“In China she’s like more famous than Santa Claus. Every child grows up knowing this myth,” says “Over the Moon” producer Peilin Chou about Chang’e, the moon goddess at the heart of the Netflix animated musical. “It was definitely a myth I grew up with personally … It felt like a wonderful thing to share that part of China with the world as well.” We talked with Chou as part of our “Meet the Experts” film producers panel. Watch our interview above.
The film tells the story of Fei Fei (voiced by Cathy Ang), a teenage girl who seeks out Chang’e to stop her father from getting remarried four years after her mother’s death. The screenplay was written by Audrey Wells, for whom the story was more personal than Chou initially understood. “When she turned in that first draft of the script to me she said, ‘I want you to know, this is the most important thing I’ve ever written,'” Chou remembers. “About six to nine months later she shared with me that she was terminally ill and she didn’t know how much time she had left … She wanted to leave it as a love letter to her daughter.”
Wells was able to see an early cut of the film with her family before she died in 2018, which makes the film’s themes resonate even more strongly: “Even if someone passed on and you can’t be together, the love that you shared lasts forever … It was just so meaningful for us to be able to be on that journey with her.”
Also joining them for that journey was legendary animator Glen Keane, making his feature film debut as a director (he recently won an Oscar with Kobe Bryant for the 2017 short film “Dear Basketball“). “I fell in love with animation when I saw Ariel, ‘The Little Mermaid,’ who he created, so it was a little bit of a full-circle journey for me. They say you should never meet your heroes, but Glen Keane does not disappoint.”
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