Kevin Nolting was offered the chance to continue the story of 22 from the Pixar movie “Soul.” He took the opportunity to go backward instead of forward.
In the Pixar short “22 vs. Earth,” his directorial debut, Nolting tells the story of how 22 develops and becomes the hesitant and insecure soul preparing to transition to Earth.
Nolting said his experiences in his real life are more like 22’s than the other characters from “Soul.” Joe Gardner has focus and direction. The character 22 is full of doubt and lacks confidence. He used those differences when making “22 vs. Earth.”
“Joe Gardner, from a young age, he has a purpose. He knows what he wants to do and he sort of targets that,” Nolting said.
“For people like me, I relate much more to 22 who really has a harder time finding that, isn’t the one with this thing that she wants to do. That’s part of her problem. It is not clear to her and she questions it. And I think there’s a lot of us like her who can relate to that.”
The storyline in “22 vs. Earth” takes place before the movie “Soul.” Nolting, who worked as an editor on the movie “Soul,” said he wanted to explore 22’s past.
“As we were making the movie, obviously we talked about what made 22 who she is and why all the other souls go to earth and she doesn’t,” Nolting said. “This was one idea of many to show an aspect of that, in essence. This was one idea of many to show an aspect about that.”
One of the questions Nolting said he wanted to tackle in the short was to answer why 22 ended up with so much doubt and insecurity.
“We really didn’t know the why she ended up this way,” Nolting said. “We made up a lot of funny scenarios for it all the time. This was just the way that explored one aspect of that. How does a soul, how does a person get to be this way?”
“22 vs. Earth” premier on Disney+ on Friday April 30.