Isabela Moner is teenaged Dora the Explorer in the first-look image from the upcoming live-action movie adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon series. Production on the film has now officially begun in Australia, under the supervision of The Muppets and Alice Through the Looking Glass director James Bobin.
One of the hallmarks of Nickelodeon's animated TV block for children in the 2000s, the Dora the Explorer cartoon series ran for nearly fifteen years and followed the eponymous character (a seven year-old Latina) on her various enjoyably educational adventures. Bobin's adaptation is now confirmed to be carrying over several key elements from the original TV show - including, having Dora accompanied by her BFF, the monkey Boots - while also making some big changes to both Dora herself and her world at large. Most notably, that includes making Dora ten years older than she was in the cartoon version.
According to the press release sent out by Paramount Players, filming on Dora the Explorer is now underway and will take place entirely on Australia's Gold Coast, in the state of Queensland at Village Roadshow Studios (the same place where superhero movies like Thor: Ragnarok and this December's Aquaman were shot). In addition to Moner, the film's cast includes Micke Moreno (Escobar: Paradise Lost) as Dora's cousin Diego, Adriana Barraza (The Strain) as Dora's grandmother Abuelita Valerie, Temuera Morrison (Moana) as Powell, and Mexican movie star Eugenio Derbez (Overboard) as Alejandro, a "mysterious jungle inhabitant" who tries to protect Dora and her friends. You can check out the full photo of Moner as Dora below, followed by the official synopsis for the film.
Having spent most of her life exploring the jungle with her parents nothing could prepare Dora for the most dangerous adventure ever - High School. Always the explorer, Dora quickly finds herself leading Boots (her best friend, a monkey), Diego, and a rag tag group of teens on a live-action adventure to save her parents and solve the impossible mystery behind a lost Inca civilization.
Moner actually has a history with the Dora franchise, having previously voiced the character Kate on the animated sequel TV series Dora and Friends: Into the City! (which aired for two seasons on Nickelodeon). More recently, she has begun to make a name for herself as a young rising star with her role on the Nickelodeon TV show 100 Things to Do Before High School, her supporting part from Transformers: The Last Knight and her well-received dramatic turn in this year's sequel Sicario: Day of the Soldado. Even so, Dora the Explorer will serve as Moner's first-time standing in the spotlight on a studio franchise film by herself.
Bobin, on his end, has a mixed but mostly solid track record with kid-friendly fare, so it's encouraging to hear that he's reportedly drawing from a Dora the Explorer script cowritten by names like his Muppets collaborator Nicholas Stoller and Danielle Sanchez-Witzel (My Name is Earl, New Girl). The movie should also look pretty good visuals-wise, thanks to the efforts of creatives like production designer Dan Hannah (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies) and cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe (Thor: Ragnarok) behind the scenes. And of course, any family-oriented Hollywood project led by a primarily latino cast (and a latina protagonist, no less), like Dora the Explorer does, is something worth applauding.
Source: Paramount Players