As with any story, there are specific aspects to them that are often left undiscovered. Disney often took those creative opportunities to those old direct-to-video shorts and sometimes even full animated films based on their originals. That wasn’t any different here with one from Pixar called “22 vs. Earth.”
Set before meeting Joe Gardner in the now Academy Award-winning “Soul,” the new Pixar short streaming explores why 22 (voiced by Tina Fey again) began to hate Earth in the first place.
“Hate is a strong word, but we mean to use it in a way a kid were to use the word. Like 22,” said director Kevin Nolting to us in a virtual press conference. A 20+ year Pixar veteran having worked on nearly every major Pixar feature as an editor, this was Nolting’s first time in the director’s chair; which he seemed pretty familiar with.
“I went to college for writing, so I know story. But being an editor at Pixar means that you have to sit in every aspect of production. It’s really an amazing crash-course in animated film making,” he said.
Together with the help of “Soul” director Pete Docter and producer Dana Murray, Nolting and his team began crafting the story which stemmed from a familiar theme of wanting friendship as seen in the feature film. “Throw in some jokes and multiple references to my favorite movie ‘Apocalypse Now’ and it was done,” Nolting continued.
Production began right around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020 with work taking place remotely like the rest of the studio. “Tina [Fey] even had to record her voice work from her husband’s home studio, so we’d see her leave to take care of her kids and cook dinner, and all. Truly a 2020 experience.”
They had the final cut in September 2020, and ended up sharing it with Docter and Murray before “Soul” was released on Disney+ in December. “I hope they liked it, they said they did!,” said Nolting.
We trust you will, too. And not hate it either.
“22 vs. Earth” begins streaming exclusively on Disney+ on April 30, 2020. Our special thanks to Kevin Nolting, A.C.E. and the Pixar PR team for contributing to this story!