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'Enchanted' director blames Disney 'Hollywood politics' for not being asked back for 'Disenchanted'

Kevin Lima made a modern Disney classic, but the studio didn't ask him to be part of the follow-up.

DISENCHANTED (2022)

Director Kevin Lima has a long history with the Walt Disney Company. He's worked there as an animator, contributing to classics like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, and as a storyboard artist on classics like Aladdin. Eventually he rose through the ranks in the animation department to become a director, with credits including 102 Dalmatians and the very beloved A Goofy Movie. All that time and experience eventually led him to the animation/live-action hybrid Enchanted, which he shepherded to a certain classic status of his own back in 2007. 

Now, 15 years later, he's been cut out of the sequel completely. 

Disenchanted, the long-awaited follow-up to the original film, hit Disney+ last week, but while it features returning cast members like star Amy Adams and co-stars Patrick Dempsey and Idina Menzel, director Adam Shankman was Disney's choice to helm the film, leaving Lima out of the production entirely. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he reacted to the personnel change. 

“A perfect storm of a change of executives and Hollywood politics made it so that I was uninvited to the party, unfortunately,” Lima said. “It was a very, very sad turn. I haven’t seen the movie; I haven’t read the script. So I’m going to experience the characters that I helped create, grow and live on as the audience does.”

The move by Disney seems to sting even more because of Lima's deep investment in the making of Enchanted way back in the 2000s. He joined the film after several other major directors considered it dating back to the 1990s, fought to make it a "love letter to Disney," and even fought for star Amy Adams, who was then a largely unknown up-and-comer at a time when the studio wanted a name for the leading role of Giselle. He event fought back against a publicity machine that was at times willing to dismiss the movie because there was a concern that its appeal wasn't broad enough.

“The marketing department didn’t have faith that the movie was worth making,” Lima said. “They didn’t think boys would go to see this movie, and the marketing department did their best to shut down the movie a couple of times while we were in pre-production. But I was really lucky that [Disney execs] Nina Jacobson and Dick Cook believed in the film and kept pushing us forward.”

Eventually, Lima was vindicated, and Enchanted became revered among Disney fans. Now, the sequel is streaming on Disney+, and he's experiencing it just like everyone else. Still, he remains deeply proud of the work he did back in 2007, and the long legacy Enchanted has left.

“Because we paid homage to those [Disney] movies in a loving way, Enchanted has become timeless," he said.

Looking for more feel-good stories around the holidays? Check out the Hallmark Channel hub on Peacock, which is loaded with enough Christmas movies to keep them rolling non-stop until Santa arrives.

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