Amy Poehler, Ayo Edebiri Tease New Emotions as 'Inside Out 2' Grows Up

Nine years after exploring the emotions of 11-year-old Riley, Inside Out 2 made its debut in Los Angeles on Monday, rolling out a whole new range of feelings as Riley becomes a teenager.

Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust from the original film are still in the mix, but now are joined by Anxiety, Envy, Ennui and Embarrassment. While some changes have been made to the voice cast — Liza Lapira replaces Mindy Kaling as Disgust and Tony Hale replaces Bill Hader as Fear — Amy Poehler returns as Joy, still the star emotion for a 13-year-old Riley.

Of coming back to the Inside Out world almost a decade later, Poehler told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet that, “It’s actually given me an incredible gift, to be in a film like this means a lot. It’s very hard to be in something that is really good, that means something and says something and that a lot of people see. You don’t always get those three things. It’s changed me a lot, I’m very, very grateful to be back.”

Phyllis Smith also returns as Sadness and Lewis Black as Anger, with Maya Hawke joining as dominant new emotion Anxiety. The actress revealed that she wept in her audition and when she saw the mockup drawing of what her character would look like, “I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s me, I have to play this part.’”

“It’s such a rare thing in one’s life to get to be a part of something that’s this good and this popular and actually a good thing to put out into the world,” Hawke continued. “It’s like a double rainbow. Just really gratitude and excitement and a bit of intimidation because of the icons like Amy and Lewis that are here.”

Ayo Edebiri is also among the newcomers, voicing Envy but noting that a root emotion of that feeling is “actually like adoration. So trying to come from that place of positivity a little bit to spin the idea of the character on its head is kind of where I started.”

Pixar chief creative officer Pete Docter, who directed the first film and is an executive producer on the second, said the idea of a sequel only came around a couple of years after the original’s release, when “people kept talking about it, kept referencing it as some film that changed they way they thought about themselves, dealing with their kids.” In 2020, Docter and Pixar president Jim Morris talked to director Kelsey Mann about digging into the world for possible stories, “and he came back with this idea that features anxiety and I think everybody was like, yes,” Docter recalled.

The world seems ripe for an entire franchise as Riley grows up, with Morris joking, “We’ve scripted it out until she gets on social security.” For her part, Poehler mused of future films, “I feel like there’s a world where graduating and going out into the world is a big deal, a lot of young people feel that way. There’s romantic love which we have not really gotten into, like what does it feel to be in love for the first time. But also honestly with Pixar we could go backwards — I don’t know, they could turn into babies. Whatever they do, I hope I get to be part of it.”

Inside Out 2 hits theaters on Friday.

Tiffany Taylor contributed to this report.

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