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“Kung Fu Panda” Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson Helms Her First Live-Action Movie “The Darkest Minds”

  “The Darkest Minds” will be the first live-action film for director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, best known for her work on the Kung Fu Panda franchise. The movie is an adaptation of the best-selling book by Alexandra Bracken, the first in a YA trilogy (The Darkest Minds, Never Fade, and In the Afterlight).

The engrossing new film takes place in a dystopian society. The nation is in a state of crisis;98 percent of the children have died. For the few who remain, it’s a fight to stay alive. When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. The kids and teenagers, who all have remarkable powers and abilities, have been taken from their families and sent for brutal  ‘rehabilitation’.  Here they are segregated by color according to how dangerous to society they are deemed to be. Ruby is an ‘Orange’ – signifying that she is a major threat because she can read minds and manipulate memory. She escapes and meets new friends, young survivors from different camps. Among them is Liam, played by rising British actor Harris Dickinson. There’s an immediate attraction between the two. Together, all the young fugitives embark on a journey, essentially an exciting and perilous road trip, looking for a safe haven, while simply trying to stay alive.

Also starring in the gifted cast of young actors are Skylan Brooks as Chubs and Miya Cech as Zu. On the road, the kids empower themselves and discover a sense of family. For Jennifer Yuh Nelson, whose previous hit movies include Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3, the film is an impressive first foray into live action.

               “This movie transcends all ages,” says Nelson. “It’s not just about being a teenager. Everyone has been in that place when they are not completely comfortable with who they are. It’s about facing the things about you that you aren’t happy with, that you consider a flaw, and being able to grow into this place of being able to embrace those things. Being able to access what makes you unique and use it as a strength. This story follows a character that, in the beginning, is powerless and essentially frightened and ashamed of what she is. And by the end, you watch her grow. You watch her become this empowered strong character being able to do things she never thought she could do. Everyone can identify with that journey.”

“’The Darkest Minds’ is going to give audiences a hell of a ride.  It’s going to be a ride that will be thrilling in that it has action, it has adventure, it has super-visual set pieces, battle scenes, powers being used – all of that.  But I think audiences can also expect a deeply emotional experience with this movie because although it’s filled with spectacle and just cool visceral sequences, at its core it’s also really about characters looking for where they belong and discovering ultimately that where they belong is with each other,” says producer Shawn Levy.

1 The Darkest Minds

“The Darkest Minds” is now showing in Philippine cinemas nationwide from 20th Century  Fox.

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