Barry Josephson: The joy I find in Bollywood movies, was the joy I was hoping to find in ‘Disenchanted’

Years after casting a spell with ‘Enchanted’, producer Barry Josephson returns with director Adam Shankman and lead stars Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey to flip the narrative of a typical Disney fairytale.

While the 2007 film saw the cartoon princess being transported to modern-day New York, ‘Disenchanted’ which premiered on Disney+ Hotstar, has the princess of Andalasia exploring her dark side. In a chat with ETimes, Josephson got candid about the 15-year wait for the sequel, getting all the OG cast members together again, the survival of fairytales in a world of superheroes and the Bollywood inspiration behind some of the epic scenes. Excerpts:

Tell us Barry, why the 15-year-long wait for the sequel?
It was a movie that needed a reason for being. I also think that the first movie did so well that Amy McAdams got so busy doing movie after movie and I didn’t do as good of a job catching up with it. So, I think it took a lot of time, but eventually, we all synced up. The great news is that Shawn Bailey at Walt Disney, really wanted the sequel to happen. So we figured out this stand-alone story (that takes place) these many years later and made it happen.

How important was it for you to get all the original cast members back together again?

I felt that that was the most enjoyable part. In the first movie, I felt that this was my family and that they did really well, everybody did such a great job, they were all so great and it was great to put them all and their family back together and embrace their characters. What would Amy do with Giselle? Jimmy came back as King Edward in such a special way. It was great to put everyone back together and get Idina to sing this time.

I love how the hero turns villain in this story, we haven’t seen a take like that in a Disney fairytale…

The fun twist that we put into the movie is that unfortunately because of a wish gone wrong, Amy’s character Giselle becomes a villain as well. So we have two villains facing off. The song ‘Badder’ is so special that I think it will really pop from the movie. I think it was fun to see Amy indulge Giselle and play her a little evil. I think that is the uniqueness of this film. You have both Amy and Maga going head-to-head with each other. They are such special actors.

Maya brings a sort of gravitas to her role and poses a challenge to Giselle, that’s why this concept works.

Do you think the magic of fairytales is dwindling with the popularity of superhero stories?

Look at the Disney legacy, it’s all you need to know. I think fairytales are that endearing legacy from the past and will be a big part of everyone’s future for years to come. I think it is a thing that entertains on every level and they are endearing. That’s why I think there needs to be that kind of special movie. As much as I admire so much about Marvel or Star Wars or any kind of genre, I think that fairytales are special. It captures hearts and minds in a way that some of these other genres really don’t.

There were some epic song and dance sequences, any Bollywood inspirations behind them?

Oh my god! Yes! But, I don’t know if we can ever compete with them. Your movies are so remarkable. I will say that the joy I find in Bollywood movies, was the joy I was hoping to find in this movie. And, that’s where Adam Shankman, our director, comes in. Having choreographed so many videos and commercials and movies, I think for him, it is all about joy, love and fun. He brought so much fun and joy to all the dance numbers that I think that they hold up with Bollywood movies where you have that really great choreography, but are also able to zoom in and see the emotion between the characters. I think that is the real connection between Bollywood movies and our film.

‘Disenchanted’ follows Amy Adams as she returns as Giselle, who accidentally becomes the villain of the story as an evil stepmother to her stepdaughter Morgan, portrayed by Gabriella Baldacchino. The sequel, once again directed by Shankman, brings back Giselle’s husband, Robert, played by Patrick Dempsey, as well as James Marsden as Prince Edward and Idina Menzel as Nancy, who have been living in the fantasy realm of Andalasia since the last film.

While Giselle explores her darker side, the other major villain of the film is Malvina, played by Maya Rudolph. The film also stars Yvette Nicole Brown and Jayma Mays in supporting roles.

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