In the 2007 musical comedy hit Enchanted, Giselle (Amy Adams) ends up — as most Disney princesses do — living happily ever after, settling down with Patrick Dempsey’s Robert and his young daughter, Morgan, and starting her own fashion brand.
Fifteen years later, the sequel Disenchanted, however, will find Giselle questioning the very notion of “happily ever after.” In other words, the eternally optimistic Andalasian princess — transforming into another fantasy archetype, the evil stepmother — will be in the throes of an existential crisis.
“I’m not sure that’s the most Disney way of saying it, but it’s the truth,” laughs director Adam Shankman (Hairspray, Rock of Ages) in an interview with Yahoo Entertainment at the studio’s recent D23 Expo (watch above).
“It doesn’t sit well with her that she cannot make things better all the time. And realizing ‘happily ever after’ wasn’t what [it was promised to be]. So she makes a big mistake and tries to impose her will, basically, and control how life works. And there are disastrous consequences. But not disastrous for the audience!”
While it might be a first for a Disney princess, Adams insists it’s not actually the studio’s first “existential crisis” movie, pointing to the heroes of Pixar’s Toy Story.
“Woody and Buzz… they kind of go through that with Andy growing up,” says the actress, who was joined by new co-star Maya Rudolph. “And having to change how they see themselves.
“So in taking on that trope of wanting to hang onto the way things were, but really having to go through a journey to embrace how things are. And so it’s kind of like that. Like Woody and Buzz, in the tradition of Toy Story. I don’t know if it’s [Disney’s] first existential crisis, but it’s the first one that goes this direction.”
—Video produced by Jen Kucsak and edited by Jimmie Rhee
Disenchanted premieres Nov. 24 on Disney+.
Watch the trailer: