By Wayne Harada
Kuana Torres Kahele and Napua Greig, best known for their Hawaiian music, will portray lovesick volcanoes in “Lava,” a Disney Pixar animated short film, debutingin August at the Hiroshima Animation Festival in Hiroshima.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Lava” is directed by James Ford Murphy, and is a seven-minute musical about two volcanoes.
Detroit-raised Murphy, who grew up loving Elvis Presley movies and island culture, has been a Pixar animation artist since 1998’s “A Bug’s Life” and admits he got the idea for the love-stricken volcanoes two decades ago while honeymooning on the Big Island.
The volcanoes are named Uku and Lele — ukulele, get it? — and Kahele’s and Greig’s voices are part of the soundscape, performing the title song, “Lava,” composed by Murphy who learned how to play the uke.
“I thought it would be so cool to fall in love with a place that’s also a character,” said Murphy in the L.A. Times story. “I wanted to make Uku appealing and likeable but also look like he’s been carved out of lava flows.”
The director wanted to share the dichotomy of volcanoes: Destructive but creative, powerful but peaceful.
“Lava” will open in U.S. theaters June 19, 2015, preceding the screening of the Pixar animated feature, “Inside Out.”