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INTERVIEW: LUCA director Enrico Casarosa pulls from his childhood with new Pixar film

The director of LUCA discusses his inspiration for the film, from his childhood best friend to the seaside towns of the Italian Riviera.

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Pixar’s next hit is coming, this time in the form of Luca! The story about a young boy named Luca, who ventures beyond his home in the sea to a picturesque seaside village of Portorosso in Italy. There he meets a whole host of characters in the charming little village, but he and his friend Alberto must hide the fact that they are sea monsters from their newfound acquaintances. We spoke with Enrico Casarosa the director of Luca, who plays Lorenzo Paguro, the protective father of the titular Luca, who is a sea monster himself.

Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Disney and Pixar’s original feature film “Luca” is a coming-of-age story about two friends’ summer of unforgettable fun that’s threatened by their deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from another world.

Before Luca, Casarosa was primarily known as a storyboard artist for Pixar. Before directing this film, he directed the animated short film La Luna, which was released theatrically with Pixar’s Brave. Luca pulls from Casarosa’s own childhood, as he said in the Luca press conference, he was born in Genoa, Italy. “I was a shy kid, a little bit sheltered by my family. And when I met my best friend at 11, my world opened up. He was a bit of a troublemaker; he didn’t have a whole lot of supervision. And so, in those special summers when you’re growing up and finding yourself, I was him and getting dragged into troubles.”

He continued, “It really made me really think about how much we find ourselves with our friendships, or how much friendships help us find a bit who we wanna be. Those days of summer on this wonderful coastline — it’s a very specific coastline. It’s rocky, there are mountains and sea. Most towns [there] are really hanging on for dear life on the rocks and then there’s a lot of cliffs. So, I kept on thinking about the literal and the metaphor of someone who pushes you off a cliff.”

We spoke with Enrico Casarosa about creating this story about friendship, directing his first feature film, the inspiration for the setting and sea creatures of Luca, and more! Watch The Beat‘s exclusive chat with Casarosa below!

Luca starts streaming exclusively on Disney+ and in theaters on June 18th!

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