Amy Poehler Explains Why Reprising Inside Out Role ‘Feels Like Healing Work’

Amy Poehler is sharing why she is so excited for the upcoming Inside Out sequel.

The star reprises her role as Joy in Pixar’s latest, Inside Out 2, which will release almost exactly nine years after the first film. While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Poehler, 52, said she has “a wonderfully relaxed feeling about” promoting the new movie.

“Doing the voice work feels like healing work to me,” she said, when asked how it felt to reprise the voice role after a decade passed since she made the first Inside Out. “The content touches me so deeply as a grown woman, and it touches the young child inside of me.”

“This second one digs into the idea that at a certain age, new emotions like anxiety show up and everything becomes complicated and you become status-driven,” she added. “You start to feel almost nostalgic for the easier, more basic emotions like sadness and fear.”

Poehler told THR she sometimes experiences social anxiety. “One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m more of an introverted extrovert than I thought. So now I’m trying to figure out how to interact with other people.”

“For most of my 20s and 30s, I was so extroverted,” she explains. “I was doing improv and comedy and was on a weekly sketch variety show. I had to figure out what part of that was filling me up and what part was draining me — separating the authentic from the performative.”

Amy Poehler’s character Joy (center) in Pixar’s Inside Out 2.

Disney/Pixar


The Parks and Recreation alum starred in Inside Out as a personification of the emotion Joy; the film featured an ensemble cast that included Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, Phyllis Smith and Lewis Black as various emotions inside a young girl named Riley’s mind as she struggles to adjust with a move to San Fransisco with her parents.

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In the sequel, Tony Hale takes over Hader’s role as Fear and Liza Lapira (Crazy Stupid Love) voices Disgust instead of Kaling. Trailers for the movie show the characters from the first film encounter new emotions — including Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos), Envy (Ayo Edebiri) and Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser) — as Riley turns 13 and enters her teenage years.

Amy Poehler’s character Joy in 2015’s Inside Out.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

The core group of emotions grow concerned when the new teenaged emotions appear to take over the operation of Riley’s life, reflecting the growing pains young teenagers experience.

“Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust, who’ve long been running a successful operation by all accounts, aren’t sure how to feel when Anxiety shows up,” reads a synopsis for the movie. “And it looks like she’s not alone.”

Inside Out 2 is in theaters June 14.

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