In pitching and creating the new Pixar film Turning Red, director Domee Shi had a very particular visual style in mind from the very beginning.


"I think the term we used a lot in meetings was 'Asian tween fever dream'," she explained in an exclusive interview with

"When we first started working on it, we really wanted the style to feel different. We wanted it to feel like our protagonist, like Mei Lee, like what would the world look like if it was from the eyes of this spunky, confident, dorky, larger-than-life tween girl?"

On those terms, the film certainly succeeds. Turning Red brilliantly mimics the mind of its teenage protagonist, using a variety of different animation styles and techniques to create a loud, frantic energy that very much lets the audience believe they're seeing the world from Mei Lee's perspective.

In order to get there, Shi explained, the creative team sought influences in a number of different directions.

"We're inspired a lot by anime, but also by Western animation too," she said. "Like classic Warner Brothers and Disney and just, you can see that in how slapstick and goofy the characters act and behave in certain scenes.

"But we really pushed the colours and the lighting of this world to really make it feel fresh and pastelly and vibrant – just like our main character."

"Edgar Wright was also a big influence," added producer Lindsey Collins. "In the sense of like, how he would utilise camera, and, you know, his cutting pattern and stuff like that. That just felt so kind of active and stylised."

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"Definitely," Shi agreed. "We looked at a lot of like, how does live-action stylise the look of their movies? So we looked a lot at Edgar Wright, we looked at Wes Anderson. It was just, yeah, how do we push it, you know?"

Speaking more specifically about the colours and lighting used for the film, production designer Rona Liu told and other press: "When planning for the progression of colour and lighting for the entire film, we're always looking to Mei and how her emotional state is tracking throughout the film.

"Around the centre-line of the graph is where Mei feels calmer and more balanced, and she's feeling really confident. And any time we move above or below the centre-line, that's where we give ourselves the permission to go crazy with camera, colour, and light. Domee always described the vibe of this film as an Asian teenage fever dream, and I feel like we just captured all of that."

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