This week our #SeeHER Spotlight focuses on "Raya and the Last Dragon," which adds the first Southeast Asian princess to the Disney pantheon. Stars Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, and screenwriter Adele Lim share their thoughts about the message behind the film, the importance of which is amplified by the recent outbreak of violence against Asian-Americans.
Kelly Marie Tran is the voice of the title character Raya, a warrior who is tasked with finding the last dragon to help protect her people from evil forces determined to destroy their world. For Kelly Marie, it was energizing to represent her heritage and bring that corner of the world into the collective ether.
"Recognizing that this movie was going to be inspired by the part of the world that my family's from made me really excited."
The model of Raya is a little different from Disney Princesses of past films in that the character's flaws and strengths are equally presented to offer a more genuine perspective of what constitutes a hero.
The Disney team was deliberate in the process of presenting Raya in an authentic fashion, researching the different cultures of Southeast Asia in detail to create the fictional world of Kumandra. Screenwriter Adele Lim:
"No matter what you look like or where you come from, that your story and your face is definitely worth celebrating."
The timing of the film's release bears weight, as the reprehensible wave of violence against Asian-Americans has become rampant in this era of COVID inspired fear. Co-star Awkwafina says simply...
"Trust in unity over hate..."
"Raya and the Last Dragon" is out now in theaters and available on Disney+ with subscription. Check your local listings for showtimes!
Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon | Official Trailerwww.youtube.com