Pixar has released the official trailer for “Turning Red,” its first feature-length film directed by an Asian woman. Chinese-born Canadian director Domee Shi is best known for her Academy Award-winning short film “Bao,” and for her work on other Pixar films such as “Inside Out.”
“Turning Red,” which is set to be released March 11, tells the story of Mei, voiced by Rosalie Chiang, a “confident, dorky” 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian girl growing up in the early 2000s, according to Pixar.
Mei soon discovers a secret that her mother, Ming, voiced by Sandra Oh, has kept from her. Their ancestors have a magical connection to red pandas — which means that Mei will transform into a large red panda when she experiences certain intense emotions.
The trailer, which is set to the 2000 NSync song “It’s Gonna Be Me,” shows how Mei must navigate being a teenager and the seemingly impossible task of controlling her emotions to avoid transforming into a red panda, and also how she must learn to accept who she is.
The film also stars Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, star of the Netflix show “Never Have I Ever,” as Priya, one of Mei’s friends.
A teaser trailer released in July showed a scene with a turbaned Sikh security guard, thought to be the first Sikh character in a Pixar film.
“I rarely get to see these types of stories on the big screen in North America,” Shi told The Los Angeles Times in 2018 about “Bao.” “I was always exposed to Asian cinema, Asian animation, so that was one of my biggest influences too. If given the opportunity to create my own short film I’m definitely going to draw from those Asian influences because that’s just a part of who I am creatively as a filmmaker.”