Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey on the challenges beyond ‘happily ever after’ | Inquirer Entertainment

Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey on the challenges beyond ‘happily ever after’

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:20 AM November 17, 2022
Amy Adams (left) with Gabriella Baldacchino and Patrick Dempsey in “Disenchanted”

Amy Adams (left) with Gabriella Baldacchino and Patrick Dempsey in “Disenchanted” —PHOTOS COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

What happens after a Disney princess rides happily into the sunset with her real-life prince? In the case of Giselle (Amy Adams), who chose cynical divorce lawyer Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) over the dashing Prince Edward (James Marsden) in 2007’s “Enchanted,” it certainly isn’t the “happily ever after” she thought it would be.

In “Disenchanted,” the eagerly anticipated sequel that will be streamed on Disney+ beginning on Friday, Giselle realizes that there are problems that even magic can’t solve. After all, not all the woes of the real world can be sorted out by quick fixes.


More than a decade after foiling evil Queen Narissa’s (Susan Sarandon) tyrannical plans and busting out of Andalasia’s animated fairy tale world, Giselle has even become a discontented stepmother to Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino), Robert’s 16-year-old daughter from his first marriage.

To escape the chaos of city life, Giselle convinces Robert to move their growing family to sleepy suburban Monroeville, whose power-hungry queen bee Malvina (Maya Rudolph) isn’t as welcoming to Giselle.


James Marsden (left) and Idina Menzel

James Marsden (left) and Idina Menzel

Magical gift

To make matters worse, a magical gift from King Edward (James Marsden) and Queen Nancy (Idina Menzel) further complicates Giselle’s woes. Worse, if a solution isn’t found before the clock strikes 12, it could destroy her family’s dream life forever.

In a virtual press con last weekend, producer Barry Josephson revealed to us that the idea for the sequel began percolating with Amy wanting to play Giselle again.

During the group interview, which was also attended by Amy, Patrick, Idina, Gabriella, Yvette Nicole Brown (Rosaleen), Jayma Mays (Ruby), Oscar Nuñez (Edgar/mirror), composer Alan Menken and director Adam Shankman, Barry disclosed that it was Adam’s decision to join the development process that took the production “into the stratosphere.”

He explained, “Adam brought with him Richard LaGravenese, who developed the script and took the story to another level. It was such a joy to see the script come together and become this musical comedy, with the right amount of drama pivoting around Giselle’s ‘evolving’ character and her dilemma.”

The wheels of production rolled quickly soon after, Adam said: “I spoke to Sean Bailey, the president of Disney, who was talking about how the project was sitting there and, as we discussed it, I said, ‘Well, basically, Giselle is Morgan’s stepmother now.’ And that, for me, became the absolute jumping-off point.

“I said, ‘That’s low-hanging fruit’—which is perfect in terms of continuing Giselle’s story because her now-grown stepdaughter probably doesn’t believe in magic anymore. And I was like, ‘Let’s go from there.’ And it’s been a thrill ride from there!

Adams (left) with Maya Rudolph

Adams (left) with Maya Rudolph

‘Amazing storyline’

“I don’t know if I’ve ever said, but (turning to Amy) I wanted to work with you for so long because we speak a very similar language. We’re both musical nerds and Disney nerds. And I suddenly thought, ‘I want to make a movie not with Amy, but for Amy as well.’ You inspire me so much, and it’s the truth.”


Jumping in, Alan said, “In the story, Giselle makes this wish, which then throws us into this amazing storyline. It brings all the fun along with it because of what happens from that wish.”

For Amy, Patrick and Idina (who gets to show off her sensational pipes in the soaring tune, “Love Power,” and goes to town with it), it was interesting to return to their respective characters and see how they’ve changed.


“We were looking at where Giselle would be now,” Amy enthused. “When we leave her in the last movie, there’s been an evolution from the beginning of ‘Enchanted’ to who Giselle is at the end of it. We took that evolution of who she might be after 10 years.

“We made sure to keep her grounded in the truth of her feelings, but without losing that joy, naiveite, innocence and purity that have always made Giselle special. That’s where my launching place was … taking everything that I loved about Giselle in the first movie, then spinning it throughout this sequel.”

In the case of “Broadway queen” Idina (“Wicked,” “Rent” and the animated flick “Frozen”), the change was “more drastic,” she said, “I go from this cynical New York chick, then I jump down a portal through a manhole. It was so much fun for me (laughs).

“I would ask Adam, ‘How much of my New York accent do I still have coming from Andalasia? And how much of this idyllic, romantic, beautiful, perfect place has rubbed off on my character Nancy many years later? But other than putting on the corset and all that, it was an easy journey for me.”

As for Patrick, while his “transformation” was more gradual, the role did eventually require the actor to warm up his vocal chords and put on his dancing shoes.

“Yeah, Robert at the very beginning is trying to balance life between his new baby and his teenage child Morgan, and the conflict arising between her and ‘the stepmother,’ as Adam pointed out. But getting into his ‘larger than life’ persona as the story progressed was completely freeing and fun.

“So, for me, it was a fantastic ride! I had a great time where I could work a little bit, do some sightseeing in Ireland (where the film was shot at the height of COVID-19), and work on the production’s musical aspects. I had great fun with the singing and dancing.

“To finally be able to sing was a joy. That whole process of going through it while finding your voice, working with a voice coach, learning the lyrics and the dance … it’s something I’d never done before.

“There’s something intoxicating about hearing Idina and Amy and Maya and everyone sing. It was nice to be in the fairy tale world for a while and get a taste of that.”

‘Swashbuckling adventurer’

Cutting in, Amy turned to Patrick and said, “It was so much fun to watch you, Patrick. I was saying yesterday that I’ve never seen a man happier in a tunic, other than my husband (laughs). You looked so happy that day. It was so much fun to see you embrace being a swashbuckling adventurer!”

Patrick replied, “I really loved it. It was a little scary at first. But it was a safe environment to work in and play, so hopefully, people enjoy it as much as I did.”

For Maya, the chance to act in a screen musical with “Disenchanted’s” topnotch cast was a dream come true.

She explained, “Even though I’ve had a chance to sing in another project before this, it was nothing like this experience. And knowing that I was going to perform this Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz song [‘Badder’] was really a life fulfillment sort of thing.

“It was like I was training for this marathon my whole life. It was absolutely amazing. I am not worthy! It was such a dream come true for me. There are no words for stuff like that.

Gabriella agreed, “Yes, a ‘dream come true’ is the best way to put it. I mean, when I was little, ‘Enchanted’ was my favorite movie. So, being able to join all these people was surreal to me. And little Gabby would probably faint if she knew where we are now.”

Was it important for everyone to make sure that Idina had a song in the sequel?

Alan quipped, “Yes, yes, yes, yes! We had two attempts to do that in the first movie … I wrote two songs for her [but we just couldn’t get them in].”

“We actually shot one of them,” Idina recalled. “But I appreciate you guys for trying so hard [to put it in]. It was just superfluous at the time. But now, you more than made up for it in so many ways. And I’m singing a song [‘Love Power’] I could barely sing live if I tried (laughs)!”

Barry added, “The credit really goes to Amy and Adam because, for them since Day One, it was: ‘Idina will sing!’”

Nov. 21 is the 15th anniversary of “Enchanted.” What’s one thing about its release in 2007 that made you realize that people loved it?

“We were taking a big leap with ‘Enchanted,” Amy mused. “I knew how much I’d loved and believed in Giselle’s spirit, but we got into it not really knowing if people would get it. So, I do remember feeling really scared the first time I watched it with an audience.

“I was with Patrick in London, and it was very quiet for the first part of the movie. Then, I remember after ‘Happy Working Song,’ there was a shift in the energy, where the audience sort of started to go on the journey with us—and it was really a special and overwhelming moment for me!

“I did ‘Enchanted’ early on in my career. So, this movie has meant so much to me in so many ways. And I’m just grateful beyond words.” INQ


Amy Adams & Patrick Dempsey in medieval attire in ‘Disenchanted’ photos

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