Disney-Pixar‘s Turning Red was clearly influenced by Director Domee Shi!
The movie focuses on Meilin “Mei” Lee, a 13-year-old Chinese Candian who goes through puberty in 2002. She experiences “the change” a bit differently from the average girl. When she gets stressed or experiences high emotions, she turns into a giant (but adorable) red panda.
Like Mei, Domee is Chinese Canadian. She’s also quite the fangirl!
In Turning Red, like most of us, Mei and her friends are obsessed with a boy band. During the time period in which the film is set, the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, and O-Town were the hottest groups. The fictional boy band seen in the film, 4*TOWN, obviously takes inspiration from these.
Now, in a Disney+ documentary on the making of Turning Red, Embrace the Panda: Making Turning Red, netizens realize just how big of a K-Pop stan Domee Shi is. Not only that, but it may have helped her get discovered.
A few minutes into the doc, Production Designer Rona Liu recounts the moment she discovered Domee. They were both quite young, and she happened upon Domee’s blog in which she saw an animation of a hamster dancing the choreography to SHINee‘s everso iconic “Ring Ding Dong.”
I first heard of Domee through seeing one of her ten-second animation clips. I was in college, and it was something that she posted on her blog. It was this dancing, twerking hamster to a K-Pop song. ‘Who is this girl? She’s probably going to be a really funny director one day.’
— Rona Liu
Rona Liu saw potential in Domee from that clip alone. And looking between that funny animation and Turning Red, there are clear similarities.
Did you know?
Thanks to SHINee we were blessed with 4*TOWN. pic.twitter.com/gNrSGsXKgh
— Hallyu Can Eat (@HallyuCanEat) March 14, 2022
Shawols are excited to see one of their own achieve such success!
SHINee's ring ding dong in embrace the panda : making turning red documentary on disney+ pic.twitter.com/61o0WAn3XQ
— ᵝᶥᵒˢˢᵒᵐ⁷¹⁸ ❅ (@blossom718_) March 13, 2022
So, let this be a lesson in that being a K-Pop fan pays off and gets you jobs!
Domee Shi is not the only Turning Red crew member that’s a K-Pop fan though. The actress who brought Mei Lee to life with her voice, Rosalie Chiang, is also a huge multi-fan! Read about her below: