Netflix dropped the first trailer Tuesday for its upcoming animated feature, “Over the Moon” (coming in the fall), a wondrous update of the Chinese Moon Goddess fable, directed by former Disney legend and Oscar winner Glen Keane (“Dear Basketball”). The co-production with Pearl Studio (“Abominable”) was animated at Sony Pictures Imageworks, with Oscar winner John Kahrs serving as co-director, Oscar winner Gennie Rim (“Dear Basketball”) producing with Pearl’s Peilin Chou.
In “Over the Moon” (scripted by the late Audrey Wells of “The Hate U Give”), 13-year-old Fei Fei (Cathy Ang) builds a rocket to the moon to meet the legendary goddess, Chang’e (Phillipa Soo of “Moana” and “Hamilton”). But her journey on Lunaria (production designed by Céline Desrumaux of “The Little Prince”) forces her to embrace change. Original songs were composed by Christopher Curtis (“Chaplin: The Musica”), Marjorie Duffield, and Helen Park (“KPOP”), and the score was by “Gravity” Oscar winner Steven Price. Also, famed costume designer Guo Pei designed the lavish gowns for Chang’e, which required Imageworks to up its simulation software.
Meanwhile, an “Over the Moon” work-in-progress session has been added Tuesday to Annecy 2020 Online, and Keane, Rim, and Chou will participate in a live Q&A on June 24 at 9:00 am PT/6:00 pm CET.
For Keane, “Over the Moon” marks his directorial feature debut (he departed Disney’s “Rapunzel”-turned “Tangled” in 2008 after suffering a heart attack). The acclaimed animator of Ariel, Aladdin, The Beast, Tarzan, and Rapunzel, took an immediate liking to Fei Fei and soaked up Chinese history and culture during an eye-opening research trip. What surprised him “was the technology and the deep roots of tradition,” from riding the magnetic levitation train to ritual family dinners.
“The round family dinner table with the lazy Susan in the middle became the bookends…to tell our story,” Keane said at a virtual press conference. “And in those situations, at the dinner table, you see the progress of Fei Fei’s struggle and victory in the end.” And he found it inspiring to work with Desrumaux on the design of Lunaria, with its glowing buildings, and “the idea that everything…comes from Chang’e’s tears, and the tears of joy and the tears of sorrow are so closely aligned there,” he added.
And Keane still revels in drawing Fei Fei because of what she tapped inside him. “I have the odd belief that a character exists before you design them,” he said. “[Fei Fei] has this strength in her vision….Not just in her eyes, but she sees beyond. She sees what’s not there.”
Watch the trailer for “Over the Moon” below: