Getting to screen any Disney movie is always such an honor, when it’s a musical with lots of fun dancing makes it even better, when you get to interview one of your idols makes it priceless! That’s exactly what happened when I was in LA last month. I was invited to screen the upcoming Disney Descendants which stars some of your favorite Disney alum and some new faces. I can’t give you many details about the movie, but I can share the interview that had me almost in fits…my interview with Kenny Ortega!
After partnering with Gary Marsh for High School Musical, when Gary reached out to Kenny and asked him to look over the script. Thus, a great partnership began and Disney Descendants was born. Kenny said when he read the script he was blown away, having been a kid that watched Disney characters, watching the animated characters be brought to life in a whole new way sealed the deal. He realized that he was going to get to work with these iconic characters and the offspring they have (but we obviously never knew of until now).
The process wasn’t easy, and in fact casting took five months, venturing the world to places like Great Britain, Canada, the U.S., and even as far as Australia. The people Kenny worked with (not just the actors but the entire crew) were all so joyous it was truly a pleasure to come to work. According to Kenny, “Every day I opened my eyes, I couldn’t wait to get on set“
With Kenny’s background in dance, and knowing not everyone who was in the movie was a professional dancer, was it a challenge getting the ones with no training to learn to dance? According to Kenny, this is something he is used to. He has always worked with both trained and non-trained cast, and what it really boils down to is the ambition of the person filling the spot! The actors have a drive that make them ready to take on any challenge thrown their way. It was the same way with the cast of Descendants.
On Descendants they were able to work in a kind of a factory area, which had three different rooms. The actors, who had no training, were definitely stretched, but the dancers with training really took it upon themselves to mentor the actors. In fact Dove Cameron, who is a lead in Descendants, went from being a non-dancer to really being able to attack the movements as good as anyone in the room. It all boiled down to the focus and determination. I can assure you, you will not be able to tell which of the people in the movie had no formal dance training, they all did amazing!
There are so many songs in the movie, and really they are all great. You will end up downloading the soundtrack, and while Kenny Ortega enjoyed them all, his favorite was Rotten to the Core because he was able to use it as character introduction and also to introduce us a bit to the island of loss, a world he imagined when he was 13 and on the Olive production, it makes you kind of wonder what kind of place is this.
Of course it wasn’t just Kenny who had praises about Disney Descendants, Dove Cameron who plays Mal and Cameron Boyce, who plays Carlos had this to say about being a part of Descendants:
“Filming “Descendants” was some of the most fun that I’ve had in my entire life. It was the most incredible and magical cast and crew. Kenny Ortega is a genius. All of my costars are absolutely talented and magnificent, and everybody was handpicked so specifically. They’re all my heroes, and I really hope that we get to work more together.” -Dove Cameron – Mal, Disney’s “Descendants”
“The experience was amazing. We worked with Kenny Ortega, and Vancouver, Canada is beautiful. We had a really great time, the cast was really close. We spent a lot of time together just hanging out, and we were a really tight knit group.” -Cameron Boyce – Carlos, Disney’s “Descendants”
Finally if Kenny could work with anyone he hasn’t already who would it be? Meryl Streep, Janet Jackson, Bruno Mars, George Clooney just to name a few. Of course, I think those would be great collaborations, so I hope it happens, Kenny Ortega also said, Broadway should take a cue from Disney and get us bloggers out there and I totally agree! I would even volunteer to be an understudy! Next week, I’ll be sharing my Disney Descendants full review, but just know you should watch (or program your DVR’s) for Disney Descendants, which premieres on Disney July 31 at 8 pm EST.
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