I attended Monsters University as a guest of Disney • Pixar; however, all opinions are my own.
Sometimes when meet the voice behind the character, you can’t help but notice the similarities. That’s never been more true that when I met Peter Sohn.
Scott “Squishy” Squibbles voiced by Peter Sohn
Sohn voiced the sweet Scott “Squishy” Squibbles, who happens to be quite possibly my favorite character of the film. I met with Sohn, a young man with a kind face and unassuming manner, over peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the Pixar Campus a few months ago to find out more about his role in Monsters University.
It turns out Sohn has worked at Pixar for about 11 years in different capacities. He’s been tapped in the past to provide scratch voices – the dialogue that’s tried out before the voice actors come on board – but he’s voiced other characters as well. In fact, you’ve heard him as Emile in Ratatouille. But this time, Monsters University’s director Dan Scanlon asked him to do the scratch voice for the round monster with the five eyes and they became the permanent dialogue.
Sohn tells us a bit about the character he’s become known for, “I like that he’s so sincere and naive about things. There’s a scene where Mike and Sulley want to throw a party. And he’s like this is great. Grab some couch cushions ’cause we’re gonna build a fort. I totally connect with that type of guy just ’cause that’s how I grew up with my cousins. We didn’t have the Internet. You have that one piece of Lego and can just nerd out for a while. It was that naive sincerity that I really really liked about him.”
After meeting Sohn, I have to think that he’s a lot like Squishy – forts and all. He definitely had a playful nature and an obvious love for Pixar. The love started long ago when this Korean-American discovered his love for animation in an unusual way. His mother didn’t speak much English, so it was Sohn who translated for her in theaters. Sohn soon realized that with animated movies he didn’t have to translate as much. In fact, he soon discovered that great directors could tell a fabulous story visually and without much dialogue. It was this spark at the age of 15 or 16 that made him realize that animation was his passion – the art of storytelling in a visual manner – so he started working to make his dream happen. And it did.
Peter Sohn – Pixar Dreams
Sohn is so enmeshed with Pixar that he equates working at Pixar as being part of a family, a real “give and take” environment and one where everyone does their best because it helps them as a whole. He also loves the freedom and support Pixar management gives him to try new things. In his career at Pixar, Sohn has been a character designer, worked in story production, and finally moved on to animation and voice work. He finds Pixar a place that allows employees to grow. In fact, over the last few years as I’ve watched the careers of many of Pixar’s directors and producers; it’s clear they believe in a from-the-inside and work-your-way-up mentality. It’s refreshing to see a company reward hard work.
I’m looking forward to watching Sohn’s career at Pixar. I expect we’ll see him do some amazing things and we won’t have to wait long. Sohn is co-directing The Good Dinosaur along with Bob Peterson which will be released in theaters in 2014.