With the highly-anticipated sequel coming to Disney+ on November 18, Vital Thrills got a chance to talk to the Disenchanted cast and crew. From the Disenchanted cast, we chatted with Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, Idina Menzel, Maya Rudolph, Gabriella Baldacchino, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jayma Mays, and Oscar Nunez. Also participating were director Adam Shankman, composer and songwriter Alan Menken, and producer Barry Josephson.
In the film, it has been more than ten years since Giselle (Adams) and Robert (Dempsey) wed, but Giselle has grown disillusioned with life in the city, so they move their growing family to the sleepy suburban community of Monroeville in search of a more fairy tale life.
Unfortunately, it isn’t the quick fix she had hoped for. Suburbia has a whole new set of rules and a local queen bee, Malvina Monroe (Rudolph), who makes Giselle feel more out of place than ever.
Frustrated that her happily ever after hasn’t been so easy to find, she turns to the magic of Andalasia for help, accidentally transforming the entire town into a real-life fairy tale and placing her family’s future happiness in jeopardy. Now, Giselle is in a race against time to reverse the spell and determine what happily ever after truly means to her and her family.
Josephson said the return to the property “was such a joy. Amy really was our sort of starting point of wanting to play Giselle again. And actually, when Adam joined our development process, it took us into the stratosphere because he brought with him Richard LaGravenese, who developed the script and really went to another level.
“And then Brigitte Hales came on to work with Adam and I and Amy. And it was just such a joy to see the script come together and become something really joyous and a musical with comedy and the right amount of drama.”
The producer added: “And sort of like all pivoting around what is Giselle’s new character? What is her dilemma? How do we progress from the original movie? And yet, make something that was definitively a new movie, a fresh new start for her character and the other characters that everybody loved from the first movie.”
Director Adam Shankman said, “I 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,’ I was like, ‘you know Giselle’s the stepmother. She’s Morgan’s stepmother.’ And that for me became the absolute jumping-off point.
“This is perfect in terms of a continuation of that because she has this, you know, now-developed daughter who probably doesn’t believe in magic anymore. And then I was like, ‘Let’s go from there,’ and it was just sort of a thrill ride from there. It just was a deluge of finding stuff like that. But again, as Barry said, the whole thing starts with Amy and Giselle.”
Alan Menken talked about writing the music for the Disenchanted cast: “Rather than writing for any individual actors, Stephen and I, in the case of this musical, write for the characters and the storyline. And then take it from there. It just so happens that the actors are perfect for this.
“As far as where to start from, I mean, in a way, you start from the first Enchanted, which has the most amazing premise which is we start in the world of early Walt animation and this animated princess has a spell put on her and is thrown into Times Square where she’s totally unequipped to deal with what happens. And the score kind of grows up with her as she begins to adapt to this world. Well, in the new version, she longs for that world.
“So we still go back to that early. Very, da-da-da-da, to Andalasia. But again, she longs for that, but there’s no happy ever after in our world, which unlike an animated ending, it’s a day after happy ever after, and she longs for that. And so she makes this wish and that just throws us into this amazing storyline, which has all this fun in it because of what happens from that wish.”
Amy Adams, who is reprising the role of Giselle, said of her return, “For me, it was interesting ’cause we were looking at where Giselle would be now. And, you know, when we leave her in the last movie, there’s been an evolution from the beginning of the movie of Enchanted to who Giselle is at the end of the movie.
“So sort of taking that evolution of who she might be after spending 10 years, but also making sure we keep her grounded in sort of the truth of her feelings, but without losing that joy and that naivety and innocence and purity that makes Giselle so special. So that’s sort of where my launching place was, was taking everything that I loved about Giselle in the first movie, and then just getting this opportunity to spin it throughout this one. It was really just such a pleasure, and getting the returning cast together.
“It was so fun to get to see everybody just step back into it, and that we were lucky enough to have everybody come join us. And I can’t thank them enough, and I’m very appreciative. And then for our new cast members, I was just so, so, so pleased to get everybody we have.”
Idina Menzel talked about returning as Nancy. “Yeah, mine is a pretty drastic change. So, [laugh] I go from this cynical New York chick, and then I jump down a portal or a manhole and then I come out like, and so it was so much fun for me. And the challenge for me, well, not even the challenge… So then, just kinda figuring out the balance.
“Adam and I would talk, I’d say, ‘How much of my New York accent do I still have [laugh] coming from Andalasia, and how much is this idyllic,’ you know, ‘how much is this idyllic, romantic, beautiful perfect place rubbed off on me?’ And then, you know, putting on the corset and all that just, it was an easy journey for me.”
Patrick Dempsey is returning to the role of Robert and said of the changes in him, “Robert at the very beginning is very much the same, although he’s kinda trying to balance life between his new baby and his other child, and the conflict between the stepmother as Adam pointed out, and that dynamic. And then getting into larger than life was completely freeing and really fun.
Dempsey continued: “So for me, it was a fantastic ride. I had a great time where I could work a little bit, do some sightseeing in Ireland, and work on the musical that, you know, great fun with the singing and the dancing. So it was fun.”
It was pointed out that he finally got to sing, and Dempsey said, “It was a joy. And that whole process of going through, finding your voice, working with the coach on that, learning the lyrics and the dance was an extraordinary experience and something I’d never done before. And really appreciate the talent with the voices and the singing of Idina and Amy and Maya and everyone. You know, it’s an extraordinary feeling you get when you sing. The vibration, it’s something very intoxicating about it. So it’s nice to get a taste of that.”
Maya Rudolph plays the new character of Malvina Monroe, the queen bee of her town who goes through some changes when magic gets involved. She said that they had a lot of fun, she and her character’s two sidekicks – Rosaleen, played by Yvette Nicole Brown, and Ruby, played by Jayma Mays.
“We really did. We actually did. I mean, to what Patrick said, even though I’ve had a chance to sing in things before, it was nothing like this experience,” said Rudolph. “And knowing that I was going to get to write this Menken & Schwartz song was really, truly almost like a life fulfillment.
“Like I was training for the marathon I’d been training for my whole life. And that’s what it was every day. You know, we’d go to vocal rehearsal, and we’d go to dance rehearsal, and we were working towards the day where we shot the song. And then we shot it. And we got to record it.”
Gabriella Baldacchino plays a teenage version of Morgan, Robert’s daughter and Giselle’s step-daughter. She said of the experience, “I think, honestly, dream come true is the best way to put it. I mean, when I was little, and even growing up, Enchanted was my favorite movie. So, being able to join all these people was surreal to me. As you said, little Gabby would probably faint if she knew where we were now.
Baldacchino continued: “And I mean, this has been a dream of mine, you know, to get to be a part of something like this. It’s just kind of completely changed my life. And I’m so, so grateful to sing music written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. Like, I grew up performing. I loved musical theater and singing, so that wasn’t new for me. But to get to originate something that they wrote, it’s an honor, you know?
“And to be surrounded by Adam Shankman, Barry Josephson, this cast, I learned so much as I got to sit with Adam. Sometimes when he was directing scenes, I’d watch from the other side. Barry’s taught me so much, as an aspiring producer someday. And working with this incredible cast is like a master class in acting every single day, so I’m just really grateful.”
Mays said she was so excited to join the Disenchanted cast as Ruby: “I was a huge, huge fan of the first film. So, when I got this job, I was like, ‘Great, I can retire now. I did it. I did it. Done.’ And it was a dream. We had so much fun. It was so fun.”
Brown added, “Oh, we had the best time. And I, piggybacking on what she said, was a huge fan of the original Enchanted. And I’ve said this before, but my friend, Marilyn Sue played the bus driver in the original Enchanted. And I remember, you know how you’re, like, happy for somebody and just feel bad in your soul ’cause it’s not you… And so, I was like, ‘Dang, to be in Enchanted.’
“And then, 15 years later, for the call to come my way and to get to – Like, even, I’m pinching myself that I’m looking at all your faces ’cause each of you beyond this movie, I’ve loved in a thousand different ways in everything you’ve done before. And so, to get to be a part of this group. And we all had the best time in Ireland. It was just a lovely gathering, a little troupe of us coming together to make this love letter to everyone who loved the original film. And I’m just so honored to get to be a part.”
Brown had a personal tragedy while filming in Ireland, during the pre-vaccine days of the pandemic and spoke about the support from her cast mates. “And point personal privilege, I wanna say, since you’re all here. People know that I lost my mom when we filmed this film. And I wanna take a moment to thank everyone that I’m looking at. Our entire crew, I got personal calls. And Maya swooped me up and took me to her house and kept me for a weekend. And Jayma was like my touchtone and Adam took me to a, what was it? The little fair they had every Sunday.”
She continued: “My mom died on a Saturday. I spent Sunday with him and our choreographers. I got calls from Patrick. Everyone enveloped me in love and I felt like the toughest time of my life, there was nowhere else I would’ve rather been than with all of you. So, I wanna take a moment to just thank you again for just carrying me through that moment.
“And I don’t have any sadness about my time with you at the hardest time of my life because that was the love of this film. So, I wanted to make sure I thanked you all again. And I’m so happy that our love letter is now out in the world. And I know my mother would just wanna thank you all, too, for taking care of her baby.”
Of shooting in Ireland, Rudolph said, “I was there with my family, so like we discovered a lot of beautiful places and places to climb and things like that. And all of the people, I mean, what Yvette is saying is true. The crew was an integral part of our experience in Ireland.
“The people that welcomed us there and showed us where we were and what to do there were genuinely loving people who were so welcoming and kind of did create a little world for us. I mean, it was a very scary time. It was the first time a lot of us left home, period, since the pandemic had started. And to travel out of the country, I think it was kind of early vaccine days, too, so a lot of people weren’t.”
“And it was all like a really big leap of faith. Which is, again, a true testament to, I think, the first film and why we all wanted to be a part of this. It was just that special to all of us that weren’t involved. And then, obviously, to all the people that were involved in the first. Everybody wanted to be a part of this. But
yeah. It took us to Ireland and we were all so lucky.
“You know, we all made friends for life. And people that we will be connected to forever. And got to be in a beautiful place when the world felt unsafe. It’s one of those places that, if you want to feel welcomed and loved and a pride in where people live and they wanna show you where they live and they want you to enjoy it, then you should go to Ireland.”
Oscar Nunez, who plays Edgar/Barista/Mirror, said that Amy Adams would just sing while waiting to shoot. “You were so happy just hanging out. And you wouldn’t stop singing, and with a big smile on your face. So, there was a lot of love there. There was a lot of love. And the Rudolph’s and the Nunez’s got to hang a little bit.
“And it was just so much fun. For those of you who watch the movie, I’m in the movie a little bit. I just wanna say, I was in the movie a lot more, but I met with my attorneys and my team, whatever, and we made some calls.”
Jenna Busch has written and spoken about movies, TV, video games, and comics all over the Internet for over 15 years, co-hosted a series with Stan Lee, appeared on multiple episodes of “Tabletop,” written comic books, and is a contributing author for the 13 books in the “PsychGeeks” series including “Star Wars Psychology.” She founded the site Legion of Leia and hosted the “Legion” podcast.