Pixar’s Luca couldn’t exist without its lead characters.
It’s Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer as Luca and Alberto who bring them to life and put words in the animated mouths of the endearing pair at the heart of the coming-of-age story. They are two friends who find each other and embark on a summer of adventure, but they have a secret that could bring it all crashing down.
The charming feature, set in a small town on the Italian Riviera, premieres on Disney+, at no additional cost to subscribers, and will screen in one movie theater, the El Capitan in Los Angeles.
I caught up with the pair via Zoom to talk about the reality of being in a Pixar movie produced remotely, as well as the potential for the Luca experience to be brought to life as a theme park attraction.
Simon Thompson: Was voicing a character in a Pixar movie on your list of career goals?
Jacob Tremblay: I would never have expected that I would be part of this. It’s pretty funny because my family and I would all watch Pixar movies together in the theaters or on DVD. So to think that people will watch me like how I would watch like Owen Wilson in Cars. It’s really cool.
Jack Dylan Grazer: It’s seriously just an honor to be a part of the Pixar timeline, that the Pixar history. It’s awesome. There were so many characters I look up to, like Nemo and Wall-E. I mean, come on. I love Wall-E. It’s such a great film. I idolized so many Pixar movies when I was a kid and to be a part of that universe is honestly spectacular.
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Thompson: For some kids, Luca will be the first Pixar movie they see that could make a big impression on them. Which Pixar movie did that for you?
Tremblay: I would say the first one that I watched that was mind-blowing for me was Coco. Coco was amazing. When he goes to the world of the dead, and there are all the vibrant colors. It’s pretty similar to this film in the fact that there is this crossover of worlds. However, visually there is a more significant difference because Coco was a bit more neon, and this one’s more like pastel.
Grazer: For me, it was probably Wall-E or Ratatouille. That was beautiful as well. Finding Nemo, Toy Story, the list goes on and all for different reasons. Honestly, it’s hard to pick. It’s tough.
Thompson: The merchandising around animated movies like Luca is considerable. Jacob, I see you have some Funko Pops of your characters behind you?
Tremblay: It’s crazy. It’s so cool because I have a few Funko Pops. I have a lot of Star Wars ones; I have a Predator one too. Now I have these awesome guys, and I’m one of them. It’s really meaningful.
Thompson: You’ve both done a lot of live-action movies. How did you find the challenge of voice work?
Tremblay: For me, it’s pretty different because it’s a different type of acting. When you’re doing live-action, you have actors there, and you’re using your body movements and that stuff. When you’re doing animation, you have to project and put a lot of emotion in your voice. So sometimes it’s challenging, but also, they’ll have a camera there to capture your facial expressions or what you do with your arms, and then they’ll add those into the film to get more realism.
Grazer: We did it all independently. I did a lot of mine from inside the four walls of my mother’s closet. It was fun, it was a great challenge, and I enjoyed myself, but I wish I could have worked alongside Jacob and the rest of the cast. Even though we weren’t able to do that, the chemistry turned out so beautifully. It looks and sounds so organic and natural, and that makes me really happy.
Tremblay: When you have amazing castmates, like in this movie, it’s always great to work with other people I can learn from. I’ve worked with some very talented actors, and I get to learn from them, which helps my performances.
Thompson: I like to sit through the credits of movies, and I noticed, on Luca, there is a credit for the theme park team.
Grazer: Wait. What are you saying to me right now? There’s a theme park team?
Tremblay: For real? How do you know more about this movie than us? Well, I need VIP passes to that line.
Thompson: What would a Luca theme park attraction be like?
Tremblay: It’d be like this. You would turn in there’d be a mirror, like in The Haunted Mansion.
Grazer: And you’re a sea monster! It’d be a wet one, and it’d be a wild one. I would say you’d be on Vespa, and you could come out of the water. Or maybe it’s a triathlon?
Tremblay: Yeah, exactly. Perfect. We’d needed to have credit if they do that. We need to make the ride happen.
Grazer: It’s so cool to think about because the possibilities are endless.
Thompson: Luca is premiering in Disney+, but it will be showing in one movie theater, the El Capitan in Los Angeles.
Tremblay: I had early access to the film, but I’m excited to see it with my family. I am excited to see it on the big screen.
Grazer: I watched Luca on a computer screen, and I was in awe. I fell in love with it because it’s a gorgeous movie. To see that on the big screen? Wow.
Luca premieres on Disney+ on Friday, June 18, 2021.