Pixar film ‘Soul’ causes controversy in Portugal due to dubbing done by white actors

Pixar’s Soul, which debuted on Disney+ on December 25, broke new ground by introducing the studio’s first black lead, Joe Gardner, a jazz musician who gets a big break at a jazz club.

But in Portugal the film has caused controversy because in the Portuguese version, the dubbing was done by white actors. On Saturday, several prominent personalities in Portugal rushed to sign a petition calling for a new Portuguese version of the film.

“In Portugal, Disney treated this film as one more, not having the same criteria and ignoring the original intention in choosing actors of African descent to give voice to the characters,” the petition reads.

“There is no question of the usual good work in dubbing done in Portugal or the quality of the actors in the Portuguese version, but there is an expectation of respect for the original intention and for what it historically represents: to be the first animated film with a black protagonist, interpreted for black voices, ” the petition adds.

The petition was signed by Ana Sofia Martins, Dino D´Santiago, Mamadou Ba, Mayra Andrade, Nástio Mosquito, Pedro Coquenão and Sara Tavares.

“Soul” is only the fourth American animated feature to have Black protagonists, following “Bebe’s Kids” (1992), “The Princess and the Frog” (2009) and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018).