A lavish live-action/animation blend of the sort the studio hadn’t tried for two decades, it featured an untried leading lady and a script that lampooned the princess musicals that had been the studio’s signature fare for 70 years. Fortunately, “Enchanted” became a worldwide smash, earned three Oscar nominations, and made a star out of Amy Adams.
It’s a wonder the movie worked so well, given the long struggle to get it made. The result could have been something a lot different — less kid-friendly, and with another leading lady. Here, then, are the secrets of how the filmmakers overcame those obstacles, brought the fantasy realms of Andalasia and Manhattan together, and got all those rats and pigeons to clean Patrick Dempsey‘s apartment.
2. Over the next ten years, the musical project went through numerous script doctors and four directors, including Rob Marshall (who ended up making “Chicago” for Disney’s Miramax instead), Jon Turteltaub (who wound up making Disney’s “National Treasure” movies), and Adam Shankman (who’d go on to direct “Hairspray“). Disney finally hired Kevin Lima (the co-director of its animated hit “Tarzan“) and returned the script to Kelly for one last rewrite.
4. Since Adams was a non-entity at the box office, Disney sought insurance by seeking a better-known leading man to play jaded divorce lawyer Robert. James Marsden wanted to play the second lead, heroic but clueless Prince Edward, so that left the role of Robert open for “Grey’s Anatomy” star Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey.
6. Several actresses who starred in Disney musicals have cameos in “Enchanted.” Jodi Benson, who voiced Ariel in “The Little Mermaid,” plays Robert’s assistant Sam. (Fittingly, she shares a scene with Giselle that involves a fish tank, while “Mermaid” ballad “Part of Your World” plays in the background.) Paige O’Hara, who starred as Belle in “Beauty and the Beast,” plays a soap opera character named Angela, who shares a scene on her TV show with a character named Jerry (apparent references to “Beauty” co-stars Angela Lansbury and Jerry Orbach). Judy Kuhn, who sang for the title character in “Pocahontas,” plays Robert’s pregnant neighbor. And Mary Poppins herself, Julie Andrews, is the film’s voiceover narrator. (Giselle’s twirl on a hill in Central Park is an homage to the opening scene of Andrews’ “The Sound of Music.”)
8. Lima has a cameo of sorts in the movie as the yipping voice of Andalasian chipmunk Pip, once he’s transported to New York and loses the ability to speak English.
10.Mona May, the costume designer best known for her colorful “Clueless” clothes, created the costumes for “Enchanted.” Most elaborate was Giselle’s poofy wedding dress, which included a hoop skirt that had 20 layers of petticoats. Adams said it was hard to move while wearing it because it weighed 45 pounds.
12. Lima has said the hardest sequence to film was the “That’s How You Know” number, shot in Central Park. It took 17 days, with shooting made difficult because of bad weather and overzealous Dempsey fans.
14. Disney had hoped to cash in on merchandising with a Giselle doll, the studio’s first to be modeled in the likeness of a real person rather than a cartoon. But then Disney’s lawyers discovered that they’d have to pay Adams to license her image for the rest of her life, so the doll was scrapped.
16. Three of the movie’s five songs were nominated for Oscars: “Happy Working Song,” “That’s How You Know,” and “So Close.”
Like Giselle, we may have to wait a while longer for our happily ever after.