yearning to explore and fulfill all these fantasies and curiosities that he has.”

LUCA © Disney | Pixar

Grazer on “Silencio Bruno”:  “I think it’s one of the most crucial things you could ever learn in your life.  It’s just, like, the elimination of doubt.  I got rid of my Bruno eons ago.  I haven’t had a Bruno for years.”

Moderator:  “So, explain.  So, basically, Bruno is that voice in the head that discourages you, right?”

Grazer:  “Basically.  I mean, I myself have always been a really impulsive decision-maker.  Like, there’s two ways that things could go:  There’s terrible, or it could be wonderful.  And I choose not to think long enough about the thing to think about how terrible it could be.

“And it might end up being a terrible decision, but I’m hoping for wonderful.”

Berman on Giulia:  “She’s a very strong character.  She’s determined, and she’s hardworking and genuine, and intense.  But she’s also awkward, and quirky, and goofy.  And I had a really fun time playing her because I relate to her in a lot of ways.  That we’re both passionate about what we do, and we’re also very, like, excited and joyful people.”

LUCA sea monster design

Rudolph on Daniela:  “She’s a very serious mom.  She’s not messing around, and that, to me, instantly in this movie’s case, just equals love.  That protection, that strong discipline is love and wanting to raise her family right.

“And there’s a certain way that Luca’s family is meant to do things, and she wants to raise her son the correct way.  But what you come to learn about her, is that she also is really protecting him from what she already knows to be dangerous in the world.  And, you know, just like any parent, she’s a fierce, fierce protector, which some might say is tough love, but I mean, I think she gets all the passes.  Because you know she loves her son.  There’s no question.

“…I think deep down, she knows her son is probably going to explore. But she’s just trying to protect him because it’s the scariest thing in the world to let your babies run out in the world and explore.  And even though you know they need to, it’s terrifying, you know?  And, I think all parents go through that at some point.  It might be one of the most terrifying aspects of having children, is knowing that they have to go out into the world, and yet just kinda holding on for that.  Like, it’s less about your child than it is about what the dangers of the world are.”

Gaffigan on Lorenzo:  “I think Lorenzo is, well-intended, but definitely distracted, and I think that most parenting partnerships, it’s a negotiation on how to raise a child.  So, I kinda played Lorenzo…I mean, I’m kind of overwhelmed, hopefully well-intended as a parent.  And so, I kinda brought that in and I think he might be–Lorenzo might be distracted, but he’s not disinterested.”

The Takeaway Messages

Warren:  “I think it’s amazing to have such a wide audience around the world, and we do think a lot about the messages that are in the film…for me, that notion of the meaning of friendship really resonated.  And I think they are a few really beautiful themes in the film, one being sort of ‘Silencio Bruno,’ and how we all have these inner critics and how you sort of overcome that sense of doubt.  And, you know, Enrico and I keep saying, you surround yourself in life with some Albertos.”

A small notes review meeting with Pixar creative leaders and Luca production members takes place in the Steve Jobs Building atrium after the audience preview screening, including Producer Andrea Warren, Executive Producer Kiri Hart and VP of Production Jonas Rivera, on November 14, 2020 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

Grazer:  “I think, honestly, the overarching message in this film is being comfortable in your skin and not dressing the part for anybody but yourself, and just being at peace with your authentic self.  Not having to hide, or be ashamed of who you truly were born to shine as.  And also finding the right friend who can lift you up and help you evolve in that way.”

Berman:  “I mean, there’s so many incredible messages that this movie tells and shares, but I think one thing that we can all learn from Giulia is how she just keeps trying.  She joins the Portorosso cup every single year, and she doesn’t win, she just keeps pushing, and for me, that relates.  Like, keep auditioning for acting. Don’t get a job, keep auditioning.  Don’t get that job, keep auditioning.  And I think that we can all take that into our personal lives no matter how old we are or what our careers are.”

In case you missed it, here’s the trailer for Luca:

Luca debuts exclusively on Disney+ on June 18, 2021, with a special engagement at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

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Jeanine resides in Southern California, pursuing the sort of lifestyle that makes her the envy of every 11-year-old she meets. She has been to every Disney theme park in the world and while she finds Tokyo DisneySea the Fairest Of Them All, Disneyland is her Home Park... and there is no place like home.

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