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Raya and the Last Dragon director Don Hall says new Disney film is “timeless but also timely”

Hall says the film has been made all the more relevant by events in the last year.

Raya and The Last Dragon (Disney)

Brand new Disney animated feature Raya and the Last Dragon will make its way to our screens next week (via streaming platform Disney Plus), and according to one of the film’s directors, it couldn’t come at a better time.

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The film – which is set in the fantasy kingdom of Kumandra and is inspired by a range of Southeast Asian influences – centres on the theme of trust, and Don Hall says that the coronavirus pandemic has ensured it will be more relevant than ever.

“We had no idea how relevant and timely it was going to become,” he told RadioTimes.com ahead of the film’s release. “We wanted to take this world that was already fragmented and give it an existential threat to put pressure on this world in the form of the Druun [the film’s main villains].

“And of course almost a year ago we were waylaid by COVID and this existential threat that was doing the same thing to the entire world. So that was all coincidence, we had no idea. But I do think it’s important that our films be timeless but also timely –  you’re always trying to find that sweet spot and I think this film did it.”

Hall and his fellow director Carlos López Estrada first came on board the project around a year and a half ago, and he said that they always wanted the theme of trust to be the main takeaway from the film.

“Having worked on a lot of different types of stories I think theme is probably the most important thing, because it’s the glue that holds everything together,” he said. “And there’s always two schools of thought with theme, sometimes you find the theme along the way, or sometimes you come at it with a theme that you want the story to be built around.

“Our collaboration on this film definitely started with theme, from day one when we gathered for this film it was about trust. Because we felt the film really wanted to be about unity but we needed something to illustrate that, what is the hurdle that is prohibiting unity, and just looking at where the world was at a year-and-a-half ago we felt that trust was the clearest way to demonstrate that.”

Raya and the Last Dragon is available on Disney Plus Premium from Friday 5th March 2021 – take a look at our Movies hub for all the latest news

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