Pixar’s upcoming film Soul might not be getting the release it was originally hoping for due to coronavirus, but it’s safe to say fans are as excited as ever about a new movie from the beloved animation studio.
Originally intended for a cinema release, the film will now launch on Disney+ on Christmas Day, and if early reviews are anything to go by it should make for an excellent festive treat for the whole family.
The film follows a middle school music teacher whose soul is sent to the Great Beyond after an accident, meaning he has to work with a ‘soul-in-training’ in order to return to Earth before his body dies.
Pixar has traditionally been able to call on a stellar line-up of talent to voice its animated creations, and that’s no different for the new film – which sees a string of A-listers star.
Read on for everything you need to know about the cast, which includes an Oscar winner, a modern comedy great and a Hamilton star.
Jamie Foxx plays Joe Gardner
Who is Joe Gardner? Joe Gardner is a middle-school band teacher whose true passion is playing jazz, and he’s good. He dreams of playing piano professionally and has long been waiting for his big break, but finds himself suddenly in the Great Beyond after an accident while crossing the road.
What else has Jamie Foxx been in? A musician as well as an actor, Foxx has had a huge array of Hollywood roles, with highlights including an Oscar-winning performance as Ray Charles in Ray, the lead role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and his role in Collateral – which also earned him an Academy Award nomination.
Other roles have included Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and appearances in Baby Driver, Just Mercy, and the recent Netflix film Project Power.
Tina Fey plays 22
Who is 22? 22 is a precocious soul who has spent hundreds of years at The You Seminar, where new souls must meet several requirements before going to Earth. Like every soul before her, 22 has been through the Personality Pavilions, which explains her endearing sarcasm, quick wit and occasional moodiness.
What else has Tina Fey been in? Fey is a legend of modern comedy – having created the hit sitcoms 30 Rock (which she also starred in) and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, while she’s also written several films, famously including Mean Girls.
She was also previously a cast member on Saturday Night Live, while previous big-screen roles have included Muppets Most Wanted, Sisters and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Questlove plays Curley
Who is Curley? Curley is one of Joe Gardner’s former students who nurtured his own passion for music into adulthood, landing a coveted spot in Dorothea Williams’ jazz quartet. The accomplished drummer never forgot his favourite teacher-slash-jazz pianist, so when an opportunity for a piano player arises, Curley gets Joe the audition of a lifetime.
What else has Questlove been in? Questlove is best known as a musician, and is notably the drummer and joint frontman of the acclaimed hip-hop band The Roots, who also serve as the house band on Tonight With Jimmy Fallon.
He’s not got too many previous acting credits to his name, but he did star as himself in both Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and the Netflix film Someone Great.
Phylicia Rashad plays Libba Gardner
Who is Libba Gardner? Joe’s mother, his biggest fan, and his kind-hearted truth-teller. She is a proud businesswoman who’s owned a successful tailor shop in Queens for decades. Her late husband, Joe’s father, was a struggling musician, so Libba was the primary breadwinner for the family.
What else has Phylicia Rashad been in? Rashad first found fame as Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show in the ’80s, and has since established herself as a leading stage actress, becoming the first Black actress to win the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her role in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun in 2004.
Big screen credits have included For Colored Girls and Good Deeds, while she played the role of Mary Anne Creedin both Creed and Creed II.
Daveed Diggs plays Paul
Who is Paul? The neighbourhood cynic who’s often seen at the local barbershop. While he often butts heads with Joe, Paul generally has something negative or sarcastic to say about most anyone who enters the shop.
What else has Daveed Diggs been in? An actor, rapper and singer, Diggs is probably best known for originating the roles of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the musical Hamilton, starring in the recording that recently made its way onto Disney+.
Earlier in 2020, he led the cast for the TV adaptation of Snowpiercer, while films roles have included Wonder, Velvet Buzzsaw and Blindspotting – the latter of which he also wrote and produced.
Angela Bassett plays Dorothea Williams
Who is Dorothea Williams? A world-renowned jazz legend who’s earned her place among the greats. Confident, strong and poised, she is also truly talented when it comes to her saxophone playing.
What else has Angela Bassett been in? Basset has a wealth of screen credits to her name, including an Oscar-nominated turn as Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do with It as well as roles in a string of acclaimed films including Boyz n the Hood, Malcom X, and Contact.
She’ll also be familiar to fans of the MCU, having starred as Ramonda in Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame, while other recent roles have included London Has Fallen, Mission: Impossible – Fallout and Bumblebee.
Graham Norton plays Moonwind
Who is Moonwind? The product of a midlife awakening, which led his former self to change his name and his day job to seek a happier life, Moonwind is now a devoted sign twirler on a Manhattan street corner.
What else has Graham Norton been in? Norton will need no introduction to UK audiences – he is the host of the nation’s most popular chat show, the voice of Eurovision, and a judge on the UK version of RuPaul’s Drag Race, not to mention his various other presenting gigs through the year.
As far as film appearances go, they’ve been few and far between – although he did star as himself in both Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie and Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
Rachel House plays Terry
Who is Terry? A peculiar extension of the team of The Great Before, charged with the singular duty of keeping track of the entrants to The Great Beyond.
What else has Rachel House been in? Kiwi actor House has appeared in several of the films of Taika Waititi, including Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Thor: Ragnarok, and will also appear in his upcoming Next Goal Wins.
She also lent her voice to the character Gramma Tala in Disney’s 2016 smash Moana.
The ensemble cast for Soul also includes Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd), Alice Braga (Queen of the South), Wes Studi (Avatar), Fortune Feimster (The Mindy Project), Zenobia Shroff (The Big Sick), Donnell Rawlings (The Wire), June Squibb (Nebraska) and Esther Chae (Bosch).
Soul arrives on Disney+ on Christmas Day 2020. You can sign up to Disney+ with an annual subscription for £59.99 or £5.99 a month.