Musician Kuana Torres Kahele provides the voice for the lonely volcano Uku, who breaks out into song in this scene, following the photo that debuted last month. Take a look at this new footage, then read on for more details from director James Ford Murphy.
Director James Ford Murphy, who also serves as Pixar's head of animation, revealed that they initially struggled a lot with how to bring a three-mile wide volcano to life.
We struggled with it a lot. But I feel like, once we were able to embrace the limitations of it, it unlocked all sorts of possibilities. I love that about animation: You can really make a mountain come alive. You can't do that in another medium."
The story centers on the lonely Uku, who falls in love with another volcano named Lele, which is told primarily through Uku's music and unique facial expressions. James Ford Murphy also revealed the primary inspirations he used to come up with Uku's face, Jackie Gleason and the bulldog in Chuck Jones' classic cartoon "Feed the Kity."
"That cartoon has so much heart and so much of the humor comes from genuine emotion. That was a major inspiration for us."
The filmmaker also revealed that he was inspired to make Lava because of his love for the Hawaiian islands as a child growing up in Detroit, and the classic Israel Kamakawiwo'ole rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
"I thought that if I could marry the rich imagery and with the power and emotion of music, then I could really make something cool."