Ready to expand your Pixar Soul? Watch 22 vs. Earth. My favorite Soul characters are Moonwind and 22. So, when I heard there was a short about 22 I was over the moon. But, did we really need it? Oh, you bet we did! Furthermore, it is set in “The Great Before” which is such a happy and calming place. I had the pleasure earlier this week to sit with director Kevin Nolting
Interview with 22 vs Earth Director Kevin Nolting
As you know, I thoroughly enjoy movie shorts. I am a big fan. Here are my thoughts on “Us Again” the last one I saw. If you want to catch it, it is featured before Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon in theaters. Naturally, I was excited about a short featuring 22. So what was going on before Joe Gadner came into the story? 22 vs Earth serves as a prequel to Soul. Since 22 has been around the block for quite some time before Joe walks into The Great Before, we get to explore that with Kevin Nolting:
From Editor to Director
This is Kevin Nolting directorial debut. He is renown as an editor and did work onPixar’s Soul. For him, taking on the role as director gives a continuum to what he does. Usually, he does work in the production and pre-production. So, to him directing feels like a natural extension Plus, as an editor, he says “we can be very judgmental and its a good exercise to be at the other end of what is being judged.”
Why a Short on 22?
While working on Soul, the filmmakers talked a lot about why the other souls got to go earth and 22 stayed behind. That was one of the aspects that prompted the story for this short. Kevin shared that this really is only one idea of many that surfaced around the questions and interest on 22 that developed as Soul was being made.
The Apocalypse Crew
The apocalypse crew inspiration was mainly children. Kevin says: “The challenge (about the crew) is having all these little souls that look the same but have different sparks. Many of those working on this have young kids who give inspiration, and we wanted to make it fun. What better than kids to lead the way. What’s more fun than a little kid, I think.”
22 vs Earth Biggest Challenge
Since we knew so much about her and about her journey in a way I was curious what was the most difficult thing to tell a story about 22. Kevin explained: “the biggest challenge of making this short was that while we knew a lot about her we didn’t know the why she ended up this way and that is what we were trying to do with this short ended up doing the short on that. It was something we talked a lot about while we were making the movie – we made a lot of funny scenarios for it and all the time so this was just the way to explore one aspect of that”.
22 Gives Light
The meaning of life is the prevalent theme in Soul. We know that Joe Gardner has a purpose and targets it. Kevin is like 22. And, knows that some people like 22 have a hard time finding that objective. He adds: “she questions it and many can relate that and its a great way to explore that”.
22 vs Earth Takeaway
Undoubtedly, shorts are powerful and this one sends great messages. For Kevin, the takeaway should be to get people thinking and taking about something. It is more about getting people to ask questions.
Working With Tina Fey
Kevin tells us that she was excited to work on it and more than willing to do it. “I was part of the recording sessions during the feature so I kind of knew her to an extent and what to expect. This one (22 vs Earth) we recorded two weeks into quarantine so that added a whole another element to it. She always brought ideas. And, we got to see a human side of the star because she was recording from home and her daughter was dealing with remote learning, so it was a wonderful experience”.
About 22 vs Earth
Set before the events of Disney and Pixar’s “Soul,” 22 defies the rules of The Great Before and refuses to go to Earth, enlisting a gang of five other new souls in her attempt at rebellion. However, as her cohorts’ activities lead to unexpected results, 22’s subversive plot may actually lead to a surprising revelation about the meaning of life.
About KEVIN NOLTING, A.C.E., (Editor/Director)
joined Pixar Animation Studios in June 2000 as the second editor on the Academy Award®-winning feature film “Finding Nemo.” He continued his work as second editor on “Cars,” and contributed some additional editing to the Academy Award-winning feature “WALL•E.” Nolting served as lead editor on the Academy Award-winning feature, “Up,” which was awarded best edited animated feature at the 2010 ACE Eddie Awards. Nolting then went on to be the lead editor on Academy Award-winning feature “Inside Out,” for which he also won the ASIFA Annie Award and the A.CE. Eddie Award for outstanding editing. He most recently was the lead editor on Disney and Pixar’s feature film “Soul,” which is now streaming on Disney+. Nolting makes his directorial debut on “22 vs. Earth,” which debuts on Disney+ on April 30, 2021. Prior to Pixar, Nolting worked as an assistant editor on a number of live action feature films including “Shanghai Noon,” “Hope Floats,” “The Insider,” “City Hall” and “Over the Top.” Between the years of 1986 and 2000, he worked on roughly one live action film per year. Nolting was born and raised in Hawthorne, Calif., and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in aesthetics/creative writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He and his wife have two daughters and reside in the Bay Area.
I am hopeful for more stories on 22. Like Kevin, I would love to explore her mentor relationships. Don’t you think it would be amazing to hear some of those dialogs with the great thinkers before us?
Catch 22 vs Earth on Disney + starting tomorrow April 30th!