Ready for some deeply confusing movie news? Pixar Animation Studios has unveiled and dated a new coming-of-age feature film entitled Luca, for a June 18, 2021 date that will almost surely get moved back at some point. The film is to be directed by Oscar nominee Enrico Cararosa (La Luna), who served as a storyboard artist at Pixar on films such as Ratatouille and Up. Sound pretty normal so far? What if we told you that the description and title both sound exactly like Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name?
Here’s the description of Luca, via Pixar:
Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, the original animated feature is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: he is a sea monster from another world just below the water’s surface.
Take out that line about the sea monster (which is a bit Ponyo-like), and that is absolutely 2017’s Oscar-nominated romantic drama Call Me By Your Name, which is likewise set on the Italian coast, and revolves around a teenager falling into a romantic relationship with an older man. Not to even mention that director Luca Guadagnino shares the exact same name, of course. So is the audience meant to immediately associate these two films? If Pixar wanted to avoid comparisons to Call Me By Your Name, why would they go ahead in naming this film Luca specifically? Casarosa’s statement gives us nothing to go on:
“This is a deeply personal story for me, not only because it’s set on the Italian Riviera where I grew up, but because at the core of this film is a celebration of friendship,” he said of the film’s announcement. “Childhood friendships often set the course of who we want to become and it is those bonds that are at the heart of our story in Luca. So in addition to the beauty and charm of the Italian seaside, our film will feature an unforgettable summer adventure that will fundamentally change Luca.”
The themes and title here are so similar that Pixar will surely have to address the similarity at some point, so we’ll be waiting for an explanation on this one. The company’s next upcoming film is meant to be Soul, which is currently scheduled for a Nov. 20, 2020 release.
In the meantime, will we be lucky enough to get a Sufjan Stevens soundtrack on Luca as well?