'Turning Red' producer: There was no Disney pushback about puberty story (exclusive)

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·3-min read

Watch: Turning Red producer discusses the movie's puberty subtext

Turning Red producer Lindsey Collins says 'nobody fought' the decision to tell a frank story about a young woman's puberty in the animated movie.

Directed by Domee Shi, who previously helmed the Oscar-winning Pixar short Bao, the film follows a 13-year-old girl as she struggles with a family curse which means she begins to transform into a red panda whenever her emotions are heightened.

When Mei (Rosalie Chiang) first transforms, she rushes home and into her bathroom, prompting her mother (Sandra Oh) to ask whether she is experiencing her first period.

Read more: Pixar's Turning Red is a love letter to the noughties

"It was in there from the first screening, that scene and those moments," Collins told Yahoo.

Collins added: "So in a weird way it was almost like we put it out there and said: 'Okay, now's your chance. If you're not comfortable with it, speak now, because you're not gonna claim that we surprised you with it at the end'."

'Turning Red' has been praised for dealing with the idea of puberty, through the lens of a girl who turns into a red panda. (Disney/Pixar)
'Turning Red' has been praised for dealing with the idea of puberty, through the lens of a girl who turns into a red panda. (Disney/Pixar)

Shi has spoken about these themes, telling Polygon that the panda transformation is "a metaphor not just for puberty, but also what we inherit from our moms, and how we deal with the things that we inherit from them".

Read more: Everything coming to Disney+ UK in March

Collins added: "They [the studio] were in. They knew that was going to be a part of the story and it didn't feel gratuitous. It felt like this is the tone of this movie that we bought off on and the tone of filmmaker that we love.

"So nobody really fought it. I think everybody embraced it early on and found themselves really getting delighted by the sheer embarrassment, cringiness and the boldness of it. So it was exciting."

Sandra Oh plays mother Ming in 'Turning Red', alongside Rosalie Chiang as teenage protagonist Mei. (Disney/Pixar)
Sandra Oh plays mother Ming in 'Turning Red', alongside Rosalie Chiang as teenage protagonist Mei. (Disney/Pixar)

Collins has been at Pixar since 1997 and said it was "incredibly exciting" to have worked with Shi on this film, which is the studio's first movie to be solely directed by a woman.

She added: "We do these quick company meetings and Domee had to stand up and do a pitch and show a quick scene of the film very early on.

"You could feel it in the room. People were laughing and felt the voice of Domee, which is very different. It's kind of a bolder, more in-your-face way of storytelling.

"Obviously, Bao was that too, so I don't think it was surprising necessarily, but I think everybody felt it. To be a part of that, for me, was a gift. I am really proud and happy to have been a part of it."

Turning Red will be available for Disney+ subscribers to stream from 11 March.

Watch: Trailer for Turning Red

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