In Walt Disney Animation Studios’ latest animated film Strange World, we meet The Clades, a legendary family of explorers. At the same time, it’s a movie that focuses on father-son relationships and ponders what happens when you decide the route of those before you paved isn’t the road you want to take.
The film tells the story of Searcher Clade (Jake Gyllenhaal), a brilliant family man who discovered a powerful new plant-based energy source that changed the fictional World of Avalonia when he was a teenager.
His discovery earned him a statue conveniently located next to his father’s, Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid), a great explorer who disappeared during an exploration 25 years ago.
Despite being heralded by the Avalonians, Searcher loves being a farmer and doing farm things with his wife, Meridian Clade (Gabrielle Union), and his 16-year-old son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White), a happy-go-lucky teen. The latter helps around the farm but isn’t sure this is the life he wants.
Searcher’s peaceful farming life is interrupted when Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu), the president of Avalonia, recruits Searcher for a critical mission that leaves the fate of Avalonia hanging in the balance.
Being a Clade, Searcher agrees to the mission and sees him join Callisto and her crew to head to a Strange World. See what we did there? What Searcher doesn’t know is Ethan snuck onboard the ship, and Meridan followed along, trying to tell Searcher his son and their lovable three-legged dog, Legend, tagged along.
During their adventure, Searcher and his family will encounter new creatures and learn more about himself, his son, and his long-lost father.
Strange World Tells A Story of Three Generations of Clade Men
Speaking exclusively with Cassius Life, the film’s stars, Dennis Quaid and Jaboukie Young-White, Director Don Hall, Co-Director/ Writer Qui Nguyen, and Producer Roy Conli talked about breaking generational trends.
We asked them about bucking tradition and deciding not to follow in their parent’s footsteps regarding career paths.
“I’m an actor. Of course,” Quaid begins. Per IMDb, his father, William Rudy Quaid, was an electrician, and his mother, Jaunita Bonnie Dale, was a real estate agent.
Young-White co-signed Quaid adding,” Yeah, I think that that’s at the heart of every creative person’s origin story, so yeah, absolutely.”
The film’s director Don Hall can relate to young Ethan because he grew up on a farm, but he revealed his parents were very supportive of him getting into the film industry via animation.
“As far as my parents go, they supported me. This is all I’ve ever wanted to do. This is it.
“As far as my parents go, they supported me. This is all I’ve ever wanted to do. This is it,” Hall begins. “There’s nothing else. This is it. This is all I can do. And so they supported me on that.”
“And actually the Ethan storyline was actually drawn from a personal story. My dad is a farmer and was training me to be a farmer. And again, what happened in real life is nowhere near as dramatic as what happened in the movie.”
“But there did come a time when I was around Ethan’s age where it was like, “This isn’t for me, Dad, and my path is animation, and this is where I want to take my life.” And so that very much was drawn up from a personal story.”
Both Qui Nguyen and Roni Hall Had A More “Traditional” Experience With Their Parents
Co-Director/Writer Qui Nguyen and Producer Roni Hall had more traditional experiences with their parents that all creatives can relate with.
“Yeah, I did not have that experience. My parents were the opposite. They’re being very practical immigrants. They were very much like, ‘You want to do what for a living?'” Nguyen told Cassius Life.
“It’s like, ‘I want to tell stories and make movies,’ and they’re like, ‘You’re crazy. You’re going to be a bum.'”
“And so that was basically my entire life until basically last year when we made Raya and the Last Dragon, they finally saw that film in newspapers. Like, ‘Oh, I guess we don’t have to worry about you anymore.'”
“So I’m definitely pulling a little bit of that everyday fight, kind of became like an engine for some of the fights that you get to see between these three characters.”
“My story is very similar to his [Qui Nguyen]. My dad was a first-generation American,” Hall begins. “He thought that the best thing that I could do is either become a lawyer or become a civil servant because there was a good retirement program in his mind.”
“When I went into the arts, we had several rough years, much like Searcher and Jaeger, but eventually, he came around and saw that ‘Hey, you can actually survive doing this.’ So he was happy in the end.”
Great things can happen when you stray off the path.
Strange World arrives in theaters on November 23.
Photos: Disney/ Getty Images
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