Luca, the new Pixar animated film, features two young sea creatures who dream of living among humans on the Italian Riviera. What inspired the director Enrico Casarosa and his team to put them in pictures?
The new Pixar animated film, Luca, available on Disney +, features two friends, Luca and Alberto, who are spending their best summer in Portorosso. In this very pretty little coastal town on the Italian Riviera, people spend their time enjoying delicious gelato and tasty pasta and taking long scooter rides.
But Luca and Alberto’s happiness is threatened by a well-kept secret: they are both in reality sea monsters from a world below the surface of the water. Director Enrico Casarosa, who signs his first animated feature film with Luca, was inspired by different monsters of folklore because he is fascinated by changelings as he reveals in LA Times :
“There are so many changelings in folklore. I love Japanese folklore – there are foxes that can look like humans and tanuki. There are also selkies in Ireland. And in Italy there is a old legend of Colapesce, about a boy who stays in water so much that he becomes half fish. “
In addition to these legends, it is in art and history that Enrico Casarosa and artistic director Deanna Marsigliese have immersed themselves in imagining the appearance of sea creatures, taking as their starting point Carta Marina, the map of the sea. ‘Northern Europe by Olaus Magnus in the 16th century.
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Deanna Marsigliese told the LA Times that there is “many medieval representations of sea monsters in folklore” But this is not enough. The duo traveled to Italy to observe the different artistic representations of these folk creatures, especially on mosaics. Both were absolutely keen on the design in the animated film to match the beauty of the artwork.
Finally, even if Luca’s sea creatures are inspired by very raw arts – from Renaissance works to scientific illustrations of fish from the region, including representations of snakes and Japanese dragons – the artists had to adapt to a young audience and therefore make them as plausible as they are attractive, and above all, very expressive.
It is this very rounded and touching line of the outlines of Luca, Alberto and the rest of the community of sea creatures, which makes the characters so endearing and above all not frightening. And that also goes through a softened, natural and progressive transformation between the human state and the state of sea creature:
“We had scales, retractable tails, a finger that splits in half – done the wrong way, we move away from cuteness and lyricism. We worked hard to make sure we kept that playful and charming quality. . “
With vibrant colors, cute shapes, historical and artistic inspirations, and harmonious transformations, the design of the sea creatures in Luca works wonderfully. Difficult not to become attached to Luca, Alberto and his companions of the depths of the seas.