Disney’s newest animated character based after Korean

The Korean Face of Pixar's Latest Star

Russell (top) and Peter Sohn /Courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios
Russell (top) and Peter Sohn /Courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios

boy hero of Disney/Pixar's new animation "Up," which raked US$68
million in the first week since its U.S. release, is modeled after a
Korean employee in the Pixar Studios. The little boy Russell is modeled
after Peter Sohn, a 32-year-old ethnic Korean production artist who has
been working with Pixar since 2000.

Sohn also made his debut as
a short film director with four-minute animation "Partly Cloudy," which
was released along with "Up."

You can read the rest of the article here. What is interesting to me is that I never knew the boy character was supposed to be Asian. Did you?

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

11 thoughts

  1. I was clear that Russell was Asian. I’ll have to check in with my kids and see what they thought. And I think his mom looked like she “matched” with him at the awards ceremony at the end. (My 5 year old is pretty into who matches right now, so I was checking.)
    I was worried unsavory stereotypical things were going to happen to/by Russell and was relieved that nothing blatant jumped out at me.
    What did you think of the film?

  2. I did because I saw a photo of the voice actor with a costumed version of the character over at Angry Asian Man. I’m not sure I would’ve realized if I came to the movie cold– I didn’t get it out of the theatrical trailer, but of course that trailer’s pretty brief.

  3. I suspected and googled trying to confirm until a fof told me that his friend’s son was the model/inspiration.

  4. I kept noticing that his eyes were unusual, but they didn’t strike me immediately as “Asian” – I had to kind of figure that out. They could have done better.

  5. Pixar had Asian boys read for the voice over (my friend’s son went to the casting call). Jordan Nagai got the part.

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