One of the highlights of my trip to San Fransisco for the Good Dinosaur event was getting the chance to meet and chat with Inside Out cast members, Phyllis Smith (the voice of “Sadness”) & Richard Kind (the voice of “Bing Bong”).

Leanette Fernandez with Phyllis Smith and Richard Kind

From the moment they walked into the room, Phyllis could not stop smiling. She was so excited about us taking pictures of then that she even took the time to take a picture of us. This is a photo of her taking a picture of me taking a picture of her.

Phyllis Smith taking a pic of Leanette Fernandez

Before the interview started, I told her that she was too happy to be “sadness” so she embodied sadness for a quick second and I was able to capture it. But she quickly regained her smile because it comes natural to her. Getting the chance to hear about her role in the film and about how blessed she has been in her career made me her number one fan.

Phyllis Smith as sadness

Richard Kind also made quite an impression. He is such a funny guy and quite the intellectual considering how much thought he gave to all of his responses.  He was definitely made for the part of Bing Bong (who is my favorite character in Inside Out).

Richard Kind

All in all, it was a great interview. Check out what the had to say about…

Richard’s thoughts on Phyllis as Sadness

“It’s a perfect voice performance and a perfectly written part…because it’s such a touchy character because no one wants to be sad and yet we identify with you. So I am so taken by your performance because although it’s down in the dumps it’s not depressive. It’s simply sad and I think that that’s an amazing thing that they and you did.”

Phyllis’s thoughts on Richard as Bing Bong

“I loved his character…The heart of that character is just everywhere.”

Richard’s thoughts on being in the movie

“I love working for these people. To be in this masterpiece, what a gift!”

How Phyllis stayed in character

I can honestly say I didn’t like sit in the car and think of horrible things or anything before I went in…I really just tried to be truthful with whatever the line or the scene that we were doing…Pete Docter is such a wonderful director. If I wasn’t at a point where he wanted me to be, he was able to say, okay, let’s try it this way and he was able to give me really clear direction…I just tried to say the lines as truthful as I could.

Their thoughts on working with Pete Docter & Jonas Rivera

Richard: One thing that Pete is especially very good at when he directs is he’ll say “wow, that’s fantastic. Look what you brought to the table. Hey, wouldn’t it be good if we did it this way…”

Phyllis : Yeah, I think they have heart along with knowledge because they’ve been doing it so long. They know what they want and they know how to glean that from the actors without it making seem like you’re a total failure.

On what part of himself went into his character, Bing Bong

“Certainly my energy, ’cause I can be loud…I happen to think that I’m a nice man and I live my life with morality and ethics. I think I’m more positive than I am negative and I think that Bing Bong is free of negativity.

On how Phyllis got her start in acting

By God’s grace. I say that honestly. I had been a dancer and got an injury…so I knew that my career as a dancer was at the end of its life. I needed to work and I needed to pay my bills…I ended up taking some classes in commercials and such…I ended up as a receptionist and a friend of mine called and said they needed a mousey woman for one of the court shows and I said, I don’t know if I can make it back and forth ’cause I had this job and they don’t understand art, you know? [LAUGHTER]
So in the haste of all of this I ripped a huge hole in my nylon and I walked into the casting director’s office and I said, “excuse me, are you looking for a mousey woman or a tacky woman?” [LAUGHTER] And so I didn’t get the job ’cause I wasn’t mousey enough. But in the midst of all of that I told her I thought I’d be good in casting. I ended up in casting for 19 years. She called me a year later after that audition.

I ended up in casting for 19 years, working for really lovely, good casting directors. And “The Office” came along and the director, Ken Kwapis, of the pilot said, “Phyllis, I want you to read the character of Pam.” And I went okay because I had read with thousands of actors over those 19 years, and I mean thousands.

When he asked me about reading the Pam character, I thought, well, is somebody late?…What’s the deal? And so I went in and I read. They didn’t tell me they were auditioning me…About two weeks later wardrobe calls and said “I understand you’re playing the character of Phyllis” and I go, “yes, I am.” [LAUGHTER] …so I knew it was actually a hire. I suppose I was honing a craft all those years that I didn’t know I was honing, ’cause I was reading with actors and knowing what worked and didn’t work. In all seriousness I think God knew the inner desires of my heart and allowed me to have a new career in my older age.

Get Inside Out on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere now and on Blu-ray Combo Pack on November 3rd!