When the announcement of a live-action Dora the Explorer movie came out, people had questions. How in the world could the show, popular with preschool kids, translate to the big screen? But then, throw in the fact that they were aging Dora up to a teenager, and it could sound like a recipe for disaster.
But the final product, Dora and the City of Lost Gold is here, and it looks like anything but a disaster. Teenager Dora is leaving the jungle she's grown up in for a whole new jungle -- high school. With the help of her cousin Diego, she has to figure out how to fit in with her peers. And it's certainly not easy. But then her parents discover the City of Lost Gold and Dora, Diego and some new friends (and frenemies) are thrown into a whole new adventure. They're back in the jungle with some new faces (namely a tour guide named Alejandro) and some familiar faces.
Moms.com got the privilege of attending the red carpet for the world premiere of Dora and the City of Lost Gold where we got to talk to many of the film's stars and some of the creative team. They shared with us what it was like to work on the film, how they make life work in such a crazy industry and what they want people to take away from the film.
Germaine Franco (co-composer)
[On being a working mom in the entertainment industry] "At a certain time you have to stop looking at emails and be with your child. I don't want to be on my laptop when he (her 13 year old son Mateo) wakes up but sometimes it happens."
[When asked what the hardest part of being a working mom to a teen is] "Having the time to do my own work and then spending time with him. I find myself saying less yeses to things I don't have to do. I try to really prioritize what time I spend away from besides my writing."
James Bobin (director)
[Speaking about the challenges of turning the beloved kid's show into a film for an older audience] "The point of the movie is that she's kind of the same at 16 that she is at 6. It was fun because it meant you could stay true to the character. She's super smart, she's super confident, and in a way she doesn't care what other people think of her. The world hasn't knocked her down yet."
[On what it was like turning an animated show into a live-action film] "For me, it was using the color palette. We dressed her like Dora from the show throughout the movie. You want to have nods to the show throughout because also, the movie has to work for people that haven't seen it before. I hope people who love Dora will love it because they know it's still Dora and there is extra stuff for them. And people who don't know it at all will go 'Oh it's a really fun adventure comedy'."
[Does he have a history with Dora?] I have a 12-year-old daughter, so she grew up watching it many times. Our entire Spanish to English conversations [revolved around the show.] It's a big part of her life, and a big part of my life, so I'm pleased to do this."
Jeff Wahlberg (Diego)
[On the pressure bringing Diego to life] "Anytime you're playing something that people hold so dear to their heart there's definitely pressure. You don't want to disappoint them."
[On his childhood relationship to the show] "I was definitely a fan. I watched Dora and Diego growing up. Me and my twin sister watched them every morning in our house. It was encouraged because she blends that American/Latina (his mom is Latina and his dad is white) culture."
[What he loved about making the movie] "Getting to go halfway across the world (the movie was filmed in Australia) and meet so many incredible people and do incredible things. I got to see the Great Barrier Reef, which is one of the seven wonders of the world. Getting to see that was really special.
Nicholas Coombe (Randy)
[On his earliest memory of Dora] "I definitely saw Dora as a kid growing up. I've known Dora my whole life. Even in Australia it's massive."
[On being apart of the Dora world] "It's a dream come true. It's really exciting being apart of a massive franchise and bringing a new character to life."
[On playing Randy, a new character in the film] "He's a typical high school kid. Doesn't have a lot of friends, kind of keeps to himself. But he's really funny, smart, loves movies and music so he's a great guy. We definitely have similarities and differences, but if it was real life I'd be his friend."
Michael Pena (Cole, Dora's Dad)
[On entering the world of Dora] "It was great. James Bobin (the director) has some cool, visually stunning movies and is creative and inventive. You want to do a movie like this with a director like him."
[The most fun part of filming] "Hanging around with the cast and crew. Eva Longoria is so much fun, there's never a dull moment. Isabela is the same. It was just group, and to be in Australia! There's not a lot of Mexicans in Australia."
Eugenio Derbez (Alejandro)
[What do you want people to take away from the film] "There's so many things! I think the strongest message in the movie is that Dora, even though she's different, she's socially awkward because she's been in the jungle her entire life. She doesn't change just to fit in or just to belong. She stays true to herself and even though she gets bullied, she doesn't change. After a while, everyone realizes that she's unique, and that's her best super power."
Eva Longoria (Elena, Dora's Mom)
[On being a mom as a new mom] "It's the first time doing a movie as a mom playing a mom. My instincts have totally changed. I'm like, 'why is she running with a snake?! Why is she like that? Michael [Pena] and I kept questioning everything. Like, 'that's really dangerous, I don't think she should do that.' And they were like, 'the movie's called Dora, not Dora's parents.'
[On what the movie means] "It's such an important movie, not just for the Latino community, but for people everywhere. Kids everywhere look up to a young girl who's funny and brave and intelligent and smart and amazing. I think it's important to have those role models on screen."
Isabela Moner (Dora)
[On playing Dora] "It was amazing. It is a great opportunity to represent Latinos like this in a movie is this big! This never happens."
[Talking about representing strong young women] "What I think is iconic about Dora specifically is that she's not your typical idea of a strong woman. Whenever people think a woman has to be strong, they think she's like, no emotions and super serious. But Dora loves pink. She wears orange shorts. She loves dancing and Gloria Estefan music. She's super girlie and she's super smart as well. It's breaking that stereotype that women have to act like men to be strong.
Dora and the City of Lost Gold, starring Isaabela Moner as Dora, Eva Longoria as her mom Elena, Benicio Del Toro as Swiper the Fox and Danny Trejo as Boots the Monkey opens in theaters on Friday, August 9th.