The boy hero of Disney/Pixar’s new animation “Up,” which raked US$68 million in the first week since its U.S. release, is modeled after a Korean employee in the Pixar Studios. The little boy Russell is modeled after Peter Sohn, a 32-year-old ethnic Korean production artist who has been working with Pixar since 2000.
Sohn also made his debut as a short film director with four-minute animation “Partly Cloudy,” which was released along with “Up.”
At the premiere of “Up” at the Pixar Studio in California recently, Sohn said, “The atmosphere here at work is like playing. We draw each other’s faces in meetings, and Russell’s face was actually my face that someone had drawn. We decided to make the main character of the new film Asian, and naturally I became the model,” Sohn said.
“Up” is a story of the big adventure of an old man and a school kid. It was the opening film of the Cannes Film Festival last month, and will be released in Korea at the end of July.
Modeling for a huge animation hit is not as big a deal to this graduate of California Institute of Arts as making his directorial debut. Sohn wanted to be an animation director since early childhood. “My parents ran a grocery store when I was young, and my mother would take me to the cinema every Fridays. She wasn’t fluent in English, so she would always ask me, ‘What are they saying?’ But she had no problem understanding Disney animations. It was then that I decided to make animation films when I grew up.”
Sohn was also a story artist on “Finding Nemo” and the voice of Emile in “Ratatouille.” (Chosun Ilbo)