Although the story of the legendary American Indian princess Pocahontas may not be familiar to Hong Kong youngsters, it holds many valuable lessons for people from around the world, according to the voice behind the heroine in Walt Disney's latest animated film. 'This is a story of peace . . . it's all about communicating and understanding,' said Irene Bedard, the 1994-95 Golden Globe's best actress nominee for Lakota Woman. Although Pocahontas is a story of peace, it has its roots in a clash of two cultures. The tale begins when John Smith (with Mel Gibson as the voice actor), the captain of a group of British adventurers who sails for Virginia seeking gold and other treasures, meets Pocahontas, a beautiful young princess. Despite sour relations between the British and American Indians, Captain Smith and Pocahontas strike up a good friendship. At one point, the princess bravely places her own life on the line to save that of the captain's. 'I think it is important for children to understand that, as Grandmother Willow says, one person can make a lot of difference,' Bedard told Sunday Young Post. If people could realise this, then different cultures and religions could exist together, she said. Anyone surprised by the great resemblance between the 27-year-old actress and the animated version of the princess is not alone, for even Bedard said she found certain expressions of Pocahontas in the movie 'really me'. Brought up in Alaska, the petite American Indian said she also shared certain personality traits with the character. 'I identify with Pocahontas for her adventurous nature and her love of nature. Also her respect for love, for her father and the elders and her respect for human life,' she said. Bedard said voice acting required far more imagination than straight acting. 'And it's all about working with everyone else. They will say, what is your vision here, what do you see here, how does it sound to you, is she closer to him or is she farther away from him,' explained Bedard, as she leaned forward and backward to demonstrate how she used her imagination to help her voice-act. In real life, Bedard never met Gibson. Their union only took place in the make-believe world of animation because Gibson was busy working in Ireland while she spent time alone voice-acting in a sound booth in the United States. Although the plains of America may be a far way off, Hong Kong does have a direct link with Pocahontas. Canto-pop king Andy Lau Tak-wah is the voice behind Captain Smith in the Cantonese and Mandarin versions of the film. Lau said he had to make good use of his imagination to bring his character to life. 'I would try to make a breathing sound when John climbs up a tree, or greet Meeko (a racoon) as lang tsai instead of his name to make it more life-like.' 'This is actually an Andy Lau version of Captain Smith and I guess I made him a bit younger than 30,' said Lau, giving a child-like smile. Unlike in Bedard's case where Judy Kuhn provides the singing voice, Lau will perform all his character's singing parts. Lau assures us, however, that he has no plans to include any of the songs on his coming album. For the local version of Pocahontas, it is believed pop singer/actress Faye Wong will provide the singing voice for Pocahontas while Disney is still looking for the right person to do the speaking voice-over.