Longtime Disney veteran and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Don Hall spoke about the themes of unity and trust in Raya and the Last Dragon.
Hall participated in a virtual press roundtable in advance of Tuesday’s release on home video. The Oscar winner was joined by screenwriters Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim. This was the second of two roundtables to discuss the film with filmmakers. The other roundtable featured director Carlos López Estrada, producer Osnat Shurer and head of story Fawn Veerasunthorn.
Unity and trust were a big theme of Raya and the Last Dragon. Can you talk about what you wanted to explore with these themes?
Don Hall: To us, I think it just felt very evocative. What I think makes it a good theme is that there was justification on both sides of it, from taking into account that this world is broken. That was always the movie and it was about a world that’s fractured, and the hope that it could get put back together. What’s the barrier to that? What’s preventing that? We felt trust was something that was very evocative because you could explore it on both sides. Raya doesn’t trust at the beginning of the movie. And hopefully, if we did our jobs right, it’s justified. If I was in her shoes, I would be thinking the same thing and feeling the same feeling. To really make it hard, the whole movie is about making it—can’t make it easy—it’s about making it hard to trust, like stacking the deck against it and against all odds choosing to do that. That’s what puts the world back together. I think for us, it felt rich even early on, when we first started exploring it, not knowing where it was gonna go. It just felt like it was going to offer us a opportunity for very rich thematic.