RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON Virtual Roundtable Q&A with Don Hall, Adele Lim and Qui Nguyen!
Thank you Walt Disney Studios for inviting me to the RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON Virtual Roundtable Q&A with Don Hall, Adele Lim and Qui Nguyen! What an honor to speak to these three greats behind RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON.
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON is Disney’s new Warrior Princess from Southeast Asia. It’s heartwarming, empowering and most of all EPIC, representation matters and RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON nailed it!
Every character has their own story and their own personality, watching them all evolve is spectacular. Raya's inner turmoil about trusting others again is something we all go through and she shows us all how to overcome our fears and insecurities, and most importantly, trust in yourself.
I’m always fascinated in what scene makes it into the movie, what scenes get deleted, and is there a scene that should have made it but didn’t, and during our junket my curiosity was answered!
BelAirMommie: I would love to know, what are your favorite scenes in the movie? And was there a scene that didn't make the cut, that you wish looking back, it had?
Adele: Bill has seen many more scenes than we have. I don't know. There were so many great scenes. I think that, there's a thing about killing your “darlings” for the movie. And you know, in a movie like this, you're putting up a lot of story boards to get the movie that we have at the end.
I remember earlier, we had this dinner scene with everybody coming around for the first time and sharing a meal. And I think earlier, we felt like that was the heart of the movie, and that had to go away. We were devastated about that. But it got reincarnated into all these amazing other food scenes. You know, things fall away, but then they kind of get reincarnated into other forms within the movie. It was just lovely being able to see all the new scenes in their in their new forms.
Don: There was one, John Riphah, our
co-director, and our board artist, like one of the best ever, he boarded a scene of Amari and her her Fang crew going back to Fang and they encountered a drone. And she did like some really cool stuff and kind of saved her crew. And it was just an amazing Namara moment, actually kind of too amazing, so it was cut. We, the audience, needs to feel like she's the main antagonist. If not, you know, not a full on villain, we needed that, that threat. We watched the movie and we could feel ourselves start to kind of align with Namara. And, like Adele said, killing your darlings kind of thing, because it was so cool. But it was almost too cool for the movie at that at that point. And so we had to, we had to pull it.
Qui: I think the other thing like we were leaving things that before I came on to the movie to work on, it was just like that there was a lot of exploration of what the drill was going to be. And because of that, Raya had so many different ways of fighting them. And so there was all of these amazing fight sequences, when the driller rock monsters trying to get by them and actually punched them, and these different action sequences that the group would have. So they could find ways to become friends. And there was this amazing training sequence, in which for no reason at all. Raya’s been a fighter her whole life, but for some reason, we need a training sequence where they all learn how to fight. And then of course, we cut it from the movie because she spent her whole life learning how to fight, it was kind of redundant, but it was so funny and fun. So there's a lot of good sequences. But, as Adele said, being a disciplined filmmaker, you got to sometimes kill your darlings to be able to do what's right for the story.
This is exactly why you need the DVD RIGHT now! Take a look at the Deleted Scenes:
* Introduction – Head of Story Fawn Veerasunthorn introduces deleted scenes from Raya and the Last Dragon.
* The Bridge – Raya confronts an early version of the Druun in this deleted storyboard sequence.
* Escaping Namaari – See an early version sequence of an introduction to Namaari as an adult.
* Dragon Blade – Discover an early version of Raya's sword, when it used to have magical powers.
* Meet Boun – Meet an early version of Boun before he was a chef and shrimp boat captain.
* The Heart of the Dragon – Co-Director John Ripa introduces a deleted scene which brought the theme of hope into the film.
Don Hall (Director) began his career at Walt Disney Animation Studios in June 1995 as a story apprentice on “Tarzan.” He served as a story artist on several development projects and productions, including “The Emperor’s New Groove” and “Chicken Little” before becoming head of story for “Meet the Robinsons” and “The Princess and the Frog.”
Hall made his directorial debut for Disney Animation’s 2011 “Winnie the Pooh” and went on to direct “Big Hero 6,” which won an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature Film. He then served as co-director on “Moana” and worked on several development projects before his role as director on “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
ADELE LIM (Screenwriter) is a writer-producer for film and television whose credits include “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” A Malaysian native of Chinese descent, she came to the U.S. at age 19 and graduated from Emerson College, Boston. She has 17 years of experience writing and producing primetime television dramas, including “Private Practice,” “One Tree Hill” and “Lethal Weapon,” and was the co-showrunner and Executive Producer of “Starcrossed.”
Lim mentors emerging writers through the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) and the Sundance Institute and has been named amongst Elle’s Women in Hollywood Power List and Variety’s Women’s Impact Report. Currently she is working on an original feature comedy which has been acquired by Lionsgate.
QUI NGUYEN (Screenwriter) is a Vietnamese-American playwright and screenwriter, best known for his shows “Vietgone” and “She Kills Monsters.” He’s an alumnus of Marvel Studios Writers Program and has previously written for “Dispatches from Elsewhere,” “The Society,” “Incorporated” and “Peg+Cat,” for which he received a 2016 Daytime Emmy. He’s also a co-founder of Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company of New York City, who are credited for being the “pioneers of geek theatre.”
Experience Never-Before-Seen Bonus Footage and Deleted Scenes when
Raya and the Last Dragon Releases on Digital April 2 and 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and DVD May 18
Includes Disney’s New Animated Short, Us Again
Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than dragon magic to save the world—it’s going to take trust as well. From directors Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, co-directors Paul Briggs and John Ripa, producers Osnat Shurerand, Peter Del Vecho, and featuring the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and Awkwafina as Sisu.