Why Chang Can Dunk’s Director Wanted To Make A Disney Movie About ‘The Potential For Failure’
The director opened up about his Disney+ movie.
SPOILERS are ahead for Chang Can Dunk, now streaming with a Disney+ subscription.
There’s something uniquely special about the movies we watch as kids. They are impressionable to us, and when we look back at them, there’s a nostalgic feeling about returning to their messages down the line. One of Disney+’s new releases, Chang Can Dunk, could become one of those movies years from now for current kids given how important its message is to writer/director Jingyi Shao.
When the first-time filmmaker recently spoke with CinemaBlend about the themes of the latest great basketball movie, he shared how Chang Can Dunk's unexpected turn halfway through the movie helped him communicate a lesson he found important to communicate: learning to fail. In Shao’s words:
Chang Can Dunk’s setup is pretty classic for coming-of-age sports movies. Our protagonist is hit with a challenge, a self-imposed one to dunk in front of the whole school for his classmates' respect, and after a lot of practice, he appears to reach his goal about halfway through the movie. However, as the movie progresses, it delves into the real repercussions of failure as Chang misses a second dunk opportunity on a morning talk show before its revealed that Chang cheated on the initial dunk. It all comes to a head during a scene in the snow where Chang stressfully tries to make the dunk for real over and over in the snow as his mother watches him in frustration.
During our interview, Shao shared that the scene in the snow is the “most important” scene to him in the entire film, and it was the first one he came up with for Chang Can Dunk. He continued:
Shao finds himself in an industry where there’s not a lot of famous Asian filmmakers to look up to, just as Chang found himself as one of the only Asian high school students in his town and desperate to prove himself. As Shao shared, he had “fears” and “doubts” about making it in Hollywood, and he was able to express that within the dynamics of Chang Can Dunk’s storyline.
Of course, it doesn’t matter where any of us come from because the fear of failure and not having the chance to pursue one’s dreams is a universal thing so many of us can relate to. Chang Can Dunk tells the story from the angle of a child of an Asian immigrant single mother taking after his own familial experiences for the plot.
Now that Shao’s made his first leap with writing/directing a brand new Disney movie, we can’t wait to see what’s next for him. Check out what upcoming Disney movies are hitting theaters and streaming next here on CinemaBlend.
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