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Domee Shi And Lindsey Collins Discuss Changes Made To Turning Red Throughout Production - Exclusive

"Turning Red" is unlike anything Pixar has done before, and not just in terms of the animation style. It tells the story of Mei Lee (Rosalie Chiang), who's just your average teenage girl in the early 2000s who's into boy bands and Tamagotchis. The next day, she discovers a family curse that forces her to transform into a giant red panda whenever she experiences extreme emotions — as if puberty wasn't hard enough.

With some help (and some hardships) from her friends and family, she must learn to tame the beast lest it control her for the rest of her life. In true Pixar fashion, some tough lessons are learned, and while they may not be the easiest answers, they're the ones these particular characters near to hear. Another thing that isn't easy is crafting a movie of this magnitude, and director/screenwriter Domee Shi and producer Lindsey Collins spoke exclusively with Looper to talk all about the process. 

During that time, they spoke at length about the various changes they made to the film over the course of production. Suffice to say, "Turning Red" could've wound up to be an extremely different movie had some changes not been made.

Ultimately, they had to stay true to the story they wanted to tell

Movies, especially animated movies, take a long time to get off the ground. They often spend years in development, and as a result, a ton of ideas end up getting thrown in the trash because they don't work with a new vision of the film. Lindsey Collins spoke about some of the ideas they initially envisioned for "Turning Red" that they eventually had to discard, such as "Ming, her mom [played by Sandra Oh], didn't turn into a panda in the very first version of the movie." She goes on to mention, "There's a cousin who we eventually turned into Tyler [voiced by Tristan Allerick Chen] who is also a panda."

There were probably a ton of other ideas, but the word Collins used to describe all of these conflicting ideas was "convoluted." Ultimately, they had to do whatever was necessary in service of the story they wanted to tell, which is about a young girl coming to terms with her womanhood and navigating what she wants to do versus what her mother expects of her. Domee Shi explained, "It got simpler and more focused on the theme of puberty and dealing with growing up and all of those bells and whistles got cut away."

Given the fact the movie has been met with near-universal acclaim, it's safe to say they made the right storytelling decisions and crafted one of Pixar's best.

"Turning Red" is now streaming exclusively on Disney+.