Turning Red Actor Mei Opens Up About Being Pixar’s First Asian Lead

Turning Red star Rosalie Chiang says she didn’t really get the hang of playing the first Asian main character in Pixar film history.

turn red Star Rosalie Chiang shares her excitement about voicing Pixar’s first Asian main character. Disney and Pixar’s latest animated feature follows 13-year-old Mei Lee as she faces her own version of puberty, which includes transforming into a giant red panda when she experiences intense emotions. turn red Director Domee Shi has earned praise for the film, recognition for her work as the first solo female director for Pixar Studios.

Shi worked alongside playwright Julia Cho to write the screenplay, exploring the struggles of adolescence while celebrating Chinese culture throughout the story. Although turn red did not receive a theatrical release, the film’s authentic depiction of Chinese culture intertwined with the Western world garnered overwhelmingly positive feedback after premiering on Disney+. As Mei confronts her perfectionist mindset and overprotective mother, Ming (Sandra Oh), she embarks on a journey to embrace her own desires and aspirations, rather than succumb to the pressures of the world around her.


Related: Turning Red Continues Pixar’s Major New Break From Tradition

By talking to Seventeen, turn redThe star shares what it’s like to voice Mei Lee for the first Asian film in Pixar’s history. Working for such a prestigious company is an honor in itself, notes Chiang, but having the history steeped in so much Chinese culture and Asian experience made the experience even better. Admitting it’s a little surreal, she hopes turn red opens new doors for audiences and future filmmakers. Read more about Chiang below:

It’s an honor and it’s surreal. I feel like it didn’t really hit me that I was the first Asian lead because I’m already struggling with the fact that I’m directing a Pixar movie in the first place. Breaking that barrier is very empowering because it’s not fair, oh, we took a random character and made him Asian. The fact that Mei is Asian plays a big part in the movie because there’s so much Asian culture, especially Chinese culture. I hope people will watch this film and see it as a doorway to another culture and family life.

Ming Lee, Mei Lee and Grandma Wu in Turning Red.

turn red marks Pixar’s twenty-fifth feature film, but the first centered on an Asian character and family. Critics praised the work Shi and Cho put into storytelling and applauded the diverse world surrounding Mei and her family. As Chiang mentions, the film gives audiences the opportunity to see how different family dynamics play out across cultures, while telling a relatable story about the struggles of growing up and finding each other.

Despite the critical acclaim Pixar received for the film, turn red got less public approval compared to other features. Some suggest that the nature of the film is atypical of other Pixar titles, as this film explores youth, the delicate transitions of adolescence, and makes direct references to topics like puberty, which some viewers may find uncomfortable. However, others say Disney and Pixar made a mistake sending the film straight to streaming, and that images like this deserve a theatrical release, especially when they depict positive portrayals of yet-undiscovered cultures on the big screen. screen. Chiang and all turn red The team celebrates a victory regardless, as the first film exploring Chinese culture and delving into a predominantly female story.

Next: Inside Out Broke a Pixar Trend (And Changed What Their Movies Could Be)

Source: Seventeen Magazine

  • Light year (2022)Release date: June 17, 2022

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