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A sequel 15-years in the making, Disenchanted finally continues the story of Giselle Philips (Amy Adams) after she gets her happily-ever-after in 2007's Enchanted. The Disney+ exclusive sequel picks up 10 years after the events of the original movie, and finds Giselle married to Robert (Patrick Dempsey), the stepmother to a now teen Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino), and a struggling new mom to infant Sophia. Overwhelmed with New York, the family packs up to the suburbs, where a series of mistakes ends up framing Giselle as the evil stepmother to an impatient Morgan.
In a press conference for the film today attended by SYFY WIRE, director Adam Shankman, composer Alan Menken and the film's cast including Adams, Patrick Dempsey, and Idina Menzel gathered to talk about how this sequel ticks off some brand new directions for the characters, and the actors. In particular, Shankman said that the film had been sitting in a very long developmental stasis when he went in for a meeting to pitch his angle: Giselle as the "evil" stepmom.
"I said to them, 'You know Giselle is the stepmother?' And it became the jumping off point. It was the low-hanging fruit," he laughed. "Especially when you consider she has this developed stepdaughter who doesn’t believe in magic anymore."
Shankman added that he's also personal friends with Adams, and they both share an affinity for all things Disney, and musicals in general. So making the sequel was high on his list of dream projects.
"I wanted to make a movie with, and for, Amy," he said.
For Adams, who had been asked about a sequel by fans for more than a decade, said she was most interested in a story that looked at where Giselle would be now.
"In Enchanted, there was an evolution for Giselle from the beginning to the end," she said. "I wanted to see where you might take that evolution after 10 years, but keep her grounded in the truth of her current feelings without losing her joy and naivety. This takes everything that I loved about her in the first movie and moves her forward. Plus, it was fun to see everyone step back into it."
Disenchanted boasts the return of everyone from the main original cast including Idina Menzel as Nancy and James Marsden as Prince Edward. And in a first for Dempsey, having his character, Robert, travel to Andalasia in this movie gave him the opportunity to sing and dance on screen. He said he worked with a vocal coach to find his voice and tone.
"It's nothing I’ve ever done before and it's an extraordinary feeling when you sing," he said. "The vibration is intoxicating and then Adam got me moving too. It was nice to be in the fairy tale world for awhile and to play something so broad because I don’t get those kinds of opportunities."
And for those fans of Menzel who always wondered why she didn't get her own song in Enchanted way back when, the actress, as well as composer Alan Menken, explained that she actually had two songs in the original film, including a title song. Unfortunately, they were yanked because they weren't working in the final edit. Menzel joked that Nancy now gets a song, "Love Power," in the sequel, "That I could barely sing live if I tried."
Mezel added that she loved getting to play a very different version of Nancy, who is now Edward's wife and the Queen of Andalasia.
"Mine is a pretty drastic change from cynical New York chick who then jumped into a manhole," she said. "It was challenging figuring out the balance. I was always asking Adam things like, 'How much of a New York accent do I still have?' And, 'How much has this idyllic place rubbed off on me?'"
Disenchanted premieres Nov. 18, only on Disney+.
Looking for more fantasy adventures? Stream the entire Harry Potter film saga on Peacock now.