A long time ago in the far distant land of Burbank, CA, resided the plans for a sequel to the 2007 hit Disney film, Enchanted. Trapped in a development whirlwind of ups and downs, it seemed the journey to see Giselle back up on the big screen was going to be long and arduous. While many had long given up on the journey’s happy ending, the sequel, aptly titled DISENCHANTED, defied the odds and has now risen from the ashes of hell to grace fans – both new and old – on Disney+ this Friday! But how did this long-awaited sequel come to be?
Recently, Nightmarish Conjurings took part in a global press conference for Walt Disney Pictures’ DISENCHANTED. Moderated by People Magazine’s Kara Warner, the press conference was attended by Amy Adams (“Giselle”/Producer), Patrick Dempsey (“Robert”), Idina Menzel (“Nancy”), Maya Rudolph (“Malvina Monroe”), Gabriella Baldacchino (“Morgan”), Yvette Nicole Brown (“Rosaleen”), Jayma Mays (“Ruby”), Oscar Nunez (“Edgar/Barista/Mirror”), director Adam Shankman, composer Alan Menken, and producer Barry Josephson.
It’s been a long time since Enchanted was released. In a film that’s been trapped in development hell, the question that has to be addressed was how exactly did the team come together to figure out what story they were going to tell. Naturally, all answers pointed to Giselle and what all Amy Adams could bring to developing the role further from where audiences left off twelve years ago.
‘Amy was our starting point’
When it comes to revisiting familiar characters, especially over a decade later, the questions that are ultimately asked are, “What more of the character’s journey can we go through? What else can we explore?” Where audiences left Giselle at the end of Enchanted was merely the end of a chapter on the character’s journey. In the exploration of life beyond the fairy tale, the journey is far from over and it would take Adams’ involvement to get the ball rolling.
There was no mistaking that Adams would need to come back to play Giselle. Producer Barry Josephson explained, “Amy really was our starting point of wanting to play Giselle again.” Assembling a team that could write a script that could fully channel Adams’s strengths proved beneficial for all and resulted in something that the team could be proud of. But it brought up challenging questions. Shankman elaborated further:
“[It is] all pivoting around [the question of] what is Giselle’s new character? What is her dilemma? How do we progress from the original movie and yet, make something that was definitely a new movie? [We needed] a fresh new start for her character and the other characters that everybody loved from the first movie.”
The answer turned out to be simple. During discussions with director Adam Shankman, he reminded the team that Giselle was Morgan’s stepmother. “That for me become the absolute jump-off point,” he explained, and with good reason.
The wicked stepmother is a classic character trope in fairytales. Giselle’s identity transitioning from maiden to mother, well, stepmother proved to be ‘low hanging fruit’ as Shankman put it. While the fruit may hang low and be easy to reach, it proved to be a tantalizing door-opener for the team. Shankman explained:
“This was perfect in terms of a continuation of that because she has this 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 a thrill ride from there. It just was a luge of finding stuff like that. But again, as Barry said, the whole thing starts with Amy and Giselle.”
For Adams, it came down to looking at the evolution of Giselle between Enchanted and DISENCHANTED: We were looking at where Giselle would be now. [We] are taking that evolution of who she might be [over] 10 years, but also making sure we keep her grounded in the truth of her feelings, but without losing that joy and that naiveite and innocence and purity that makes Giselle so special.”
Giselle was the glue that held the beloved Enchanted together. With the story once again focusing on her in the sequel, fans will be elated. The question now becomes where will Giselle’s journey go in DISENCHANTED. You’ll have to watch to find out.
DISENCHANTED debuts November 18 exclusively on Disney+.
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