After decades perfecting a beloved formula — from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Beauty and the Beast — Disney broke new ground with 2007's Enchanted, which was among the first in a new line of live-action films aimed at flipping the princess trope on its head.
Both homage and parody, the film starred Amy Adams as Giselle, a princess-to-be from the animated fantasy world of Andalasia who is ready to be whisked away when she marries Prince Edward (James Marsden). Things go awry, though, and Giselle ends up far, far away in a distant land where there are no "happy-ever-afters": New York City. She meets and falls in love with a lawyer, a single father named Robert (Patrick Dempsey), and his daughter Morgan, and discovers true love's kiss really does win all.
A full 15 years later, Giselle, Robert, Nancy (Idina Menzel) and Prince Edward are back with Disenchanted (arriving on Disney+ Nov. 24), a sequel that promises lots of changes for Giselle and Co. — and much more singing and dancing.
"When I say dance, I say that with the utmost respect for the people actually dancing around me," says Adams, 48, laughing over the phone just prior to Disney's D23 Expo in September.
Adams is on her way to the fan convention to unveil the first trailer for a film that's been over a decade in the making, but began filming in the middle of a global pandemic. "When we were talking about doing this movie, we were all going through a lot of transition," she says. "It was something that felt really meaningful to a lot of the people who worked on it."
Jonathan Hession/Disney +
The actress ended up recording much of the soundtrack in her home's coat closet, the country still under shelter-in-place orders. "One of the songs, 'Fairy Tale Life,' is about Giselle wishing that everything were simpler," Adams recalls. "We did that during quarantine. It was a pretty powerful time to be examining wishing that you could get back to a simpler time."
For EW's Fall Movie Preview, Adams talks about what to expect from Disenchanted, revealing a song's title and the name of Giselle's new baby.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Giselle and Robert are married now. What's their relationship like?
AMY ADAMS: Everything is changing, life evolved, and she has a baby now, baby Sophia. It's not as though they've hit a bumpy patch, but things have just evolved between them, you know?
We've seen the images of you and Maya Rudolph and your costumes look a little dark this time. What's going on there?
I don't want to give too much away, but when Giselle makes the wish that the world could be a fairy tale, she still thinks she's a younger lady, I guess, because she's the ingenue. And she's not anymore. She's now the stepmother and things begin to unfold in that direction.
Jonathan Hession/Disney +
I've read rumors about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs being featured in the film. Is it more thematic, or do we get to see them in some form, animated or otherwise?
No, it's very much like the initial film where there are Easter eggs and there are definitely references to the classic Disney movies, but everything's done in the world of Enchanted.
Disenchanted is more of a musical than Enchanted was, right? You're singing and dancing, and Idina has some numbers, I hope?
Yes, thank goodness. That was the grossest oversight, her never singing in the first one. She sings twice, and I couldn't be happier. Yes, that's a Wicked reference. But I'm thrilled. Her song is so beautiful [speaking with EW recently, Menzel revealed the name of one song is "Love Power"]. It's one of my favorite moments of the movie. She's Idina — she's special and has such a beautiful voice.
You have a beautiful voice too, but it's never been your focus on-screen. What was it like to jump into Giselle's voice?
I sing all the time in life. Going back to Giselle is going to not be easy but something that felt very doable. But I realized my voice has changed so much since I've gotten older that to get back into that lightness of her sound was something I really had to work toward. There's a time where she seems in a much darker tone, which actually felt much more natural to me at this point in my life. So it was really fun to return to that lighter sound, and to find that sort of soprano quality in her voice, but it was definitely something I had to work at.
Did it take a lot of work to reach Giselle's tone again?
Just a little. What's fun is Giselle has such a music to her voice. She still definitely has the Giselle-isms, but when we meet her in the first movie, she's just so of the world of Andalasia. When we meet her in this movie, she hasn't lost her magic, but she's definitely lived in this world now for a period of time. But she still is Giselle — and magic, it's still there.
What do you hope families get out of Disenchanted watching it at home on Disney+?
I think there's such an element of family and connection in this movie, and it really is about embracing the ones you love for who they are. It's just all love and good feelings. A big part of the reason I wanted to do it was because I really wanted to touch a little bit of Giselle's magic again. It was something that was important to me, so I hope that it just spreads a little bit of that joy that it has brought me to be Giselle again.
It's been 15, 16 years since you played Giselle — how major was the character for you at the time?
It was such a big part of my life. It was so important to me. I was just starting, and I was really interested in doing so many things, that I didn't necessarily appreciate Giselle in the way she should be appreciated. Now I do.
Has returning to the role reawakened anything in you?
I'm trying to think of a way to put it. Dare I say optimism? It's a hard thing to have sometimes, but I do love the way that she always tries to find good in a situation. That doesn't mean that she won't stand up for what's right, but she always tries to do it in a way that respects and values everybody.
Disenchanted casts a spell on Disney+ beginning Nov. 18.
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