Raya And The Last Dragon will be released in both theaters and on Disney+ with premiere access on March 5th. I was able to attend the virtual press junket last week and view 25+ minutes of footage. The press junket included Directors Don Hall and Carlos Lopez Estrada, Producer Osnat Shurer, and Writers Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim. A big topic discussed during the press conference was Awkwafina who voices Sisu “the last dragon”. Check out what the participating talent had to say about Raya And The Last Dragon’s Awkwafina as Sisu.
Raya And The Last Dragon Awkwafina As Sisu
Raya And The Last Dragon‘s Producer Osnat Shurer says Awkwafina fit the dragon that they were looking for. Sisu is a combination of wisdom and emotion and humor, which she brought all of those three things together in some magical potion. Director Carlos Lopez Estrada adds, “Sisu really gives Awkwafina such a good chance to explore the wackiest of her comedy, and also just the most earnest beautiful, honest acting that had us all in tears. I just think that it’s really great to see a Disney character that allows an actor to explore that range.“
Director Don Hall believes the Robin Williams as Genie comparison is not far off when comparing Awkwafina’s Sisu. He goes on to say, “It’s hard to imagine another actor performing the role of the Genie in the original “Aladdin.” It was sort of tailor-made for Robin Williams’ specific gifts. I feel like we did the same thing with Sisu. Sisu was written with Awkwafina in mind, and I can’t imagine somebody else as Sisu. Awkwafina is Sisu. Sisu is Awkwafina.“
And like Robin Williams, Awkwafina improvised many of the scenes and would come up with different takes. Carlos Lopez Estrada admits they worked on the character with Awkwafina in mind but it wasn’t until she stepped into the booth that she really brought Sisu to life.
And what exactly does Sisu “the last dragon” bring to audiences? Trust. In a time our world is suffering and so very broken, many of us are not only looking for an escape from reality when we sit down to enjoy a film but also a little Disney magic. And while Raya And The Last Dragon brings plenty of magic, the biggest piece of magic in it, writer Qui Nguyen says, is trust.
Adele Lim goes on to add, “I think the magical thing about Sisu, in this movie, is that she has that trust and that faith in humanity, even when we don’t deserve it. Even when we betray it. Even when we let each other down again and again. We can feel embittered. We can feel, caught up in our own grudges. But, some creature like Sisu being able to see that sort of divine core within everybody is the thing that inspires everyone. I hope that’s what people come away with when they see Sisu.“