Did you know…
…that Edna Mode of “The Incredibles” was voiced by director Brad Bird?
The story goes that Lily Tomlin was originally cast to voice the small yet larger-than-life character who helps usher the Parr family into a new age of heroic antics through her special talent of superhero costume design.
Director Brad Bird would read through Edna’s lines for Lily Tomlin to give her an accurate idea of how he wanted the character to perform. However, after hearing him read Edna, Lily told Brad, “What do you need me for? You’ve got it already.”
Edna is my favorite character of what I consider to be the best of Pixar’s films.
Know who you are.
Though “The Incredibles” follows the lives of the Parr family—Bob, Helen, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack—we meet their various influencers throughout the film. Edna Mode is seen in the first sequence as an attendant of Bob & Helen’s wedding, and years pass before we see her again when Bob asks her for a “patch job” on his antiquated superhero suit.
Edna, through a quick expository scene, establishes her identity as the superhero costume designer who has now turned to designing for super models. We learn fairly quickly that she loathes her current occupation and Bob’s request catapults her back into what she truly loves.
From her first spoken words on screen, Edna leaves no doubt as to who she is in the world, what she doesn’t like about it, and how vital she is to the lives of those in her circle. She leaves no doubt of who she is and how she fits (sometimes with resistance) into the landscape of her influence.
Remind them who you are.
∧My favorite line in the movie.∧
In a crucial scene where we find Edna allowing Helen to sob about where her life has arrived and doubts she has about her own husband, Edna will have none of it. She knows she sits inches away from a being who has the abilities necessary to save lives by superhuman means yet has allowed very human experiences to reduce her identity to powerlessness. In the space of 30 seconds, Edna confronts Helen incredulously and speaks the crucial words,
“You will show him you remember that he is Mr. Incredible, and you will remind him who you are!”
How often do you forget who you are? Everything you offer to the world around you—talents, words, actions, reactions, kindness, honesty—can feel insignificant when we are confronted with failure, disappointment, or ____________________ (fill in the blank with your own detractor).
Whether or not we have a little superhero costume designer around to whack us with a good dose of reality, we each need to constantly remind ourselves and those around us who we are. Even if you need to write on post-it notes the best parts of you and stick them up around your space, give yourself those necessary ego boosts to recall why you’re important in spite of whatever happens.
A parting thought for you from Edna,
“Go. Confront the problem. Fight! WIN!
And call me when you get back, darling. I enjoy our visits.”