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INTERVIEW – Disney Pixar’s ‘Turning Red’ Production Designer Rona Liu on Creating the Look and Feel of the Film

Screen Shot 2022 02 09 at 9.46.48 AM min

Disney Pixar’s Turning Red has a very unique, stylized look that incorporates elements of western animation and Japanese anime. Production Designer Rona Liu helped develop the vibrant look and feel of the film, bringing director Domee Shi’s vision to life.

Turning Red is a reunion for Liu and Shi, who first worked together on the 2018 Pixar animated short film Bao. I spoke with Liu about her work on the film, and she talked about how she was a fan of Shi well before they teamed up for Bao, and that she appreciates what a decisive and emotional director Shi is. Liu said that they were able to take their friendship and working relationship to the next level while working on Turning Red, getting to the point where they could practically read each others’ minds.

Liu immigrated to the United States when she was 10-years-old, and she talked about how much she connected with Turning Red‘s protagonist, Mei Lee. It’s obviously a very personal project for Liu, who mentioned that she gained a better understanding of her relationship with her own mother in part due to this project.

Watch our conversation below and check out my previous interview with director Domee Shi and producer Lindsey Collins.

Disney Pixar’s Turning Red premieres exclusively on Disney+ on March 11th! Interview with Rona Liu

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.

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