Pixar Plans Italy-Set 'Luca' as Next Feature Film

'Luca' First Look - H Publicity 2020
Walt Disney Studios

'La Luna' helmer Enrico Casarosa will direct the coming-of-age tale about a young boy and a sea monster friend from producer Andrea Warren.

Animation powerhouse Pixar has unveiled its next feature, Italy-set Luca, to be directed by Enrico Casarosa, writer and director of the studio's 2012 Academy Award-nominated animated short La Luna.

Walt Disney said Luca, which will be produced by Andrea Warren (Lava, Cars 3), is set to open in U.S. theaters on June 18, 2021. Set on the Italian Riviera, the animated feature will be a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides.

Pixar added the titular Luca will share his adventures with a newfound best friend, a sea monster from another world just below the water's surface.

“This is a deeply personal story for me, not only because it’s set on the Italian Riviera where I grew up, but because at the core of this film is a celebration of friendship. Childhood friendships often set the course of who we want to become and it is those bonds that are at the heart of our story in Luca,” said Casarosa in a statement.

“So in addition to the beauty and charm of the Italian seaside, our film will feature an unforgettable summer adventure that will fundamentally change Luca," he added.

Casarosa's short La Luna, also set in Italy, follows a young boy on a midnight boat ride with his father and grandfather. It played in theater's with Pixar's Brave. The studio uses its shorts program to identify talent, with Domee Shi, writer and director of Pixar's 2019 Oscar winning animated short Bao currently developing a feature project for the studio.

At Pixar, Casarosa also served as a storyboard artist on titles including Coco, Up and Ratatouille.