Awkwafina to star in animated film 'Raya and the Last Dragon'


By Sugandha Rawal

Anaheim, Aug 25 (IANS): Actress Awkwafina is all set to reunite with "Crazy Rich Asians" co-writer Adele Lim to bring to life an animated film "Raya and the Last Dragon".

Walt Disney Animation Studios on Saturday announced a new film "Raya and the Last Dragon" with Awkwafina as Susi the Dragon and Cassie Steele as Raya. Jennifer Lee, Chief Creative Officer at Walt Disney Animation Studios, made the announcement at Disney's biennial fan expo D23 here.

Directors Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins, producer Osnat Shurer and writer Lim joined Lee on stage to set up the film, which introduces Raya, a lone warrior from the fantasy kingdom of Kumandra who teams up with a crew of misfits in her quest to find the Last Dragon and bring light and unity back to their world. Inspired by the beautiful and diverse cultures of Southeast Asia, the film will also explore themes of community and hope.

The fans, who had gathered at the session at the D23 Expo, got a chance to get a look at the new film, and watch a three-minute clip.

Awkwafina is excited to lend her voice to Sisu, the Last Dragon, who was left on Earth in case dark forces return to the world, and Cassie Steele voices the lead character, Raya.

The three-minute clip, which was shown at the session, highlights that the fantasy has strong influence on the cultures of Southeast Asia, but the movie is set in a mythical land.

"Our world was created by dragons, before they left they hid a gift for the people. A powerful but dangerous gift. One that could save an entire kingdom or bring it to an end. The question is what will we find? Hope of destruction?," said the narrator in the video.

The crowd went crazy when Steel and Awkwafina walked onto the stage. Awkwafina said she likes the way she looks in her animated form as the dragon.

"That's me up there. I look good right? I like the hair. I look splendiferous," she said.

Awkwafina and Steele elaborated a little more about Sisu and Raya.

"Raya is ready to meet a magical water being who breathes fog through her nose, flies by riding the raindrops, and has a gem that channels this amazing huge power," says Steele.

To this, Awkwafina added: "When Raya first meets (her), she's in human form and needs Raya's help to reclaim her power to become her true dragon self."

The fantasy-action-adventure "Raya and the Last Dragon" will open in the US on November 25, 2020.

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