Leah Lewis And Mamoudou Athie Talk ‘Elemental,’ Connecting With Their Characters & Favourite Elements – Interview
Elemental is Disney and Pixar’s now in theatres and it features a thrilling tale of opposing elements in the form of Ember Lumen and Wade Ripple, perfectly voiced by Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie, respectively.
Elemental will make you laugh and cry, and in addition to the heartfelt story, this can be attributed to the wonderful voice performances of Lewis and Athie. The dynamic duo bring their characters to life with ease and it makes for a magical movie-going experience.
I had the opportunity to speak with the pair about the film, the love they have for their characters Ember and Wade, and if they have a preferred element.
Check out the full interview with Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie below:
Curious about the process of bringing Ember and Wade to life in Elemental, I asked Lewis and Athie what it was like to help create the characters by giving them a voice. Lewis said, “This process has been, it’s been so special. I mean, from the very first time that Peter Sohn kind of introduced the idea of Ember and showed these drawings to me, like I was immediately touched, but like every new chapter we have crossed with this, whether it’s being in the booth, you know, for the last two years, and then finally getting to watch the film, then all the promo that we’re doing for the film, getting to know Mamoudou after we had even nearly finished the film, and then getting to put the film in other people’s hands. Like, I’m like, really sad that the process is kind of ending on my terms, but I’m really happy that we get to now give that to people.”
Athie followed Lewis’ sentiments and shared, “Getting to create Wade kind of begins, well, obviously, with Pete and his intentions behind making the story in general. And there’s an open heartedness that feels so rare, so rare. It’s so unbelievably rare in today’s world, at least in today’s media, and what I see in movies these days, and I was just so excited by that.”
Of course, finding a character that you relate to is always thrilling and Lewis and Athie were lucky enough to find that with Ember and Wade. When I asked the pair what it was about their characters that made them relate to and gravitate toward them, Lewis said, “I think when it comes to Ember, when I’m first getting to know her, I think ‘Wow, she’s just this this ball of fire who’s like, so fiery and big.’ But I think living with her for a second, I’ve now kind of realized like, how gentle she is, but in her private moments, you know? And I think that guarded part of herself is something that I’ve kind of looked at, and I’m like, ‘Well, I just kind of want to give Ember a little hug.’ Like, she works so hard. Yet, there are so many moments in this film, where she doesn’t feel like she can really show who she is. And like I definitely relate to Amber’s fiery nature and her need for being able to kind of reel that in and understand when it’s appropriate, rather, because I think, you know, and we’re just kind of like, like, all over the place until she meets a character like Wade. But, you know, I relate so heavily to the gratitude that she has for her family and everything that they’ve done for her. And even just the expectations that she’s placed on herself.”
Athie followed up by expressing his love for Wade. Athie said, “Oh, yeah. Wade, man, just the best character. There’s something just about his eternal optimism. I just love how intentional he is with who he is. He’s not just like this, ‘Oh, butterfly!’ kind of guy. He’s a person who has chosen to live his life in this way. And I think he likes it. I think he knows it’s important for him because it’s a way to live an easier and more simple, pure life, you know? Just to find the joy and optimism every moment that he can. That’s why he’s just so excited by every moment and that’s something that I feel like I used to be a lot more like. I think I’m kind of reawakening having played this character, honestly, because it’s so much more. Well, it’s just so much more fun to live life that way. Life is short. And I think he knows that. So it’s like, well, why not enjoy it?”