A Minute With: Amy Poehler on singing and crying for 'Inside Out'

Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:32am EDT
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By Daina Beth Solomon

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif (Reuters) - Actress Amy Poehler often plays upbeat characters, but the comedian brims with pep in Pixar's animated film "Inside Out" as Joy, an emotion living inside an 11-year-old girl named Riley.

When Riley moves to a new city, Joy teams up with Sadness to boost Riley's well-being.

Ahead of the film's Friday debut, Poehler, 43, said "Inside Out" let her cultivate her comedic talent. Below are interview excerpts.

Q: How did you develop a character out of an abstract idea?

A: When you're doing any kind of comedic performance, you have to figure out what are the rules of this character? Joy has very specific rules: Keep going, stay positive, stay in the moment, don't overthink it. She does that because she has fear that things are going to turn sad. It was fun to play a character that had an arc. Suddenly Joy's crying halfway through the movie.

Pixar does a great job in always not condescending to their audience. They don't make "kids movies." I love their brave attempt to go in, when a lot of movies these days are about external disasters and fabricated bad guys. Pixar decided … we're going to make the setting an 11-year-old girl.

Q: What did you enjoy from the experience?

A: Pixar is the gold standard. It's like any project, though … Does the project come from an authentic place? Is there a person with a really specific voice at the helm? Are you working with talented people who like to collaborate? All those boxes were checked.   Continued...

Cast member Amy Poehler (C) poses with the characters of Sadness and Joy (R) at the premiere of "Inside Out" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California June 8, 2015. The movie opens in the U.S. on June 19.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni