Disney and Pixar’s “Luca” is Personal Story for Director

Hi everyone!

Disney and Pixar’s Luca debuts on Disney+ on June 18th about “two teenage sea monsters who experience a lifechanging summer“.  We’ve been posting about Luca over the past few weeks, including a book review of “The Art of Luca” and 10 fun facts about the film. What better way to celebrate the kickoff of summer than a movie steeped in the season, as Luca and Alberto enjoy the sun, gelato, scooter rides and sea cliff diving. Disney shared some quotes from the director and production designer.

Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Disney and Pixar’s “Luca” is a coming-of-age story about a boy and his newfound best friend experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. But their fun is threatened by a secret: they are sea monsters from another world. “Luca” is directed by Enrico Casarosa (“La Luna”) and produced by Andrea Warren (“Lava,” “Cars 3”). © 2020 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Luca is a personal film for director Enrico Casarosa, who grew up in Italy. “This movie is about the friendships that change us.” He continued, “It’s a love letter to the summers of our youththose formative years when you’re finding yourself.”

The setting is a fictional seaside town of Portorosso on the Italian riviera, which hearkens back to Casarosa’s own childhood. “I had the luck to grow up in Genoaa port city on the Italian Riviera,” he says. “It’s a very specific coast because it’s really steepthe mountains rise up from the ocean. The towns are stuck in timethey’re so picturesque. I always imagined them like little monsters coming out of the water.”

While the town is fictional, the setting really is not.  “The Cinque Terre is really close to where I grew up. These five little towns are lovelystuck in time, really, because they’re so small. They’ve retained that old, seasoned lookso wonderful and picturesque. I moved to the U.S. in my 20s, and as often happens, the more you’re away from your roots, the more you value those roots.”

Members of the Luca production team visited the Italian coastline during two research trips. “We went through many different towns,” says Casarosa. “You really need to go and feel the textures, the light, water, the age, the flavors. Food became a huge thing to try”.

The first image I recall seeing from the film was Luca and Alberto jumping off a cliff. Alberto is inspired by and named after a childhood friend of Casarosa. They met when they were both eleven, and Alberto dared him to jump off sea cliffs. “We visited the places Enrico went as a child,” says production designer Daniela Strijleva.  “We watched him climb a 30foot rock and dive inrealizing after the shock of it that he’d been doing it since he was a child.” Casarosa even took the team members to dinner at his parents’ house in Genoa.


Casarosa says the movie is roughly set in the late 1950s, early 1960s though he was really looking to have a timeless look. The filmmakers studied the Italian culture of that era to capture the look. Casarosa says, “I always felt there was something very lovely about the Italian Golden Agethe ’50s and ’60s. The cinema and the music of that time is iconic and special.”

We will have much more about Luca as it nears its June 18th debut. The film will be streaming for all who have Disney+ just as Soul did. I hope we still can have the opportunity to see the movie eventually in a theater.