Soul’s Rachel House Compares Pixar and Disney Animation

House also details how she met Taika Waititi, what her feature directorial debut is about and more!

I became a big Rachel House fan courtesy of some of her most well-known titles – Thor Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Moana and then some. But the real treat of having House on this edition of Collider Ladies Night was getting the opportunity to focus on her multitude of achievements that might not be in the limelight as much as they deserve – her early work on stage, the emphasis on incorporating culture in projects, her work as an acting coach, how she excels in animation and more.

With Soul due out on Disney+ on December 25th, House took the time to join us for an extended Ladies Night chat covering everything from her earliest influences to working for two of the biggest animation studios out there, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. House emphasized how much she loved both experiences, but did discuss the one big difference when completing her work on Moana compared to Soul. Here’s what she said about the Moana recording process:

“With Moana, I got to go over there quite a lot to record and I loved that. I loved spending time with the people, and Jared Bush was often in the booth with me when we were doing Moana so he was reading with me and that was really cool. And you know, I got to be there and they’d bring in the pictures of Grandma Tala and Moana, and they’d show me where we were in the story and [these] beautiful drawings, so that was really cool.”

Rachel House as Grandma Tala in Moana
Image via Disney

Her voice work for Soul, however, needed to be recorded remotely:

“With Soul I was just here in Aotearoa, New Zealand the whole time so I never got to go to the studios. Pete [Docter] and Kemp [Powers] were there on the little iPad screen in front of me, but I think I would have loved to have been there with them maybe. But for many different reasons I couldn’t be. It wasn’t a preference by anybody. It was just that that’s how it had to be.”

While House may prefer to do this work in person, she still delivered big through both methods. In fact, Terry wound up being a personal favorite character in Soul. Terry’s dedication to the work and maintaining order in the Great Beyond and Great Before is magnetizing, as is the look of the character and how Terry operates. If you’d like to hear more about House’s experience working on Soul, how she met longtime collaborator Taika Waititi, the story she’s got cooking for her feature directorial debut and more, you can check out our full Collider Ladies Night conversation at the top of this article!

Rachel House as Terry in Soul
Image via Disney-Pixar

Rachel House:

  • 00:42 – When House knew she needed to be a performer.
  • 01:46 – How incorporating culture made her craft much more meaningful.
  • 03:20 – House shares the plot of her feature directorial debut, which she’s casting now.
  • 05:03 – When she was first starting out, what did “making it” mean to House?
  • 06:39 – Why House once thought she wasn’t suitable for screen and what changed that.
  • 08:00 – How Taika Waititi boosted her on-screen confidence; what made filming Whale Rider such a special experience.
  • 10:02 – How House met Waititi; getting cast in Waititi’s first feature, Eagle vs Shark.
  • 11:40 – House addresses the “myth” that she’s Waititi’s “good luck charm.”
  • 12:31 – What stands out about Waititi as a leader on set and as an actor’s director.
  • 14:55 – What’s something about Waititi’s process that House will take to her feature directorial debut; House names something about her process that’s uniquely her own.
  • 17:57 – How House became an acting coach.
  • 19:53 – How culture was incorporated in the production process on Boy; if House could take something from her culture and bring it to a Hollywood set, what would it be?
  • 23:05 – House details her scene that was cut from Jojo Rabbit.
  • 24:50 – House discusses her experience working on Stateless; the struggling of empathizing with a character like Harriet.
  • 27:11 – House talks about making Penguin Bloom with Naomi Watts; meeting the real Bloom family and filming in their house.
  • 29:19 – House compares her experience working with Pixar to her experience making a movie with Walt Disney Animation Studios.
  • 31:03 – What was the first character description House got for Terry?
  • 34:03- Given the value of mentorship in Soul, who’s someone in House’s life that saw the potential in her, maybe before she even saw it in herself?
  • 35:53 – Is House in Thor: Love and Thunder?
  • 36:23 – If House happened to score a role in an upcoming Star Wars movie, what kind of role would she want to play?
  • 38:10 – Random questions begin! Find out if House collects anything, if she’s kept any props or costumes from set, the meal she’d eat over and over again, and the last show she binge watched right here.

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