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With the eve of the release of Disenchanted on Disney+, we got the opportunity to sit down and connect with the cast and creative minds behind the sequel to the ever popular smash, Enchanted, learning more about the new cast of characters, as well as some exciting updates from our returning cast!
Right away, producer, Barry Josephson, revealed the sequel all began with Amy Adams. “Amy really was our starting point of wanting to play Giselle again”, yet, she was just the beginning. Adam Shankman takes the reigns from Kevin Lima as the director of Disenchanted, and Josephson let us know that they struck gold with Shankman when the process started.
“When Adam joined, our development process took us into the stratosphere because he brought with it Richard LaGravenese, who developed the script and really went to another level. It was such a joy to see the script come together and become something joyous”.
The challenge would come in finding an original story that was not only true to the first film, but would bring new layers to Giselle and the world of Arandelle. Shankman described his concept, which became the premise of the film’s new direction.
“I walked in and was talking to Sean Bailey, the president of Disney and he was talking about how the project was sitting there and as we discussed it I said well basically…‘You know Giselle is the step-mother. She’s Morgan’s stepmother!’ and that for me became the absolute jumping off point. I was like, that’s low hanging fruit. This is perfect in terms of a continuation. She has this now developed daughter that doesn’t believe in magic anymore”.
“It was sort of a thrill ride from there,” he added. Yet, both of them agreed that the film meant more than just a return of classic characters. “I wanted to work with Amy for so long because we speak a very similar language. I suddenly thought I want to make a movie not with Amy, but for Amy as well,” Shankman revealed.
Shankman would definitely get his wish, as Adams would not only reprise her role as Giselle, but step into the role of producer, reuniting her original cast alongside some new faces that are sure to bring something fresh and exciting to the story.
Getting the return cast together, it was so fun to get to see everybody just step back into it, that we were so lucky to have everyone come join us. I can’t thank them enough, I’m very appreciative. For our new cast members, I was just so so so pleased to get everybody we have”.
Part of that journey involved discovering Gabriella Baldacchino, who will be making her Disney debut as the teenage Morgan Philip. “I think a dream come true is honestly the best way to put it. When I was little, even growing up, Enchanted was my favorite movie, so being able to join all of these people was surreal to me,” Baldacchino admitted.
Finding the right actress for Morgan was key according to Josephson. “That was our ultimate big question mark before we started was. This is such a strong mother-daughter story, and how do we find the right daughter?”
He would go on to admit with no hesitation that Baldacchino was the perfect choice. “When Gabby read I think for me and Adam and Amy, we just completely realized together, at the same time, but we were all separate, different places. She was the one.”
Shankman would add that “pretty much everybody was our first choice”, which fits right in with the fairy tale magic that is needed to bring a film like Disenchanted to life. Joining in that would be Bridesmaids, The Good Place, and SNL Alumn, Maya Rudolph.
Rudolph will be joining the cast as the wicked, Malvina Monroe, who runs the town of Monroeville, calling all the shots and acting as a foil for Giselle throughout the central conflict and climax of the film.
“Even though I had a chance to sing in things before, it was nothing like this experience and knowing I was going to get to write this Menken and Schwartz song was really, truly, almost like a like a life fulfillment. Like I was training for the marathon I’ve been training for my whole life and that what it was every day”
Coming along for the ride are other sitcom and superstar comedy alums, including The Office star, Oscar Nuñez (Edgar), Yvette Nicole Brown (Rosaleen), and Jayma Mays (Ruby). Brown, who many know already has ties to the magical world of Disney, revealed a special connection to Enchanted and how the story has come full circle with her being cast in the new film.
“My friend Marilyn Sue played the bus driver in the original Enchanted. You know how you’re just happy for somebody and you feel bad in your soul because it’s not you?”, Brown joked.
“Fifteen years later for the call to come my way and to get to be a part of this group…we all had the best time in Ireland. It was just a lovely gathering, a little troupe of us coming together to make a love letter to everyone that loved the original film and I am just so honored to be a part of it”
Mays shared in the excitement, and like many of the new cast, revealed their love for the original really elevating their joy in getting a chance to tell a new story. “I was so excited to join this cast. I was a huge, huge fan of the first film, so when I got this job, I was like, I can retire now. I did it!”
Nuñez also shared some behind the scenes memories, giving fans a glimpse of how much like Giselle Amy Adams truly is. “While we were waiting to shoot, Amy would sing. You (Amy) were so happy just hanging out and you wouldn’t stop singing with a big smile on your face so there was a lot of love there”
We can’t forget our returning favorites though, as both Patrick Dempsey and Idina Menzel shared their thoughts on what’s changed for their characters and what it was like returning to the roles of Robert and Nancy.
“Robert at the very beginning is very much the same. He’s now trying to balance, you know, life between his new baby and his other child and the conflict between the stepmother and that dynamic,” Dempsey explained. Yet, that was only the beginning.
Robert’s journey takes a very chivalrous turn in Disenchanted, and Dempsey couldn’t have been more excited. “Getting into larger than life was completely freeing and really fun. For me it was a fantastic ride. I had a great time where I could work a little bit, do a little sight seeing in Ireland and work on the musical.
Menzel also got a chance to bring something new to Nancy, who unlike her real life musical self, did not have as whimsical and melodic of a debut as she would have expected in the original film. “Mine was a pretty drastic change,” according to Menzel. “I go from this, you know, cynical New York chick and then I jump down a portal, or a manhole and then I come out. It was so much fun for me.”
Coming back as an Andalasian royal did mix things up a bit for her. “The challenge for me…just trying to figure out the balance. How much of my New York accent do I still have coming from Andalasia and how much is this idyllic, romantic, beautiful, perfect place has rubbed off on me?”
The exciting part is Menzel will get a chance to sing in this film, and with it, gets to honor the incredible works of Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. There are plenty of other new surprises coming when Disenchanted debuts exclusively on Disney+ on November 16th.