The Turning Red star explains his favorite line that was cut from the film

It’s hard to imagine turn redby Meilin Lee without the voiceover of Rosalie Chiang. From passionate “AWOOOGA” to big sniffling tears, Chiang imbues the spunky 13-year-old protagonist of Pixar‘s latest animated film with captivating zest and distinctive relatability. Her behind-the-scenes stories from the movie became popular on TikTok, where she shared the genesis of the “AWOOOGA” line. But Chiang was originally hired to do the film‘s scratch audio — the temporary audio track that many animated films use while they’re still in the early stages of production. Her performance, however, won over director Domee Shi and the other filmmakers, who asked her to be the official voice of Mei.

Chiang recently spoke to Polygon about exactly when Mei’s character really solidified for her — and what Shi said to her that informed her approach to the character.

“That was the intro where she says, ‘I’m Meilin Lee, and since I was 13…'” Chiang said. “And after I said it once, Domee was like, Alright, now can you say it like you drank 10 Red Bulls? And me, at 12, I was like, I never had a Red Bull. But I knew exactly what she meant. And I said it like I drank 10 Red Bulls. And at that moment, everything clicked. I just felt like everyone in the room kind of came to an agreement, like Yeah, that’s it.

For the most part, Mei’s character came easily to Chiang. As a huge K-pop fan, she absolutely channeled her love of boy and girl groups into Mei’s enthusiasm for the boy group in the 4*Town universe.

Picture: Pixar

“My home team and I – we literally only talk about K-pop. And we can talk about it for hours and hours and hours,” she raves. “In fact, Domee was one of the people who encouraged me to listen to K-pop. She introduced me to bands like Big Bang, 2PM.

The scenes Chiang found the most difficult were those where Mei cries or is otherwise overcome with intense emotion. The first time Mei’s friends see her in panda form, for example, Chiang says she must have done some real emotional digging. The sequences that came to him most easily – like the iconic “AWOOOGA!” Mei blurts out while staring at her crush Devon – ricocheting in the opposite direction. Chiang says she had a great time expressing those moments, as well as anything involving funny actions or lines.

She says there was one particularly hilarious line from an earlier version of the plot that didn’t make the final cut. This took place after Mei learned of her family’s ties to red pandas – specifically her ancestor Sun Yee, whose close connection to the creature gave the Lee family the ability to transform in the first place.

“In the original version [version of the] legend was that Sun Yee had any wish,” says Chiang. “But she chose to be a giant red panda. And Mei is like,You could have had anything! The fame, the money, a smoky body! I love this line so much. And I remember everyone in the room was laughing [when we recorded it]. I was a little sad that it didn’t work out. »

turn red is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, with some hidden easter eggs and deleted scenes available to find.

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