Also, what is up with that Canadian grading system?!
When it comes to stories about growing up and coming-of-age, Turning Red hits the nail on the head with an adorable and heartwarming story about a 13-year-old named Meilin “Mei” Lee (Rosalie Chiang). Puberty is already a difficult time in life, but what if when you were consumed by hormones and emotions you spontaneously turned into a giant red panda? Blessed/cursed with this ability, Turning Red follows Mei as she discovers her new powers and learns to embrace them.
Turning Red captures the nuance of a mother-daughter relationship, one that is rooted in love but also connection, over-protectiveness, and cultural norms. It’s hard enough having to deal with this newfound ability, but Mei must also confront her mother Ming (Sandra Oh) as a young adult now growing into her own person.
We had a chance to speak with the director, co-writer, and Oscar-winner Domee Shi and Pixar producer Lindsey Collins about the film. Like her previous award-winning short Bao, Turning Red felt very personal so I was wondering if she pulled from any personal life experiences when it came to the story. Shi revealed that much like Mei, at 13, she went through big changes and was constantly fighting with her mom and her goal was to revisit that and look at the story from both perspectives.
Collins, who has worked on projects like A Bug’s Life and WALL-E, also discussed working during a pandemic while making Turning Red and how Pixar’s tried-and-true methods had to be reworked when the pandemic hit, forcing the team to work on the fly. We also talked a little about Shi’s love for Toronto and even touched on the Canadian grading system? Hint to Americans: We have been cheated!
Watch what Domee Shi and Lindsey Collins had to say in the player above, and below is exactly what we talked about.
- What personal life experiences did Shi pull from when it came to Turning Red?
- Why was it important to explore this story about a Chinese-Canadian character especially?
- What was Collins’ most challenging Pixar project that she learned the most from?
- How was working with Shi different than other directors for Collins?
- How did the pandemic change how Pixar worked?
- What inspired Shi’s decision to set the story in Toronto?
Plus, the all-female team of filmmakers reveal which supporting character they’d love to see get a Disney+ series.
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