Director spellbound on Don’t Return for Amy Adams-directed sequel – The Hollywood Reporter

Fifteen years ago, Disney enthralled moviegoers by sending their catalog of movies with Enchantedand now its director is opening up about the challenges of making the film — and his surprise at not being asked to work on the new sequel, Disenchanted.

Enchanted’Its origins date back to the late 1990s. The initial script, written by Bill Kelly (Blast from the past), which centers on Giselle, an animated woman who likes to sing with her animal friends (much like Snow White or Sleeping Beauty) but longs for a happy ending. After Giselle and the prince of the magical kingdom fall in love, the evil queen banishes Giselle to a live New York City. Kelly says The Hollywood Reporter of his initial inspiration: “How could you do a modern day Sound of music?”

Over the years, the script was rewritten and directors such as Rob Marshall, Jon Turteltaub and Adam Shankman were in talks to direct the project before Kevin Lima came on board. Lima had a long history with the company as an animator, having worked on character designs for The little Mermaid And The beauty and the Beast and as a storyboard artist for Aladdin before moving on to directing A silly movie And 102 Dalmatians. He says DAY that its step for Enchanted billed the film as a “love letter to Disney”, rather than the more cynical version that had been in the works.

Lima recalls that the studio was looking to cast an established star as the lead. But she pushed for Amy Adams, even before the comedy-drama’s 2005 release Junebug, which would provide her breakthrough and her first Academy Award nomination. “Amy is the lifeblood of Enchantedand without that performance, the film wouldn’t be half of what it is,” says the director.

He also recalls that the studio was “pretty nervous” about the film, with some at Disney expressing concern that only girls would like the film. “The marketing department didn’t believe the film was worth making,” Lima says. “They didn’t think the kids were going to see this movie, and the marketing department did their best to shut the movie down a couple of times while we were in pre-production. But I was really lucky [Disney execs] Nina Jacobson and Dick Cook believed in the film and kept pushing us forward.”

Lima says he felt empowered when test scores were through the roof and observed that the boys loved it too. Enchanted hit theaters on November 21, 2007 and co-starred Patrick Dempsey, Idina Menzel and James Marsden; THR’The director’s review called the film “sometimes clever, other times strident”. Moviegoers were clearly wowed, as it grossed $340 million worldwide ($471 million today) and garnered three Original Song Oscar nominations for tracks by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz.

A decade and a half later, the film spawned the sequel Disenchanted, premiering this month on Disney+ with all the leads reprising their roles, but Shankman replaces Lima in the director’s chair. Lima says DAY that he was “shocked” at not being invited to be involved in the new film, which currently holds a 39% approval rating on Rotten tomatoesas opposed to Enchanted’s 93 percent rating.

“A perfect storm of an executive change and Hollywood politics meant I wasn’t invited to the party, unfortunately,” he says. Disenchanted. “It was a very, very sad turning point. I have not seen the film; I haven’t read the script. Then I will experience the characters I helped create, grow and live as audiences do.

Regardless, Lima is proud of it Enchanted made the list of fans’ favorite Disney princess films: “Because we paid homage to those films in a loving way, Enchanted it has become timeless.”

THR reported in May 2005 that the long-gestating project was “back on track” with Lima’s hiring.

The Hollywood Reporter

A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to register now.

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