First Look Revealed for Disney’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon‘ Starring Kelly Marie Tran. Recently, Disney announced that Kelly Marie Tran (Star Wars) has replaced Cassie Steele as the first Southeastern Asian protagonist in a Disney film (Raya), with Tran becoming the first Southeast Asian Actor to lead in a Walt Disney Animation Studios production. It was also shared that Raya and the Last Dragon will now premiere in theaters on March 12, 2021 due to delays in production caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“[Raya] is someone who is technically a princess but I think that what’s really cool about this project, about this character, specifically is that everyone’s trying to flip the narrative on what it means to be a princess,” Tran shared about her role. “Raya is totally a warrior. When she was a kid, she was excited to get her sword. And she grows up to be a really badass, gritty warrior and can really take care of herself.”
“I’m never going to forget it,” Estrada shared with EW. “I think [Don and I] rode in the car together, and we were quiet, looking at each other and nodding our heads just being like, ‘Yep, yep, yep. Kelly’s perfect.’” Director Don Hall added, “she is Raya — just her buoyancy and her positivity, but yet there’s a strength as well to Kelly and the character.”
Hall went on to share that Kelly’s performance even led to a complete change for a pivotal scene of the film that they never would have imagined doing had it not been for her performance when she pitched the change. “We had this little dramatic moment; it was written as a few lines. And I remember her going, ‘Hey, I have some ideas because this is normally how I would say this or I have some questions. Do you mind if I tried it a little bit differently?’” the director recalls. “She went for it, improvised for a minute, and had us all in tears. We changed the scene and reblocked the animation so that it would follow what Kelly did that day because she just clicked on something that was so much bigger than anything we had imagined.”
“As filmmakers, Don and Carlos bring a combination of animation know-how and emotional storytelling to Raya and the Last Dragon, bringing our fantasy adventure to surprising, original, and dynamic heights,” Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee shared in a statement to EW. “They both saw the potential for this film and had a strong vision for the story, especially for our lead character, played by the wonderfully talented Kelly Marie Tran. And no small feat, directors Don and Carlos, writers Qui and Adele, and the entire crew of 400 Disney Animation artists are making this film together, while separated and working from home.”
“In the fantastic, mythical land of Kumandra, dragons used to be plentiful in the region, but they have all begun to disappear, so the search is on to discover the last one. The hero on this journey is Raya, a fearless warrior, who is determined to uncover the whereabouts of the last Dragon, Sisu, a water dragon who has the ability to take human form as an old woman.”
The cast for the film includes Kelly Marie Tran (Raya) and Awkwafina (Sisu), with Directors Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada replacing Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins as co-directors. The script for the film was co-penned by Adele Lim and Qui Nguyen. Be sure to check back here at Chip and Co. for updates and all things Disney!
Be sure to check back here at Chip and Co. for updates and all things Disney!
Featured Photo Credit: Disney
Source: Entertainment Weekly