The Princess is a princess movie like you have never seen before, and that is exactly what drew the director, Kiet, to the script. He was drawn by the element of surprise that it holds, stating that it was very reminiscent of The Matrix for him. He recalls that the scene where Trinity kicks a man across the room stuck with him for years, and that is what he was hoping to accomplish with the opening of The Princess.
During this interview, Kiet also explains that while there is certainly a lot of action, he needed to rework the script a little bit to ensure there was a great story there too. “[We] needed the reason why we’re doing a fight scene. We went back to the character. We needed to like her and we needed to have more character in the story. The fights were there, but we left it aside for a moment. And we just wanted to know who she is, and why she’s there, and where all the drama beats had to be.”
Kiet claims that this actually made the fight scenes better, and the movie less boring. It wasn’t just going into the room and slashing away and then going into the next room, they went back and added heart. And because of that it came out a better genre movie.
With all of the action, and filming during a pandemic, there were some added challenges. There was a lot of training and stunt work needed to prepare for shooting The Princess, and Kiet says that COVID made some things difficult, but it also caused the crew to be a lot more efficient.
“It was challenging, I have to admit. It’s a gym culture. It was a gym environment. Everybody was sweaty, had to do all of this stunt work. But surprisingly, it brought a lot of focus because people needed to do their thing within a certain amount of time, and then disperse and stay away. So it made people feel the importance of time. I saw a lot more focus and a lot more productivity.”
Speaking of challenges, we asked Kiet if there was a scene in particular that was a challenge for the team to get right. He didn’t have to think at all before talking about the forest flashback scene. In this scene the princess is training with her mentor, and it is just Joey King and Veronica Ngo in the scene. However, because of the camera set up, and the wide angles, they could not use stunt people in the scene – it had to be both actresses on camera, together, the whole time.
“We were outside so we wanted it to be a big scope. But [we were also] going for beauty, which is tougher than I thought. Our main actors had to do it all. But in multiple takes, they didn’t have any breaks because the camera was wide and we would be seeing their faces. We required them to do the whole thing, and the fight was long. It was outside. It was hot. But I didn’t hear any complaints from anybody. They just did it. They will tell you that’s one of the hardest things that they did, but everybody just loves that scene because it was endearment that needed to exist.”
One of the most interesting things about The Princess, is that the lead role does not have a name. They never mention it, which allows her to be a bit mysterious. When asked about the decision behind this, Kiet explains that it was important so that viewers could all see themselves in her.
“We [discussed it] but we felt that she worked so hard to be this iconic inspiration to young women, young girls, that we didn’t want people to go anywhere else. We wanted people to stay with it. Everything that she’s worked hard for, this persona that she’s created, it’s for everyone. It’s not for the Jane, or the Meridia. [Naming her would] take people to places where we felt that it shouldn’t. Emotionally, I felt it better because she became an everyday person.”
The Princess is stuffed full of action, and is likely to take many viewers by surprise when it come to Hulu on July 1st. For Kiet, he just hopes that they have a great time watching, but also take away the feeling of betting on yourself. And if you do, in the end, you’ll be alright.
Tessa Smith AKA Mama's Geeky, is a journalist that covers geek and Disney culture on her own website, as well as freelances for other sites such as What's On Disney Plus and Screen Rant. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Marketing and loves all things geeky. She is a Disney Vacation Club member and a Founders Circle Member of Disney+. She is also an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes and a member of the Critics Choice Association. Tessa lives in Upstate New York with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs named Sansa and Khaleesi.