Disney has dropped a new teaser trailer for Pixar’s Soul, touting original song, Parting Ways, written, produced, and performed by fusion specialist Cody ChesnuTT. Director Pete Docter, co-director and screenwriter Kemp Powers and producer Dana Murray, partnered with American anthropologist/educator Dr. Johnnetta Cole and jazz pianist Jon Batiste to offer an exclusive sneak peek at the film as a part of the Essence Festival of Culture during a virtual panel titled Finding Soul.
For Batiste, who musically provided a “cosmic optimism,” his “goal was to make it authentic, as though it were a real jazz band, while also being accessible to all ages,” he said. “I wanted to make some themes that tie into the ethereal nature of the other world while still being in the Earth realm and vice versa. Trent and Atticus and I would sometimes blend the two worlds musically.”
The musical fantasy introduces Pixar’s first black protagonist, Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx), a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22 (Tina Fey), who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions.