Disney Pixar’s upcoming film, Turning Red, is groundbreaking on a number of levels. It’s the first Pixar film to be led by an all woman creative team, the first to be directed by a woman of color, and the first to feature an Asian girl protagonist.
Shi, best known for her breakout Pixar short film Bao, is directing her first feature length animated film with Turning Red, which tells the story of an Asian 13-year-old girl in Toronto learning what it means to grow up. I had the pleasure of speaking with Shi and producer Lindsey Collins on their upcoming film and their love for the character of Mei Lee and the overall story was infectious.
For Shi, this is very much a personal story. She talked about how she was the vice-president (not president!) of the anime club in high school and the ways that anime and manga inspired the look and feel of this film. She also revealed that her own mother hid behind a tree on her first day of school, a mortifying scene which we see replicated in the film. Collins talked about how she feels that although this story is a uniquely Asian film, the themes and messages can be universally appreciated.
Check out our conversation below, as well as my interview with Production Designer Rona Liu.
Disney Pixar’s Turning Red premieres exclusively on Disney+ on March 11th!
Disney and Pixar’s “Turning Red” introduces Mei Lee (voice of Rosalie Chiang), a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. Her protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming (voice of Sandra Oh), is never far from her daughter—an unfortunate reality for the teenager. And as if changes to her interests, relationships and body weren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited (which is practically ALWAYS), she “poofs” into a giant red panda! Directed by Academy Award® winner Domee Shi (Pixar short “Bao”) and produced by Lindsey Collins “Turning Red”launches on Disney+ March 11, 2022.
Ron is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of POC Culture. He is a big believer in the power and impact of pop culture and the importance of representation in media.