‘Turning Red’ stars Jordan Fisher, Grayson Villanueva, Josh Levi, Topher Ngo think BTS have the power to unite people around the world – Times of India

Turning Red‘, the latest Pixar film is bringing back the ’90s packed with its quirks, comedy and catchy soundtrack. The coming of age drama that tells the true power of female friendship with its emotional, rooted story also perfectly captures the infectious joy pop music had on us all at some point.

ETimes sat down for a candid chat with Jordan Fisher, Grayson Villanueva, Josh Levi and Topher Ngo who make up the first fictional boy band – 4*TOWN.

From spilling the beans about their own ‘crazy-fan’ past to sharing their take on the power of music and even picking BTS as the ruling cultural icons, here’s all that they had to say…


How would you describe your character’s personality?

Josh: I play Aaron Z. I just studied his swag, based on how he looked, his style, and brought it to life from there. I just used my imagination and brought his personality and energy to life.

Grayson: I play Tae Young. He is known as the cute one and the person who is very nurturing. In the little featurette, he is nurturing a dove, so that’s kind of his personality.

Topher: I play Aaron T. From what is described, he is this goofy and fast-talking kind of dude. If there is any tension in the group, he is the one who cracks a joke and keeps things light.

Jordan: Robaire is this broody, sweet, French-Canadian, French-speaking person, like he is the Justin Timberlake of the group. There is so much fun to be had with this and to be the first Pixar boy band is a remarkable honour and we are so grateful to be a part of this with these gifted guys.

Mei Lee’s life is all about 4*Town. Did you have a boy-band phase while growing up and what is the craziest thing you have done for an idol?

Jordan: I am a ’90s kid, so NSYNC kind of ruled my life. I was recently asked to pick between Backstreet Boys or NSYNC. Backstreet was this kind of older band and more soulful, but NSYNC were the GOATS who did things no one else was doing. They had this authenticity to their sound and music and their acapella sounded so good. I was a massive fan and had a VHS copy of Daren’s Dance Group Choreography.

For this movie, when we met at the studio, we thought this movie was perfect because in the ’90s, we were all in middle-school and going through that phase.

The craziest thing I ever did was send a love letter to the show ‘The Naked Brothers Band’ because I had a crush on the actress.

Topher, how did you feel about becoming a part of ‘Turning Red’ and representing Vietnamese people in a Pixar film?

Topher: It is such an honour. You don’t see much Vietnamese representation out there, so to be in this Pixar film with an Asian-led, female-directed film, is so validating. I didn’t see faces like mine in the media while growing up, so being able to be that for the younger generation is so dope! My younger cousins are so excited about this, that they can get the DVD and show it to their kids and be in the ethos of representation.

4*Town h had the power to unite people around the world irrespective of culture or race. Which artist do you think holds this power today?

Topher: I think Beatles did that. They were in my parents’ generation, but I still listen to their music.

Jordan: Bowie… Harry Styles is our Bowie today. He is all about all walks of life and representation and (the cause of) humanity that is pretty special. Do you know what I think is pretty cool? We used to look at artists to be the sounding board for all that. Because of social media today, people like Greta Thunberg can be that. You don’t have to be a boyband or big artist, to have a platform or voice to make a cultural impact or global humanitarian impact. You can be a 15-year-old from anywhere with an ounce of technology and an incredible idea and you can start something incredible. But of course, in the early 2000s, social media wasn’t a thing and we looked to TRL and magazines to be the answer to all of that.

Josh: I would also like to say, for me, it has always been Michael Jackson. He did a crazy amazing job at that. He just speaks his mind, what he feels about the world and implements his message in his music in such an artistic, bold and cool way.

Grayson: I would say BTS has a huge following and influence. I think they are the boy band that has that hold over pop culture right now.

‘Turning Red’ is an endearing story of self-acceptance and true friendship as four girls – Meilin (Rosalie Chiang) Mirian (Ava Morse), Abby (Hyein Park) and Priya (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) traverse the ups and downs of teenage life.

The film also boasts of the first-ever fictional boy band that have a track list written and produced by Oscar-nominee Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas (who also plays a member of the boy-band).

The film that releases on Disney+ Hotstar on 11th March will be available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam.


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