In Elemental, Pixar’s latest animated feature, elements become emotional as Fire and Water mix in the studio’s first fully-fledged romantic comedy that proves opposites do attract.
As any fan of animation knows, all the stunning imagery in the world needs to be backed by grounded voicework by committed and talented artists and Pixar hit the jackpot with Mamoudou Athie and Leah Lewis. The Mauritanian-born Athie is best known for his roles in the films The Circle (2017), The Front Runner (2018), Unicorn Store (2017), Underwater (2020), and 2020’s Uncorked, which was director Peter Sohn’s visibility to the actor’s voice acting potential, as well as the television series The Get Down (2016-2017), Sorry for Your Loss (2018-2019) and Archive 81 (2022). Athie was nominated for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for his performance in Oh Jerome, No (2020).
As an actress, singer, and dancer, Lewis is a triple threat. Having begun taking Russian ballet at Central Florida Ballet at three years old and acting lessons at four years old, Lewis was always a star in the making. Continuing to perform through high school, she landed roles in the Disney TV movie Madison High and broke into television shows like The New Adventures of Old Christine and more recently, Station 19 and Nancy Drew. But it was the 2020 Netflix film The Half of It, a loose retelling of the classic Cyrano de Bergerac, that caught Sohn’s eye and he found his Ember.
I traveled to Pixar Animation Studios to talk to Athie and Lewis about their experience working on the film, the deeply collaborative nature of director Peter Sohn and, shoes? You’ll see what I mean.
Walt Disney and Pixar will release Elemental only in theaters on June 16. A huge thank you to Griffin Schiller of FilmSpeak for editing this video.
Added bonus! Elemental director Peter Sohn and producer Denise Ream talk about the newest Pixar animated film, its origin story and what it means to both of them. We talk about finding Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie, the voices being the romantic elements Ember (fire) and Wade (water) and how the studio fosters growth.