Once upon a time (translation: 15 years ago), Walt Disney Pictures introduced the world to Enchanted featuring Giselle, a once-animated princess from the magical kingdom of Andalasia who found her way into the rude, harsh, live action world of New York City. The role made Amy Adams a world-wide star as she channeled her natural Disney princess characteristics and dazzled the world with her beautiful singing voice. Since then, audiences have eagerly anticipated Giselle’s return. Filled with nods to classic Disney princess films, Disenchanted debuts on Disney+ on November 18, just in time for prime Thanksgiving weekend viewing.
Producer Barry Josephson credits the sequel’s forward momentum to Adams who held a strong desire to return to the character.
“My launching place was taking everything that I loved about Giselle in the first movie and then getting this opportunity to spin it throughout this one. It was really just such a pleasure, getting the returning cast together,” Adams gushed. “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. I can’t thank them enough, and I’m very appreciative. For our new cast members, I was just so pleased to get everybody we have.”
Disenchated follows Giselle 15 years after the events of Enchanted. After she and husband Robert (Patrick Dempsey) decide to leave New York City, Giselle finds her new suburban home of Monroeville and the rigors of an everyday life lacking in the magic of Andalasia. When Giselle makes a wish to bring Monroeville a happily ever after makeover, she unexpectedly finds herself in the role of the wicked stepmother. With singing! Lots and lots of singing!
The songwriting team of Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz return to Disenchanted after receiving three Oscar nominations for their songwriting contributions on the first film. But Menken and Schwartz realized they couldn’t approach the songs in this film the same way they did with the original.
“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 is thrown into Times Square where she’s totally unequipped to deal with what happens. The score kind of grows up with her as she begins to adapt to this world,” Menken explained. “In the new version, she longs for that world, so we still go back to that early Andalasian sound.”
Joining Adams on her return to the Enchanted world are original cast members Patrick Dempsey, Idina Menzel, and James Marsden. For Menzel, her character of Nancy Tremaine, now married to Marsden’s Edward, loses a lot of that original New York City grit she displayed in the original film. She also boasts an increased presence and a late-film solo thanks, largely, to her legendary work in the Frozen films. Marsden’s Edward remains as amusingly big, brash, and comic as ever, even perhaps letting a little of that Prince Charming air rub off on Dempsey this time.
He even gets the opportunity to sing this time around as Robert becomes enveloped in Giselle’s new fairy tale world.
“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,” Dempsey shared. “[It made me] really appreciate the talent with the voices and the singing of Idina and Amy and Maya and everyone. 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.”
Joining the cast as a rival evil queen is Maya Rudolph, and the film takes full advantage of not only her comic chops but also her strong vocal prowess. She and Adams share a show stopping number in the film in which Giselle, in the evil stepmother persona, and Rudolph’s Malvina Monroe have something of an “evil off.”
It’s an iconic scene that will have audiences talking throughout the holiday weekend.
“Even though I’ve had a chance to sing in things before, it was nothing like this experience. Knowing that I was going to get this Menken & Schwartz song was really, truly almost like a life fulfillment. Like I was training for a marathon for my whole life. That’s what it was every day,” Rudolph enthused. “It was amazing. Truly. I’m not worthy. Such a dream come true. There are no words for stuff like that.”
Disenchanted debuts on Disney+ tomorrow, Friday, November 18.