The new Pixar movie Elemental broke new ground by including the first non-binary character in studio history, according to the actor who voiced the character.
The film tells the story of anthropomorphic elements (fire, water, land, air) who live in a city but rarely interact. The plot focuses on a young woman/fire element named Ember who falls in love with a young man/water element named Wade.
Midway through the film, Wade takes Ember back to his family's home, where he introduces her to his parents and siblings. That's when the audience learns that his sister, Lake, is dating a girl. (Both are seated at a table.)
"BIG ANNOUNCEMENT I got to play Pixar's first nonbinary character! Meet Lake!" voice actor Kai Ava Hauser tweeted on Friday, the day of the film's release. "I voice Lake in the new movie #Elemental! I'm seeing it in theaters tonight with my friends, so you can catch it in theaters too if you wanna see them."
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT I got to play Pixar's first nonbinary character! Meet Lake!— 🛸 Kai Ava Hauser 🛸 (@JustAVoiceActor) June 16, 2023
I voice Lake in the new movie #Elemental! I'm seeing it in theaters tonight with my friends, so you can catch it in theaters too if you wanna see them. 💙 pic.twitter.com/6kBPGvCATE
Although Hauser's Twitter bio lists "they/them" pronouns, Lake is introduced in the film by Wade with the pronoun "her."
In the film, Wade says Lake and her girlfriend are "students at Element City School for the Arts."
Elemental was only the second Pixar film released in theaters since the pandemic. Both films – the other was Lightyear – included LGBT characters.
Elemental struggled at the box office over the weekend, grossing an estimated $29.5 million, making it the second-lowest Pixar opening of all time. It received an A CinemaScore from moviegoers.
"The entire concept has been hard to win kids and families," Deadline reported. "But even more so, the film feels like a diluted version of the spirited existential stuff we've seen from the Emeryville, CA studio with Inside Out and Soul. Very same old, same old. You knew this was going to be bad when we heard about all those layoffs. Who knew we would be living in an era where Illumination would trump Pixar in grosses?"
Photo courtesy: ©Disney, used with permission.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.