Jamie Foxx on voicing Disney-Pixar’s first Black lead in ‘Soul’

'For me to be able to say, and be proud to say, [I'm] the first African-American lead in Disney-Pixar, that's amazing,' Foxx shared.

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With a plethora of major awards under his belt, Jamie Foxx‘s trophy case is a testament to his spectacular career in Hollywood. Moving effortlessly from comedic roles to drama, Foxx has the range to pull from when he took on the task of voicing Joe Gardner in Disney-Pixar’s Soul.

The film’s creative team encouraged Foxx to be himself and bring the full scope of his Blackness to the role.

“In my career, I’ve never had to apologize for being Black,” Foxx told Variety. I was on ‘In Living Color’ — I had a Black boss [Keenan Ivory Wayans], Black writers, Black creators. Then with the ‘Jamie Foxx Show’ it was all Black. So, I’ve never had to worry about turning my Black up or turning my Black down. I’ve just been me and it has always worked out for me. When I do that, great things come out of it.”

Foxx considers his role in the film as one of those “great things” in his career: “For me to be able to say, and be proud to say, [I’m] the first African-American lead in Disney-Pixar, that’s amazing. That feels good.”

31st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Awards Gala - Awards Presentation
Jamie Foxx, winner of the Spotlight Award, speaks onstage during the 31st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Awards Gala at Palm Springs Convention Center on January 02, 2020 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Palm Springs International Film Festival)

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Per Variety, the film focuses on Black culture. The main character, Joe Gardner, is a middle school teacher in New York City, awaiting his big break. As his music career finally begins to take off, Joe is involved in an accident that separates his soul from his body and he winds up in the Great Before, scrambling to make it back to Earth in time to play a gig that could jumpstart his music career.

Determined to infuse the film with authenticity, the film’s director, Pete Docter, committed to nailing the cultural references and avoiding stereotypes. The filmmakers sought help from an assembly of A-List consultants, including Quincy Jones, Ryan Coogler, Kenya Barris, and Yo-Yo Ma, to lend their expertise and perspective to the film’s story.

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We wanted it to be as correct as we could, to be as authentic as we could,” Docter explains. “Because I think when you are in the audience, and you can tell something’s not quite right, it has an effect on the potency of the film. What we’re always trying to do is just move people, make them care, make them feel something. And I think those two things are very connected.”

“Soul” is now streaming on Disney plus.

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