How 'proud Filipina' Cathy Ang landed on Netflix film

Ratziel San Juan - Philstar.com
How 'proud Filipina' Cathy Ang landed on Netflix film
Singer-actress Cathy Ang plays Fei Fei in the upcoming Netflix movie "Over the Moon."
Netflix / Release

MANILA, Philippines — In the upcoming animated Netflix film “Over the Moon,” a star is born in the form of singer-actress Cathy Ang.

The Chinese-Filipino thespian based in New York landed the role of a lifetime voicing Fei Fei, a young girl who builds a rocket ship to the moon to prove the existence of a legendary Moon Goddess.



The musical adventure with an all-Asian cast will premiere on Netflix on October 23.

Philstar.com got to talk with the movie’s director, Oscar-winning animator Glen Keane, in a recent media conference, where he explained how he knew Cathy was perfect for the role.

“The main character of the movie has to carry an enormous weight because... she is the vehicle that we are going to travel through this film with. And this story is going to take people through pain and loss,” Glen explained.

“This is a very real thing and no child is immune to going through pain and loss, whether it’s the death of a parent or divorce or the world turning upside down like in the pandemic. We took it very seriously to be able to go through that. We needed an actress who could deliver that kind of sincerity. And if you meet Cathy Ang, this is a woman who exudes a warmth. Her heart, her sincerity, you can’t help but love her.”

Glen said producer Gennie Rim, who had worked with Cathy on the Emmy-winning short film “Age of Sail,” introduced them at an event in New York.

“I started talking to Cathy and it was just a few minutes into it that as I’m talking to her, I’m thinking, ‘This is Fei Fei.’ I just believed this girl... there’s this sparkle in her eyes,” he said.

The production team was over the moon about Cathy’s voice after her single-take scratch recording of the movie’s signature song, “Rocket to the Moon.”

"We didn't intend that any of that material was gonna end up in the movie. And she stepped into that recording booth so focused and in the zone. We started and on the very first take, she nailed the song. It was perfect. We could not believe it. We were exploding with excitement. And that first take in its entirety is the actual take that you hear in the final version of the film,” producer Peilin Chou said in song’s making video.



Despite her spotless performance, Cathy said she was nervous about recording at first.

“I was getting more nervous throughout the day. And it finally came to my song and I remember getting into the booth and seeing everyone... all the composers, the creatives, just like looking up with their phones, very excited for me. And I was so anxious. I closed my eyes and just imagined that I was Fei Fei. And I connected with the music in a way that I never had before,” Cathy shared in a virtual media conference.

Afterward, Glen and Gennie met Cathy via Facetime to let her know she got the role.

Cathy also explained her Asian heritage and drew parallels with her character.

“My parents actually... I’m Chinese-Filipino. They’re both part-Chinese, part-Filipino. They grew up in the Philippines. They immigrated from the Philippines. My mom is from Nueva Vizcaya. She's from a small town called Bagabag, and my dad is from Ongpin,” she said.

The actress recalled how during her childhood they would visit their family in the Philippines for the holidays.

“I wish that I could go back now. I realized after making this film actually how important it is to just go and visit your roots. The film has also encouraged me to talk to my parents a lot more about heritage and our traditions and I'm so thankful to them, way more than I was growing up. But I’m so thankful that they tried to share their culture with me and make sure that you know I could be a proud Filipina.”




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