STRANGE WORLD opens November 23rd
In Spring 2021, Don Hall and Qui Nguyen took audiences on a wild and surprisingly emotional journey with RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON. The movie featured a coming-of-age story that touched on themes like family, destiny, and redemption. And from what it sounds like, Hall and Nguyen’s latest collaboration, STRANGE WORLD, will take what they achieved with the critical darling and turn it up.
Ahead of the film’s release, which is slated for the busy Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Hall and Nguyen sat down with AMC Theatres for an exclusive interview that shed new light on the upcoming STRANGE WORLD, a film about a family of explorers charting a new course on a mysterious alien planet. The eye-opening conversation also saw the creative partners discuss their personal stories as well as inspirations that went into making what can best be described as a long-time passion project that they had to stop working on because of the 2021 animated movie.
“We came out of RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON really amped, and really loved the film, and our journey on that film. And then, when we got back onto STRANGE WORLD, we carried that energy and enthusiasm, and that way of working that we found on RAYA onto STRANGE WORLD, and never stopped.”
Indiana Jones Meets National Lampoon’s Vacation
STRANGE WORLD is very much a father-son adventure, whether it is Searcher Clade reconnecting with his father or with his own son, Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White). And this concept of the father-son dynamic is something Don Hall honed in on when pitching the movie to Qui Nguyen as a combination of two iconic movie franchises.
“When Don first pitched the movie to me, he always pitched it as like Indiana Jones meets National Lampoon’s Vacation. Immediately I knew exactly what that was gonna be. I knew what the adventure engine was gonna be, but I also knew where the humor and the heart was gonna come from. And at the heart and soul of it is a family movie, about fathers and sons, specifically, but even more so, it's a celebration of this incredible family.”
A Big, Personal Film
Exclusive Art provided by Walt Disney Animation Studios
STRANGE WORLD, with its all-star cast that includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Lucy Liu, Gabrielle Union and Jaboukie Young-White, will undoubtedly be a big movie with its story about a group of explorers visiting uncharted territory. But, on top of that, the upcoming Disney movie is something Qui Nguyen described as a personal film, especially for his co-director Don Hall, whose own DNA can be found throughout the picture.
“I’ve said this a couple of times to folks that it’s probably the closest I’ve ever seen, when it comes to one of these big, you know, Hollywood studio films, that also is a big personal film for a specific director. And to be able to go on that journey with Don — there are literally lines in this film that are lifted from Don’s life that show up on screen.”
Even though he has worked on big projects in the past, crafting vast, imaginative, and personal stories in the process, this most recent journey is one Nguyen has called a “gift.”
“And it’s like that gift to be able to do something that personal. It’s the dream of any artist to be able to put something on screen, that one, will be enjoyed by millions, but also feels like it’s a real statement from a singular artistic voice.”
A Movie About Legacy
STRANGE WORLD centers on Searcher Clade (Jake Gyllenhaal), the son of the legendary explorer, Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid), whose shadow he can’t seem to escape. Not the explorer his father once was, Searcher struggles to become humanity’s hope when called upon by President Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu). The topic of legacy, both in terms of family and humanity, came up during the AMC Theatres interview with Don Hall.
“What do we leave behind for our children? What do we inherit from our parents – and have to apply to, not just interpersonal relationships, fathers and sons and grandsons, but as a species, our relationship with the natural world and let it speak to that. And because I think it’s a big top of mind thing for me. And because I have two sons, and Qui has kids, it's just a big thing. I mean, it’s something the world is wrestling with right now, and I feel like we’re kind of at an inflection point about how we’re going to move forward. I’m actually kind of hopeful. I try to be hopeful and if this movie can be part of that conversation, I think that would be very gratifying.”
Charting Your Own Course
Throughout STRANGE WORLD, the Clade family will explore a mysterious portion of their planet that is full of mystique, danger and dare we say it, uncharted territory. When discussing the upcoming release with AMC Theatres, Don Hall alluded to the movie being about “charting your own course” in more ways than one.
“So it's evocative in an ‘it's going to be action filled’ kind of way, but then it's also about what does that journey teach you? Because it's about fathers and sons and past animosities and healing and also charting your own course. That's sort of what the journey of Strange World is, and there's some big discoveries in there that obviously I can't quite talk about yet. Sure, yeah. Just in terms of creating a new world and experiencing that new world and what does that mean; it just leads to a lot of interesting discussions along the way.”
You will be able to see uncharted territory, epic adventures, and tender father-son moments on display in the new Disney animated movie when STRANGE WORLD opens November 23rd in AMC Theatres nationwide.
STRANGE WORLD opens November 23rd