Netflix and Pearl Studio’s upcoming feature, Over the Moon is bringing more Asian representation to animation.
The animated musical follows the journey of a young girl, Fei Fei (played by newcomer Cathy Ang), who builds a rocket ship to the moon in order to prove the existence of a legendary Chinese Moon Goddess, Chang’e (played by Tony Award-winning actress, Phillipa Soo), following her mother’s death. The official trailer was released Tuesday.
Directed by legendary Disney animator, Glen Keane (The Little Mermaid, Dear Basketball) and written by the late Audrey Wells (The Hate U Give), Over the Moon features a star-studded Asian cast including Sandra Oh, Ken Jeong, John Cho, Ruthie Ann Miles, and Margaret Cho.
John Cho expressed he was drawn to the film because it explores the positive and loving experience of the Asian family dynamic.
“It’s hard to find films that represent Asian culture, especially family dynamics, as something that’s not oppressive or is attached to shame or filial piety or doing things that you don’t want to do,” said Cho, according to Buzzfeed. “This story is about an Asian family that is rooted in love. That’s what gives it its heart. And I love that about this film.”
He added he was happy to show his children an animated film with diverse representation, though he noted this seems to be the norm for the younger generation.
“For my daughter, while we were watching this film, I was like, ‘This is so amazing, look at all these Asian animated faces.’ And she was nonplussed,” he recalled during a virtual discussion with the cast and crew last week, as reported by Variety. “And I was so thrilled about that. [A] world where giving her content or providing content for her, where this stuff is normalized, is a real gift.”
Meanwhile, Soo, was interested in the story of Chang’e, one she remembers since childhood through a children’s book written by Amy Tan.
“I remember as a kid, asking my dad to read it over and over and over to me. Because I was just obsessed with this idea of the moon lady,” Soo said in the virtual discussion. “And when I was asked to play her, I was of course honoured because it’s so infrequent that I’m being asked to play specifically Chinese characters. And also even more rare that I get to be in a film with incredible Asian actors who are surrounding me. So when I read the script and they invited me to come join them to create this beautiful story, I was, of course, immediately on board and so excited.”
Over the Moon will be released this fall on Netflix.