The first trailer for the new animated musical Over The Moon was released this week.
A co-production between Netflix and Pearl Studios, the story – set in modern-day China, but mixed with fantastical element based on a Chinese legend – centres on Fei Fei, a bright young girl with big dreams.
When her relatives and her dad dismissed the story of the goddess who lives on the moon as a myth, Fei Fei decides to build a rocket ship to travel to Earth’s natural satellite. Her objective? To prove the existence of the Chinese goddess of the moon, named Chang’e.
Directed by Glen Keane (Dear Basketball), Over The Moon features the voices of John Cho, Sandra Oh, Ken Jeong and Margaret Cho in supporting roles. Newcomer Cathy Ang, Tony Award nominee Phillipa Soo and Broadway star Ruthie Ann Miles are the voices for the main roles.
On June 19, Ang, Soo and Miles joined producers Gennie Rim and Peilin Chou, as well as director Keane, to talk about the movie in a virtual Q&A session.
During the session, it was revealed that Chang’e’s costumes were designed by Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei, who broke into the global scene when she clothed Rihanna in a bright yellow cape gown for the 2015 Met Gala red carpet.
In 2016, the Beijing-based designer was chosen as one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People.
According to producer Chou, as Chang’e is someone who is larger than life, Guo Pei is the best person to design the character’s clothes to fit her magical personality.
“Guo Pei is a force of her own, certainly to be reckoned with,” explained Chou.
“Chang'e is a diva; she sings, she dances, she's magical, really. How could we tell her story through her clothing?"
“We really wanted somebody who was going to bring a freshness and excitement, a modern feeling to the character," shared Chou. "But at the same time, really honour the authenticity of her being this beloved Chinese figure.”
“What she brought to the Chang'e costumes, I think, was all we had hoped for and so much more. Chang'e's gown has the entire story of Chang'e and (that of her husband) Hou Yi in the back of it through pictures. Just really exquisite and exciting.”
Over The Moon is Guo Pei's first experience working with animation. Although there was a language barrier as Guo Pei doesn’t speak English and Keane doesn’t speak Mandarin, the two managed to communicate and collaborate on their ideas for Chang’e’s looks through sketches.
This was then converted into CGI.
Rim recalled that the animators in the cloth department were both excited and fearful of translating Guo Pei’s intricate designs for the film.
She said: “(The animators) were like, ‘OK, we have to honour the level of attention that she gives to everything that she makes.' Down to the embroidery, what type of thread is used for the embroidery ... all these little details. They really went out of their way to make sure that it was truly authentic to her designs.”
We only get a glimpse of Chang’e in the trailer. Audiences would have to wait a little longer. Over The Moon is said to premiere on Netflix later in the year.
At the end of the Q&A session, Keane explained Fei Fei's features as he drew on a piece of paper.
This was followed by a performance of Rocket To The Moon, one of the film's eight songs, by Ang with songwriter Chris Curtis accompanying on piano.