Peter Sohn, director of the upcoming Pixar romantic comedy Elemental, reveals how the connection between fire and water inspired the emotional story at the core of the animated movie. The film follows Ember, a fire elemental, and Wade, a water elemental, as they grow closer and discover they have more in common than they might expect. They must navigate their growing connection in Element City, which is made up of fire, earth, water, and air elemental residents.
Screen Rant attended an early press event for Elemental at Pixar Studios, which included a press conference with Sohn. He discusses the romantic comedy at the heart of Elemental, as well as the importance of the father-daughter relationship between Ember and her bigoted father Bernie. Check out Sohn’s full quote below:
That connection between fire and water. The first thing I pitched to Disney was, could fire and water ever connect? Is that even possible? That hook drove us through. I am a huge fan of so many romantic comedies from the Jane Austen films, to Moonstruck, and The Big Sick. All those worlds, how they bring cities into the stories as well. The idea of the romance is a big part of that movie, but it was also a triangle. That part of my connection that I had with trying to marry someone that was outside my culture. But it’s not just a boy meeting a girl or girl meeting a boy.
It was also a father and a daughter, and what that relationship was. The initial concept was to try to make something universal. That we could have part of that connection with these two, fire and water, but then also understanding the family dynamic and that cultural part of this. And to make the film larger.
Elemental Brings Pixar Back To The Romantic Comedy Genre
Pixar has dabbled in the romantic comedy genre before with Wall-E with the titular robot falling in love with the more technologically advanced EVE. However, Elemental seems to lean more heavily into some of the beloved tropes, with Ember and Wade drawn together despite their differences physically and culturally. The elements tend to stick to their own in Element City, especially when it comes to relationships, in part due to safety.
However, Wade and Ember will find an unexpected connection growing between them. As their connection grows, the two elementals will discover they have more in common than they have been led to believe. Water, air, earth, and fire each have their own cultures that will be explored in Elemental.
Another key relationship in Elemental is between Ember and her father, Bernie. Delving into the relationships between Bernie and Ember, Ember and Wade, and Wade and Ember’s family taps into Sohn’s own experiences, which inspired Elemental, which brings a deeper level of authenticity to the dynamics between these characters. These obstacles, physical, cultural, and familial, lean into the reality of relationships and the classic tropes of the rom-com genre. With many of the classic themes at the heart of the film, Elemental looks to be a welcome return to the genre for Pixar.