In order to create a film as well crafted as Inside Out, Pixar’s filmmakers come up with tons and tons of ideas, and plenty of gems (and oddities) end up on the cutting room floor. Here are some of the ideas that the Inside Out team developed to describe the workings of the mind that didn’t make it into the final film.
“I feel like there’s some secret eight-hour version on Inside Out,” I said to Inside Out co-director Ronnie del Carmen during an interview this past April at Pixar.
“We have enough material for that,” del Carmen agreed, “because we explored a lot of that”
Everyone on the Inside Out team was constantly asking themselves, “Why does my brain do that?” A lot of the answers to those questions made it into the movie — How do dreams work? What happens to imaginary friends? Why does that stupid, stupid jingle keep popping into my head? But here are a few ideas that we didn’t see:
Why you remember faces but can’t remember names: “We had these two departments, Names and Faces,” said del Carmen, laughing. “They hate each other. They don’t like to share information. Not only that, they’re called ‘Appointing Faces to Names.’ It’s kind of unreliable. So when you go to Faces, it’s like, we’ve got the faces over here and you’re like, ‘I have no problem with the face, but I’ve got to tie it to a name.’ ‘Well, that’s not my department. You want those guys down there.’
“And you see them, all their shelves are kind of like,” he waved his arms and belted out an onomatopoeia made entirely of vowels. “All the data is spilling out. And it’s like, ‘Thanks a lot.’ We couldn’t keep it in the movie! We loved that gag so much.”
The Secrets Vault: Director Pete Docter explained that this was one of the places we never got to see in Riley’s brain, “It was this dark mysterious place where all the secrets that Riley knew, that her friend Meg had kissed a boy, ‘Oh, that’s a secret!’ And it had to be kept away.”
Music Cognition: “When you watch your cat and there’s something musical playing, you know your cat doesn’t hear it,” said Docter. “It’s just noise for the cat, but to us it means something. So we thought it would be fun if maybe we could represent that in some way. And Joy starts talking and then it becomes music itself. It forms into shapes and things. And that was really cool, but it ended up being really redundant with Abstract Thought.”
The Hobo Camp of Riley’s Mind: “It was all stuff she had created as a three-year-old and outgrown,” Docter explained. “Bing Bong, that was his first appearance, along with Miss Scribbles, who was sort of a stick figure bad drawing, and Mr. Sun, which — you know how you would always draw the sun as that quarter arc in the corner of the page? It would float down and it was only a quarter. So they were all kind of out-of-work actors, who are like, ‘Well, we had our day! Come on, pull up to the fire. Let’s reminisce.’ And Joy was like, ‘No! We’re going to go back there and we’re going to bring childhood back!’”
Producer Jonas Rivera joked, “You know that totally family film, gettable hook of hobos? Kids love hobos.”
Spiderweb Memories: The very first design for the memories was inspired by dewdrops on spiderwebs. “They were originally in jars, I think,” said Inside Out production designer Ralph Eggleston. “That’s a neat idea, but it felt very real world, too real world for such a major component of the film.
“I had fallen in love with, not the regular old spiderwebs, not the Charlotte’s Web spiderweb, but the ones that look like gossamer sheets, the real dense ones. And then they have lots of minute, small teeny dewdrops. Wouldn’t it be great if that was a memory? You could pull it off. As a matter of fact, before we had shelves, they were nothing but thin threads. They weren’t spiderwebs, but they were thin threads, kind of wrapped around them [the memories] like DNA. And whenever a memory was recalled, you would hear like a whine glass ‘Eeeeeeehhhh,’ and then you would see the string gently do this,” he bobbed his fingers. “And one of them would glow and it would get shot up and come right back down.”
Memory Jai Alai: “There were so many designs done for [the control board],” explained Eggleston. “At one point, they all had their own and they kind of fit together. And then we separated them. Do you know what jai alai is? Once there were no controls. They were bouncing the memories everywhere!”
There were other versions as well, Eggleston told me. “There was one where we had Sadness have a water fountain. It was all about water and sadness and it was all droopy. Then Anger’s was like a fire pit. I forgot what Disgust’s was, but it was all about not touching things.”
Eggleston said that, at one point, Pete Docter felt it was important to know what each button on the console actually did, but in the end, the function of each lever and doohickey wasn’t that important. “What it ended up being in the film, there were a handful of specific needs, like they put a light bulb in it at one point, an idea. But the rest of it became not about the buttons on the console; it became about how the emotion used the buttons. It became more about the emotion doing something with the buttons than what the buttons actually were.”
More headlines on Anger’s newspaper: “We wanted more of those than we could put in the movie,” del Carmen said with a chuckle. “Too fun!”