“Inside Out” quickly became Pixar’s latest hit, getting universal acclaim from critics and becoming one of the highest-grossing animated movies of the year (“Minions” has just edged out the movie for top grosser worldwide).
A big reason for its success is the clever story in which we watch the personified emotions of young Riley (Joy, Fear, Sadness, Anger, Disgust) trying to cope with her move to San Francisco.
But many also left the theater with a new "core memory": Bing Bong, the lovable imaginary friend of Riley’s that’s part elephant, part cat, and part cotton candy.
Bing Bong was voiced by veteran character actor Richard Kind. This is the fifth time he’s lent his voice to a Pixar film, and this time he felt that Bing Bong was going to be special, even if no one else did.
“We were doing early screenings and Bing Bong didn’t get as many laughs as I thought the character deserved,” Kind recently told Business Insider. “I think the wit came out and not the ha-ha funny. I worried about that.”
But Pixar quickly caught on to Bing Bong's appeal. The company decided to keep the character under wraps during promotion of the film's release, as not to overexpose the potentially popular character.
Kind said he understood the decision, which led to him not doing any press around the release, but there was one thing that upset him.
“I did not go to the Cannes Film Festival,” said Kind, who was left out when the rest of the cast traveled to the South of France for the film's screening there in May. “I got to tell you it’s a heartbreaker. How often am I going to be in a movie that goes to Cannes? And I would go on someone else’s dime!”
The upside is that the reaction to the character since “Inside Out” opened is beyond what Kind could've imagined. He says that when people at a party or on the street realize he's the voice of Bing Bong, all they talk about is how emotional they got during the character's final scene, when Bing Bong helps Joy get out of the memory dump by staying behind.
Kind admits he got choked up doing the scene.
“I knew what that moment was, and all I wanted to do was be perfect,” said Kind, who recorded the character in eight sessions over two years. “I wanted to do it over and over. I think subliminally you can see the tears that I had. Because I was crying when I was doing it. I remember standing very close to the monitor and wanting to reach out to Joy when Bing Bong says, ‘Give me your hand, I got a good feeling about this.’”
“I wanted it to feel like I knew something good and wonderful is going to happen. It just made me sob. But I wanted to feel perfect when I did the line. I wanted to feel what the audience was going to feel.”
“Inside Out” comes out on Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday.