A third of the way into Luca, Pixar’s latest Disney Plus-exclusive release, the titular young sea monster meets his weird Uncle Urgo, a transparent deep-sea dweller who enjoys the dark and quiet of the bottom of the ocean. Urgo is strange, even for a sea monster, and he rambles on and on about how much he loves the nothingness of the deep sea. Though it’s not immediately detectable, the anglerfish-esque creature was brought to life by none other than Sacha Baron Cohen.
Luca’s parents call on Urgo in hopes of sending their son to the bottom of the ocean and dissuade his curiosity in the human world. But according to director Enrico Casarosa, Urgo wasn’t even supposed to be a character at first. He represents everything Luca fears, which originally took on a less tangible form.
“We needed Luca’s worst nightmare. I was like, ‘Well, what’s the worst nightmare for a curious kid?’ It was like nothingness. Darkness. Black,” Casarosa says. “So we started thinking about the deep. So then we’re like, ‘How do we personify it?’ Do we do an imagination moment [where] he imagines being there? We even boarded things before we put it all in a character. This is what happens when you live down there.”
A potential exile to the depths of the sea only prompts Luca to run away from home and venture to the surface with his best friend Alberto. That’s the last we see of Uncle Urgo within the duration of the movie, but Cohen did so much for the character that the Luca team decided to include a post-credits scene featuring Uncle Urgo swimming around in the deep and rambling to himself.
“It was a pleasure to see,” says Casarosa. “[Cohen] came in and he improvised so much that we even put a little button at the end of our movie to contain more of the improvisation that he did for us because he was so fun.”
Luca is out on Disney Plus now.