Strange World Directors Detail Deeply Personal Film: "It's Our Love Letter To Our Kids"

Strange World is the newest feature film from Walt Disney Animation Studios that will reunite Raya and the Last Dragon's writing and directing duo, Don Hall and Qui Nguyen. The new movie is a science-fiction and action-adventure film that follows a family as they embark on a journey through a mysterious land in the center of their world. Nguyen penned the script for Strange World and is co-directing with Hall, and the pair recently talked to about the new movie and why it's a "love letter" to their families and the thesis of "How do we become good ancestors?"

"I'll just be honest. I won't beat around the bush, even though I have the co-director title on this one versus being just a writer on Raya, Raya in a lot of ways, felt much more personal to me than this one," Nguyen explained. "I got to be a bit more of a north star on that one because it meant so much culturally to me, and on here, I feel like I'm much more of a shepherd to Don's vision because it's such a personal story for Don." 

Nguyen continued, "Strange World, which is what makes me excited to work on it, feels... and animation is so hard to do this, versus live action, to do a very personal story because there are so many people involved. When it comes to this one, though, I do think this is one of those, if there was a Miyazaki-esque, a la director-driven, singular-vision film, like Miyazaki does in Studio Ghibli, this to me ... is the one that I'm like, 'Oh, I look at this film and I can see Don, not just him as a director, but him as a human being.'" 

He added, "But it is something that I think we all got very excited about. We know that this is about Don and his dad, about his love letter to his children, about what he thinks is important to the world and what he wants to give to the world as a legacy and that is what made this exciting ... so though I'm a co-director on this, I'm learning all about the directing part of it all, but I feel much more of his hype man."

During a press Q&A attended by, Nguyen spoke more about the film's family message. "You know that thing that's going to make kids chew on their popcorn and be at the edge of their seats, but you also know that there's going to be a lot of heart. It's about family, and where your humor's going to come from, the entertainment of it all that will bring you back to the film over and over again, to watch it with your kids, or with your dad in this instance, because it's our love letter to our kids as both fathers and as sons."

Strange World's voice cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal as Searcher Clade, described as a family man who finds himself out of his element on an unpredictable mission; Dennis Quaid as Searcher's larger-than-life explorer father, Jaeger; Jaboukie Young-White as Searcher's 16-year-old son, Ethan, who longs for adventure; Gabrielle Union as Meridian Clade, an accomplished pilot and Searcher's partner in all things; and Lucy Liu as Callisto Mal, Avalonia's fearless leader who spearheads the exploration into the strange world. 

Strange World opens in theaters on November 23rd. Stay tuned for more from our interviews with the creators behind Strange World