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Tina Fey's Casting In Disney/Pixar's 'Soul' Drawing Criticism

Source: Walt Disney Studios / Pixar Soul

Of course, some folks have found something to complain about when it comes to Disney’s Pixar’s latest animated film, Soul.

The phenomenal Disney+ exclusive that features an African American protagonist, a first for the Disney-owned studio, follows the story of middle school jazz teacher Joe Gardner voiced by Jamie Foxx. The movie revolves around Gardner’s soul trying to make its way back to his body. Along the way, he encounters a wayward spirit named 22, played by Tina Fey. After they are paired together, 22 decides to help Gardner get back to his body in time before he misses out on the gig of a lifetime.

While on their mission, Gardner helps 22 discover her purpose in life, and at the same time, learns a new understanding of what it truly means to be alive.

Sounds harmless, right? If you haven’t seen the film, we are heading to spoiler territory, so you should stop reading if you have not seen it yet.

Some viewers have issues with the film, and it has everything to do with Tina Fey. The actress’s casting came under fire because 22’s soul accidentally lands in Gardner’s body while his soul takes over a cat’s body for a good portion of the movie. When Gardner spoke to the cat, he would hear Fey’s voice, but he still sounded like Foxx to the outside world.

Needless to say, there were still complaints with critics suggesting that somehow, someway, Disney/Pixar still manage to squeeze in the “white savior” trope alleging a middle-aged white woman saved the Black character’s life. One Twitter user wrote:

“The studio’s first Black Protagonist needed the soul of a middle-aged white woman to get his life on track. Thank you for being mindful of ‘racist imagery.’ Wheww…”

Another viewer complained accused Pixar of casting Fey to appease white viewers.

“The inclusion of Tina Fey for the body-swap bits and not a predominately Black comedian feels a lot like someone said ‘We dont want to alienate our white audience’… …and I’m even more disappointed by the film because of it.

Another critic felt there were definitely Black actors and actresses available for the role of 22, with one Twitter user suggesting the role should have gone to a Black boy instead. Another Twitter user threw out names like Tiffany Haddish or Regina King.

Regardless of these takes, the film is still a must-see to keep it a buck. Let us know in the comment section if you think the criticisms are fair or if folks are doing entirely too much when it comes to Soul.

Photo: Walt Disney Studios / Pixar Soul