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Naperville Teen Is Voice of Miriam in Pixar’s Turning Red

“I was just crazy excited; this is my second Disney movie that I’ve done but this was a much bigger role then the first one, so I was excited to kind of be a part of such a cool and different movie. This is unlike anything that Pixar has ever done before and being able to be a part of that is such an honor,” said Ava Morse.

Turning Red Role

The Naperville School District 203 high school student is the voice behind the character of Miriam in Disney/Pixar’s “Turning Red.” The newly released movie tells the story of 13-year-old Mei Lee, who has an unusual issue.

“Miriam is Mei’s best friend and Mei in the movie has this extreme quirk where whenever she gets really angry or excited she poofs into a giant red panda,” said Morse. “And to kind of help Mei through this change, and this hard time in her life, that’s where Miriam comes in. And she’s this cool, green (dressed) skater girl and she is just like a perfect example of what everybody looks for in a friend.”

Acting Career

16-year-old Morse has a bit of double existence of her own, though less obvious than morphing into a giant red panda. She juggles the roles of high schooler…and professional actress.

“I feel like Hannah Montana sometimes, I feel like I live like two different lives. On one side I’m like going to LA to go to a red carpet and like do all this crazy stuff and the next day I’m waking up at five and driving to school…but I like to keep them very separate, I think that my friends are obviously very supportive of me and at the same time they are just very like you’re also just a normal person,” said Morse.

It’s a career she started early, at the age of five. Her credits include roles in Chicago P.D., Surprise Me!, Somebody Somewhere, and Ron’s Gone Wrong. But Turning Red was quite the get – and the role, a reflection of herself.

“I was so excited because it’s such a fun movie and Miriam was just such an exaggerated version of myself, and I just had such a fun time playing her that I was just over the moon to be able to do that,” said Morse.

Forging Strong Friendships

Morse also connected with one of the key themes in the movie – building strong female friendships.

“We see a really, really healthy girl group, which I’m honored to be a part of,” said Morse. “And I think we don’t see a lot of that in television these days…And I think that the younger audience gets to, being able to like see that and grow up with that is such a great thing. And they can take that into their everyday friendships with the support from that.”

For Morse, key support comes from her family, who has encouraged her career choice from the start, and look forward to what’s to come.

“I can’t picture myself doing anything else. I feel like I have figured out what I want to do at such a young age and I’m pretty successful at it which I’m so entirely grateful for and want to keep doing it,” said Morse.

Turning Red is out now on Disney+.

Naperville News 17’s Patrick Codo, Kim Pirc and Anthony Yench report.

photo courtesy: Disney/Pixar

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