Kaitlyn Dias, a 16-year-old actress from El Dorado Hills, had acted in only a couple of small movies and commercials when Pixar cast her in the animated movie “Inside Out” as the voice of Riley, the little girl in whose head the plot unravels.
“Inside Out” describes the changes children undergo while growing up, from the perspective of five anthropomorphic emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust.
Dias was 11 – like Riley – when she joined the production. Now, five years later, Dias has grown up to be a teenager who loves science and math, practices parkour and dreams of being a professional actress. “Inside Out” may just be the springboard to help her dive head-first into the industry. She met this week with The Bee to talk about the role.
Q: How did you land the role of Riley?
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A: When I first auditioned, it was almost five years ago. I auditioned for the scratch voice, which is the voice they put over the storyboard to present the idea and get funding. They liked me so much they kept me for the whole thing.
Q: How does it feel to immortalize your voice as a Pixar character?
A: I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. Now I really want to use the momentum of this to launch myself forward in the acting industry.
Q: How was your experience working with Pixar?
A: Just being in the Pixar campus down in Emeryville was really cool. They have all of these (models) for previous movies. Being in the booth was a lot of fun, too. Plus, I got to act, which is what I’ve always loved to do.
Q: How did the recording process go?
A: The first time I went in to record, I didn’t have anything to look at, and that’s actually pretty typical. They usually record the voices first with a camera on the voice actors to capture their expressions as a reference for when they are animating. It was a little bit difficult. You have to put a lot more emotion in your voice because that’s all the audience is going to get.
Q: You were 11, the same age as Riley, when you started recording. Did you relate to her in any way?
A: When I was even younger than (Riley), I switched schools. I knew no one there. I kind of understood how she felt. She was lost and didn’t know what to do. I eventually figured it out, too, but it was hard.
Q: Which is the most important of the five emotions in the movie?
A: I’d have to go with Sadness, because everyone gets sad. It’s normal, natural and human.
Q: Is there any important lesson for parents to take away from “Inside Out”?
A: Yes! We will get grouchy. It does not mean we hate you. Please. We still love you, but we don’t want to show it because it wouldn’t be cool.
(From the corner of her eye, Dias looked at her mom, who nodded solemnly to show she had taken note.)
Stela Khury: (916) 321-1107, @stelakhury
- What: The Pixar animated movie opens Friday in wide release.
- Rating: PG for mild thematic elements and some action.
- Voice cast: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan