If you’ve seen Cars 3 in theaters already, you’ve witnessed all the heartwarming adorableness that is wrapped up in LOU. I’d put money on the new Pixar Short LOU winning some awards, and it’s just one of many reasons to catch Cars 3 in theaters now. During the #Cars3Event we got the pleasure to attend a panel with LOU Director Dave Mullins and Producer Dana Murray, who took us inside the new Pixar Short, LOU!
When a toy-stealing bully ruins recess for a playground full of kids, only one thing stands in his
way: the “Lost and Found” box.
Inside the Heartwarming New Pixar Short LOU
LOU Director Dave Mullins has been pitching short films since 2005. He’s worked animation on a number of films for Pixar Animation Studios, including Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Cars, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, and more. LOU however is the first short of his own that is on the big screen. The difference in this short from the others he pitched is that Mullins nailed every ingredient of Pixar films that John Lasseter looks for, and those are:
- Flawed Character
- Experience Growth
- Entertainment and Excitement
- New Setting
This looks like a pain in the ass – we have to do it! – John Lasseter
Because LOU is a short film, I don’t want to give too much away. I do want to tell you how special this short is and one that both kids and adults will love. From the second the music begins playing you feel yourself lean towards the screen in anticipation. The music, done by Beck who was the composer on Frozen, is played one note at a time going in a circle. “It’s something you could hum,” said Director Dave Mullins.
LOU Producer Dana Murray was excited to work with Mullins on bringing his story to life. She assisted several Pixar Animation Studios films including Finding Nemo, Cars, Ratatouille, Up, Brave, and Inside Out. When they originally began writing LOU, bullying wasn’t part of the story and “it happened along the way“, said LOU Producer Dana Murray. It started out with an “invisible character that hides in plain site”, said Director Dave Mullins. A creature hidden in plain site paired with an outsider who wants to be accepted. That’s magic in the making right there. Once the kid who wants to be liked becomes a bully that steals, the story had the “conflict to give the story heart“, said Mullins. The key to that character was “keeping J.J. a bully as long as possible while warming up to him“, said Murray.
One of the unique challenges in making Pixar Short LOU was filling a school yard of kids. That challenge brings us to LOU Fun Facts where you learn how they tackled that hurdled!
Pixar Short LOU Fun Facts
- Kids on the playground in LOU are from Finding Dory and Inside Out.
- Lost and Found was the original title idea but that was tossed about because of something else coming with that title.
- Work on LOU was paused for 6 months as the team worked on The Good Dino.
- Jonah from Crazy Stupid Love was the initial inspiration for J.J.
- J.J. is homage to Director Dave Mullins’ mom, whose names is Joyce Jean.
- A kid from Inside Out was re-purposed for J.J.
- You will notice an E.T. reference in LOU.
- The playground in LOU is based on Director Dave Mullins’ kid’s school park.
- J.J.’s dog in LOU is just like the childhood dog Director Dave Mullins had as a child.
- Director Dave Mullins’ dad passed away during filming and you will notice a “dad note” at the end of film.
- LOU is only red things in the film so he pops because of so many pieces.
- They picked timeless objects and toys that meant something to kids. At one point during production, Combat Car was among the toys.
Dave Mullins and Dana Murray would both love a LOU feature film, and you can add me to that list. I think the story has tons of potential and both J.J. and LOU are totally likable and feature film worthy!