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Rosalie Chiang And Sandra Oh Talk About Drawing Upon Real-Life Influences For Turning Red - Exclusive

"Turning Red" has all of the hallmarks of an instant Pixar classic. 

It has a relatable story that will make you tear up by the end, it has an adorable animal at the forefront that's likely great for selling merchandise, and plenty of kids, teenagers, and adults can likely see a bit of themselves within at least one of the characters. 

It all starts when Mei Lee (Rosalie Chiang) discovers an old family secret. All of the women in the Lee family turn into big red pandas upon puberty. While there's a way to reverse the transformation, Mei Lee will go on a journey of self-discovery to figure out who she truly wants to be once she steps out of her mother's shadow. 

While there are certainly magical elements to "Turning Red," there's genuine human emotion, too, particularly between Mei and her mom, Ming Lee (Sandra Oh). Looper had the chance to speak exclusively with both stars to see how they made their characters more than merely one-dimensional figures.

Rosalie Chiang came of age alongside Mei Lee

It's only natural for actors to draw upon real-life experiences to inform their characters. They need to find a way to relate to them in order to deliver a more genuine performance. Sometimes, that's easier said than done, but for Rosalie Chiang, voicing Mei came naturally. As she put it, "I started recording for Mei when I was 12. 12 to 16. I was in that age range of experiencing puberty, and changes, and messiness, all while Mei was. So yes, many experiences, especially the mother-daughter relationship, is something that's very similar. I drew a lot from my own experiences with my mother and our changing relationship."

Similarly, Sandra Oh says she also drew from personal experience to portray Ming Lee: "I guess, for me, to represent the parents in this film, because the film is about Mei. But to represent Ming well, I absolutely drew from my own experience. The experience of loving your child, and then having to let them go, is a very difficult part about parenting." Whatever the actresses did turned out to be a resounding success. Critics and audiences alike have discussed at length the mother-daughter relationship between Mei and Ming, and the pair will certainly go down as one of the all-time great parent-child dynamics in all of film. 

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