Elemental producer talks making Pixar's most ambitious movie yet

Total Film exclusive image: Elemental
(Image credit: Pixar)

In Elemental, fire, water, earth, and air folk reside semi-harmoniously in the magnificent metropolis of Element City. It’s against this dazzling backdrop that sparks fly between hotheaded young woman Ember (Leah Lewis) and go-with-the-flow guy Wade (Mamoudou Athie). Directed by Peter Sohn (The Good Dinosaur, and the voice of Sox in Lightyear), it’s Pixar’s first original film to hit cinemas since the pandemic.

"We knew it was going to be hard. We didn’t know it was going to be as hard as it was," producer Denise Ream tells Total Film magazine in the latest issue, which features Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny on the cover, of a project that tested the limits of Pixar’s technical teams. 

The key challenge was the fact that Ember isn’t on fire, she is fire, and the same goes for all the elements, requiring unprecedented collaboration between the animation and effects departments. "We had character-based effects in every single shot. It required a different pipeline," Ream notes. 

The numbers speak for themselves: whereas Finding Nemo utilized 923 computer cores to render its state-of-the-art visuals, and Toy Story a mere 294, Elemental had over 151,000.

Check out our exclusive image from the new movie above too, featuring Ember and Wade.

Elemental arrives in the US on June 16 and hits UK cinemas on July 7. This is just a snippet of our interview with the team behind the movie in the new issue of Total Film magazine when it hits shelves (and digital newsstands) this Thursday, April 27. Check out the covers below:

Total Film's Indiana Jones covers.

(Image credit: Lucasfilm/Disney/Total Film)

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(Image credit: Total Film/STM/Lucasfilm/Disney)
Jordan Farley
Deputy Editor, Total Film

I'm the Deputy Editor at Total Film magazine, overseeing the features section of every issue where you can read exclusive, in-depth interviews and see first-look images from the biggest films. I was previously the News Editor at sci-fi, fantasy and horror movie bible SFX. You'll find my name on news, reviews, and features covering every type of movie, from the latest French arthouse release to the biggest Hollywood blockbuster. My work has also featured in Official PlayStation Magazine and Edge.

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