Over 26 Turning Red Fun Facts and Bonus Features

Learn about everything from hidden gems to fun facts about the animation and even deleted scenes from Turning Red.

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Turning Red is now available on Digital and 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD! To celebrate I have some fun facts and a look at the bonus features from the movie. Get your copy of Turning Red today. 

OH CANADA – Set in Toronto in 2002, “Turning Red” includes a host of details specific to the time and place, including street furniture, signs written in Canadian English, and even milk sold in bags versus cartons.

  • When Mei is in the school music room, the music notes are the actual notes for the national anthem “Oh Canada.”
  • The closeup shot of a bobblehead moose on Ming’s car’s dashboard is not just a Canadian reference, but also for director Domee Shi’s dad who has a similar trinket on his dashboard.

FRIENDS 4*EVER – Mei and her friends have matching bracelets that were designed to look like they’re handmade by young teens.

POWER OF THE PALETTE – Each of the main characters has a distinct color palette: Mei is red, Miriam is yellow and green, Abby is lavender and Priya is ochre.

  • The background characters at school don grayish blue-green clothing so that the main characters pop against the crowd.

Turning Red Easter Eggs and Best Quotes

SIGNATURE LOOKS – Artists gave each of Mei’s best friends a distinguishing characteristic that—in addition to their specific color palettes—helps audiences quickly differentiate the teens.

  • Animators showed off Miriam’s braces as much as possible.
  • Abby has “angry eyebrows” even when she’s happy, underscoring her quirky yet intense personality.
  • Artists never raised Priya’s eyelids all the way, giving her a calm and cool look.

WINDBLOWN – When Mei goes from a red panda back to a 13-year-old girl, a small gust of wind accompanies the transformation. Filmmakers scaled Mei’s hair up to twice its actual length for just a few frames before it settles into its established length.

BACK TO SCHOOL – Filmmakers had to build a middle school for the film, showcasing Mei’s friendships and new interests away from her mother’s watchful eye. Designed with 2 the film’s city setting in mind, artists actually found blueprints for the school director Domee Shi attended to use as inspiration for the layout of an urban school in Toronto.

TIMELY – As filmmakers created the environments for the film, they looked for opportunities to reinforce the film’s early 2000s setting. There are wall-mounted telephones, old-school computers, CD players, and handheld video games at Mei’s school. VHS tapes line the shelves in the Lee household.

BACKWARDS THINKING – In order to make the hand-drawn posters that hang in the middle school look as if they were drawn by middle schoolers, artists on the graphics team wrote each letter inversely or changed their grip on the pen.

DINNER BELL – In the film, Jin’s delicious dinner is inspired by Taishanese cuisine, including abalone with snow peas, steamed chicken, steamed fish, and eel rice.

TOUCHY-FEELY – The simulation team, which is responsible for ensuring that clothing and hair move appropriately, is especially challenged when fabrics, hair—or both— intersect. In “Turning Red,” there are more than 300 instances in which a character interacts with another’s hair or clothing—touching hair, hugging, straightening, comforting and even giving noogies.

  • More than 180,000 simulated points were used to pull off shots featuring Mei’s bed, where pillows, a thick comforter, and sheets interact.

MAJOR DRAMA – In the film, Mei and Ming watch a show called “Jade Palace Diaries.” The “Turning Red” production team actually created a two-page script for the drama that unfolds, but only a few shots can be seen on the Lees’ TV.

  • The TV logo is in the shape of the dumpling boy from Pixar’s 2018 Oscar®-winning short “Bao,” and features director Domee Shi’s last name as the channel name.

DOPPELGANGER – One of the kittens in the kitten box was modeled after Domee Shi’s cat, Diane.

MIDDLE SCHOOL MAYHEM – The unique orientation of the desks in Mei’s classroom was based on Domee Shi’s school experience in a Toronto middle school.

HOME SWEET HOME – “Turning Red” was animated from the homes of the animation team. Some even opted to head to their childhood homes, working from their old bedrooms. Others worked in their garages, basements, and kids’ bedrooms.

  • The license plate on Ming’s car reads “Syst3ms” in honor of all the hard work the Systems team did to allow filmmakers to work from home during the pandemic.

PLAYING POOL – Artists introduced color pooling to the character designs that mimic the look of paint that would settle along edges and in crevices of a newly painted object 2 that was wiped with a cloth. It can be seen along with characters’ noses, for example, as well as on garments where stitching shows.

ITALIAN IMPORT – Artists borrowed the model of Massimo’s cat Machiavelli from “Luca” to create the temple cats that frequent the Lee family temple. The fur is a little longer and the coloring is different to distinguish the difference, but if you look closely you can see the resemblance. Turning Red - Blu-ray

HIDDEN GEMS – Pixar filmmakers are known to include key Easter Eggs in each film and “Turning Red” is no exception. Iconic elements were showcased with a film-style twist.

  • Filmmakers placed the Pizza Planet truck in Chinatown with a custom Chinese version of the Pizza Planet logo (as if it’s from a Chinatown franchise of the Pizza Planet chain).
  • The Pixar Ball can be seen in Tyler’s swimming pool.
  • Nods to some Pixar SparkShorts include a miniature Purl that hangs as a keychain on Mei’s desk, a Kitbull statue in Chinatown, and a Burrow rabbit sticker on the cover of Mei’s notebook.
  • The number from several Pixar veterans’ CalArts classroom, A113, can be seen on the chalk machine that Jin Lee operates near the end of the movie.
  • To tease Pixar’s next feature film “Lightyear,” artists added stickers to Miriam’s skateboard that pay homage to the celebrated Space Ranger. GROWTH CHART – Red Panda Mei reaches about eight feet tall in the film, which is as about the same as a female Asian elephant from shoulder to toes.
  • Many of the Red Panda Mei shots were from a camera position equal to Mei’s usual height—a strategy that emphasizes the size of her new furry self.
  • Red Panda Mei can’t fit through her bedroom door, so filmmakers had be strategic as she moves from her bedroom to the bathroom.

Disney Pixar Turning Red Activity Printable

LIVING POOF – In order to make Mei’s red panda parts poof away, her ears and tail were fully separate pieces of her body in the rig that was created for her character model. They could be added and removed easily to support the emotional moment.

HAIR-RAISING ANIMATION – The animation team controlled Red Panda Mei’s hair length and shaping to support her emotions—like a cat whose fur puffs up when agitated.

IN CONCERT – The layout department referenced boy band concert videos and largescale halftime performances from the early 2000s while shooting the 4*Town concert scenes.

  • The concert featured the most crowd characters in a single shot for the film: 30,685.
    • The concert crowds were 93 percent teen and 7 percent adult.
  • Mei’s crush Devin from the convenience store can be spotted snapping a picture at the 4*Town concert near the front row.
  • • The lighting team added more than 4,900 lights to the concert sequence. Most are stair safety lights—ensuring the safety of the thousands of animated crowds characters.
    • A typical concert shot also featured 6,000 glow sticks.
  • Members of the production created a boy band music video to introduce the directing animators to the rest of the studio. Each dressed up as a cool early-2000s band member. The “band’s” name was R.D.A. (Red Directing Animators)

SPOT THE RED PANDA – Artists embraced a red panda motif in the design of the Temple. The iconic creature can be spotted carved into the wooden offering table, on ceramic roof tiles, and among the wind chimes, among other examples.

DESIGNER DUDS – Mei’s wardrobe changes with her character arc—evolving from a dutiful, buttoned-up daughter look to a more relaxed style as she embraces her messy side.

PAWN OFF – The chess move Mei plays with Mr. Gao was inspired by an established chess opening sequence called “Queen’s Gambit.”

UNDER WRAPS – Mei keeps a secret stash of items under her bed—things like drawings of boys or notes from her friends that her mom might not appreciate. Included here are pictures that were shot during the “Panda Hustle” sequence when Mei and her friends are using her Red Panda to raise funds for 4*Town concert tickets.

ALL IN THE FAMI-LEE – Both Jin and Ming’s family names before marriage is Lee, which is a common family name in the Chinese community. This explains why Mei’s name and the temple name in the story are both Lee.

  • Ming’s side of the family has lived in Canada for generations but Jin is an immigrant.

THE EYES HAVE IT – Director Domee Shi, a huge fan of all things anime, wanted to infuse the film with nods to the style. To punch up the emotion in some scenes—when Mei and her friends saw a 4*Town ad, for example—artists would add, multiple highlights, sparkles, stars, or hearts in their eyes. The look happens about a dozen times throughout the film. NUMBERS GAME – “Turning Red” boasts some unique stats that help illustrate the details infused into Pixar’s feature films.

  • 494 nightmare red pandas run over the roof of the temple in Mei’s dream.
  • 303 unique background characters were created.
  • 14 unique background vehicles were built, which were used 527,562 times across 641 shots.
  • 250+ shots in the film feature computer-generated wind.Turning Red Deleted Scene

Turning Read Bonus Features

  • Audio Commentary – View the film with audio commentary by director Domee
    Shi, producer Lindsey Collins, and director of photography Mahyar Abousaeedi.
  • Featurettes
    • Life of a Shot – Domee Shi and members of the crew describe the many-
      layered process and artistry involved in creating the hilarious Red Peony
      scene – from observing red pandas in a zoo to creating a storyboard to
      finalizing the animation and background lighting.
    • Build Your Own Boy Band – Step backstage to learn how 4*TOWN
      came to animated life. From creating each band member’s persona to
      writing and producing the songs to fine-tuning the details of their stadium
      performance, the filmmakers reveal how they designed the ultimate boy
    • Ani-Mei-Tion – Because Mei’s heightened emotionality is central to the
      story, it was important that her look and movement reflect that energy.
      Learn how Domee Shi led the animation team to incorporate hints of
      expressive anime to create Mei’s lovable, dynamic character.
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Deleted Scenes Introduction – Director Domee Shi introduces scenes
      not included in the final version of Turning Red.
    • Intro Meilin – In this alternate opening, Ming and young Mei have their
      portrait taken in a studio…but Ming has her own specific vision for the
    • Taming The Panda – Under her mother's guidance, Mei learns
      techniques to control her ability to magically turn into a red panda…to
      varying degrees of success.
    • The Debate – Mei runs for class president against frenemy Tyler, and the
      speeches get a little out of hand.
    • Fei And Christina Hang – Mei (formerly Fei) shares a banana split while
      having a heart-to-heart with Aunt Christina.
    • 4*TOWN Dilemma – Mei scores tickets to her dream concert, but her
      strict mother won't let her out of the house. What will she do?
    • Roping In Leo – Pleading with Leo for help with getting out of trouble, Mei
      learns a couple of his closely guarded secrets.
  • Easter Egg – Robutton Deleted Scene – An alternate ending in which Mei,
    finding herself sitting next to her 4*TOWN dream-idol Robaire on a flight to
    California, has some feelings.

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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.

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