We all know Phyllis Smith from her role as Phyllis Vance in the hit television series The Office. After starring on that show for nine successful seasons, the 63-year old actress honestly didn't know what her next move would be after the show ended. However, one fateful day she got a phone call from PIXAR animation studios saying they wanted to talk to her about a potential role in their next film and the rest as they say, is history.
Phyllis Smith landed the role of the emotion "sadness" in PIXAR'S latest film, Inside Out. The movie centers around Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) a happy, hockey-loving 11-year-old Midwestern girl, whose world turns upside-down when she and her parents move to San Francisco. Riley's emotions -- led by Joy (Amy Poehler) -- try to guide her through this difficult, life-changing event. However, the stress of the move brings Sadness (Phyllis Smith) to the forefront. When Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley's mind, the only emotions left in Headquarters are Anger, Fear and Disgust.
The film is wonderful and clearly conveys the emotional roller coaster a young girl encounters. As a matter of fact, writer/director Pete Docter loosely based the story on his own pre-teenage daughter.
Phyllis Smith has had several small roles, in films that include "Bad Teacher" and "Butter," but "Inside Out," which opens Friday, June 19, offers the best chance for a break-out role.
Granted, we never see her playing Sadness, but just hearing her voice she often steals scenes with her self-doubt and sweetness.
I had the opportunity to chat with Phyllis Smith about playing Sadness, getting the chance to work on a PIXAR film and how The Office completely changed her life.