Joe Gardner in ‘Soul’ Inspired By Real Life NYC Music Teacher
We’ve got a feel good story for your Thursday morning! If you were one of the millions that streamed Pixar’s existential film ‘Soul’ over the Christmas break then you’ve seen first hand protagonist Joe Gardner’s dedication to his students. But, did you know that Joe was actually based on a real NYC school teacher!?
According to a recent piece on ABC 7, Dr. Peter Archer is the “heart” behind the new film. Dr. Archer retired last June after 34 years as a teacher and was involved in the production calling it the perfect ending to a long career. Check out the heartwarming clip from ABC below:
Though Pixar’s film follows a fictionalized character Joe Gardner, a high school music teachers with aspirations of becoming a professional jazz musician, Dr. Archer said “The movie starts in my classroom!”
Dr. Archer taught at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 in Bayside for decades where he inspired generations of students. This culminated in receiving an email from Soul director Pete Docter inviting him to the Pixar campus in California.
Archer recalls, “Pete repeatedly asked us, ‘Did I get this right? Is this correct?'” when developing the film. Members of the Soul team even paid a visit to Dr. Archer’s New York City classroom to take photos and measurements to accurately portray a high school music room!
When asked how close to real life the Pixar film was Dr Archer said, “It’s very close actually.” He continued, “They did a fantastic job.” Archer also draws comparison between himself and Joe Gardner when it comes to finding his spark saying, “My passion as a musician is just to play, same as Joe Gardner.” Dr. Archer continues, “And I think I found my spark, my love, if you will, my love for education, by accident.”
As a matter of fact, the whole notion of finding ones “spark” in life was one of the elements of the film that Dr. Archer said really resonated with him. He told ABC 7, that it resonated with him so deeply because he felt like Joe’s arc was similar to his arc. “It was such a joy teaching all those years,” he said. “And for this to have happened was the perfect coda.”
When asked how his former students reacted to the film Archer said that the feedback has been “overwhelming and positive.” He went on to say that some of his former students even have kids of their own and reached out to express their gratitude and say that his involvement was just what was needed to bring Soul to life!
If you missed Soul on Disney+ be sure to check it out now! Here’s an official trailer for the film:
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Source: ABC 7