Disney Animation’s first theatrical short film in five years, Us Again, debuted on Disney+ on Friday. The film, which debuted with the theatrical release of Raya and the Last Dragon earlier this year, tells the story of an elderly man, Art, and his young-at heart-wife, Dot, with the pair rekindling their zest for life one magical night through dance. The short has no dialogue with its story instead of being told entirely through dance. But you can’t have dance without music and Captain Marvel composer Pinar Toprak gives the short a funk and soul-infused sound. According to Toprak, the music and the experience of Us Again doesn’t compare to Captain Marvel at all — and was a very exciting challenge for the composer.
“It doesn’t compare. I mean, it’s an entirely different approach in every way, which is what’s really exciting and enticing for me,” Toprak told ComicBook.com. “Because I think in a lot of art forms, we get kind of pigeonholed and people like to think of us as a certain way. She does this, she does that. And for me, I love challenging that. I love making… I love surprising people that way.”
She continued, “And I’m kind of a… My musical A.D.D. is, I think, kind of paying off in my career right now, because I am classically trained, but I also have a huge background in jazz, and I listen to funk and soul very much. And so for me, anytime I’m asked to do something different than the usual norm, lately, I just jump on that opportunity. Because it’s this funk and soul with orchestra and it’s… I wasn’t doing that at the time.”
Toprak said that she hopes to continue challenging herself the way the sore for Us Again challenged her.
“So it was really, really exciting for me,” Toprak said. “Yeah. And I hope I keep challenging myself in those ways. And for me, it was really important, really valuable. I mean that Brad and everybody trusted me with this because they hadn’t heard of me writing funk and soul before. So there’s a bit of leap of faith that, that kind of happens. And then from my end, I want to make sure that I live up to it. Not only I live up to it, hopefully, I expect they are… I exceed their expectations and do something special. For me, I get a little bored doing the same things over and over again. So I need to do different things.”
Producer Brad Simonsen added that it was Toprak’s excellence that hooked them on her as the short’s composer.
“She hadn’t done anything like that, or we hadn’t heard anything like that. And that Pixar short was jazz, I believe,” Simonsen said. “And it wasn’t… It wasn’t funk, but what we saw was excellence. Right? So what we saw was excellence. And then when she came to the meeting, the energy and the… And the passion for storytelling and complimentary storytelling with music. And that’s really what hooked us.”
Us Again is now streaming on Disney+.