Director of Lava, Jim Murphy, Chats About Geology, Music & The Pixar Pitch Process – Updated with 2 Interviews

Pixar Lava short screencap

Alongside the June 19, 2015 release of Pixar’s next feature film, Inside Out, theatergoers will also see the release of Lava, the volcanic short film wrapped around a love story. You may not immediately think of a love story when you think of volcanoes, but in a recent interview with Coming Soon (thanks to a tip from our reader, Bryan L.), Lava director Jim Murphy chats about everything from the beauty of the Hawaiian islands (where the short film takes place), to the emotional elements of music, to the actual pitch process at Pixar. It really helps set up the element of “two ships passing in the night” looking for love – or, lava.

Pixar Lava Uku Screencap

We also found learning more about Pixar’s storied research process very interesting. Jim mentioned that although they (of course) had to take some liberties with talking volcanoes, they did stay true to one element of the geological history of the Hawaiian Islands. Volcanoes form and grow over hotspots in the ocean and over time, as they continue to drift along with the tectonic plates they drift off and another volcano will take its place. With the story of Lava, Pixar kept true to this premise as we know that the love story takes place over millions of years and involves the movement of Uku (the film’s main character) and Lele within the Hawaiian waters.

Finally, we were also excited to hear Jim mention Aaron Hartline, who was the Supervising Animator on Lava, as we recently interviewed Aaron as part of our Pixar Pipeline Project (Listen to episode 31 of the Pixar Post Podcast to hear more details on Lava). Oh, and was anyone else thinking, “Hey, that Lava shirt Jim is wearing is so cool!” when watching the interview?

UPDATED: Shortly after posting the interview above, we spotted another great interview with Jim from a TEDxDetroit talk. Keep in mind though that if you watch the TEDx talk below, there are spoilers as Jim shares some wonderful concept artwork from LAVA.

Pixar Lava James Ford Murphy TED Talk

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