Pixar’s newest short, Bao will be attached to the upcoming sequel The Incredibles 2. The film will celebrate a few milestones. It will be their first short to be directed by the first female Pixar short director Domee Shi. It also will explore “the ups and downs of the parent-child relationship through the colorful, rich, and tasty lens of the Chinese immigrant community in Canada.”
Now we are getting a first look at it with some new images. Check them out below.
In an interview with EW, Shi said the ingredients that inspired her short was her upbringing as the only child of Chinese immigrants. Here’s what she said:
“Often times it felt like my mom would treat me like a precious little dumpling, wanting to make sure I was safe, that I didn’t go out late, all that stuff. I just wanted to create this magical, modern-day fairy tale, kind of like a Chinese Gingerbread Man story. The word ‘bao’ actually means two things in Chinese: Said one way, it means steamed bun. Said another, it means something precious. A treasure.
I just wanted to create this magical, modern-day fairy tale, kind of like a Chinese Gingerbread Man story. The word ‘bao’ actually means two things in Chinese: Said one way, it means steamed bun. Said another, it means something precious. A treasure.”
Bao will explore the life of an empty nesting mother who feels depressed now that her children have left the home. The short will be attached to The Incredibles 2, which opens later this summer. The mother gets a second shot at motherhood when one of her handmade dumplings comes to life.
This cultural celebration will follow Coco, Pixar’s last film which honored the Mexican culture. Though Lee Unkrich may have been the director, he co-directed it with Adrian Molina and did much of the research in Mexico.
The Bao character alone looks so adorable, I can’t see myself eating a dumpling the next time I have dim sum.
But one of the reasons why the short will be using a Bao as a character is that it does have a double meaning. While the dumpling will represent a new child, there are tiny little aesthetics that will help represent the changes that a real world person would go through, like puberty. While Bao will not go through any human biological changes, it will grow sour by having sesame seeds be sprinkled on it as it’s going through puberty.
Shi even got her mother, Ningsha Zhong, to help out on the short. Zhong served as a cultural consultant to the team, who learned about the complexities of dumpling-making. Since Pixar makes a point of getting every detail right, Shi says the technical and animation teams put the camera close to her mother’s hands and “recorded every single little detail of how she folded the dough, how she cut each piece, how she rolled each wrapper into that perfect little bun shape.”
Producer Becky Neiman-Cobb said:
“You know Pixar and you know the special effects we can pull off here: explosions and water and splashes and fire and fireworks. One of the biggest challenges, and what brought our effects department to their knees, was Dumpling’s pork filling. That was hard. We learned there’s a very fine line between looking delicious and appetizing and looking wrong or gross. Making our food look delicious was a big triumph.”
With Shi adding:
“We did a lot of ‘research’ and ate so many buns, and as soon as I felt like I couldn’t eat another dumpling, I would go to a Bao review, watch a shot of the dumplings being made, and be like, ‘Oh my God… I’m hungry again.’”
Bao will appear before showings of The Incredibles 2, which opens in theaters on June 15, 2018.