Director Lima on the chattering rodent: "I'm just thrilled with Pip, because he's one of those rare moments when you capture something that's in your head. I remember when I was on the set, I would sit there, and I would act out where Pip would be and what he'd be saying and how he'd be moving for everybody. I'd be saying things like, 'And then he jumps up on the cup. And he looks at you and he goes, "SQUEAK!"' And people were looking at me, like, 'You are crazy.'
"I just had the idea of what he was supposed to be from the very, very beginning. So to have him come to CG life in this way, and be actually more than I thought he would be, is pretty grand. I love the fact that we've created a performance with a character without having him have to speak at all. You know exactly what's going on with Pip from just way he holds his shoulders or he droops or he touches his head or his expression changes."
The director is also proud that, while a lot of the time, these sidekicks are blessed with the voice of a very funny--probably very famous--actor, Pip is silent for most of the film…save his squeaks…which are actually supplied by Lima himself.
Again, per Lima: "It was out of necessity more than anything, actually. When we started putting together the real world pieces with Pip, we just started cutting dialogue to it. And we needed some attitude beyond just the drawings. So I just started recording some scratch dialogue. It just so happened that everybody thought it was funny, and they liked it…so it stuck."
Making ENCHANTED Sing…And Dance!
ENCHANTED is lucky to contain music and lyrics by the incomparable Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. "I actually became involved with the film years ago," says Menken, "when it was in the early stages of development. My active involvement picked up once again, in the fall of 2006. Stephen resumed our collaboration, which was a great opportunity for both of us to work together again."
Schwartz supplies, "Alan called me and asked me if I'd be interested in doing the lyrics for this project. I read the screenplay, which I like very much, and met with Kevin Lima. It all meshed, and I felt very lucky to be able to climb aboard the train, even relatively late."
The longtime collaborators and multiple Oscar® winners are very specific about what they look for in a project. Menken (who supplies the score and five original songs) explains, "Number one, you look for a story in which music can play a vital role. It's got to have a style that allows the characters to sing, and clearly for a project like this, it starts in a world of animation, a world of enchantment, and then finds its way into the real world. It's one of the best opportunities that I can think of for a new film score, because it can pull from the magic of animation and then move towards contemporary music in the same score."
Schwartz reasons, "The biggest problem with doing live-action musicals is justifying why the characters are suddenly bursting into song in the middle of very real sets and very real situations. So one of the great things I thought about ENCHANTED was that the concept itself allowed the characters to sing in a way that was completely integral to the plot of the story."
Of the new songs, three figure as sizeable set pieces: the "Happy Working Song" shows us Giselle utilizing her animal-charming abilities to help straighten out Robert's messy bachelor apartment; "That's How You Know" turns New York into an enormous stage, as Giselle explains her ideas about true love to Robert and, in a grand Pied Piper fashion, brings more than 150 dancer/singers under her spell to perform in a rousing production number that literally takes over Central Park; and "So Close," which is sung by an outer voice, Jon McLaughlin, that mirrors Giselle's inner, emotional journey…symbolic in the fact that she herself is not singing, given that she has matured from a recently-animated character to an emotionally sophisticated, flesh-and-blood woman.
As with all the filmmakers and cast, the Disney classics were a great influence for Menken and Schwartz. Per Menken: "We're really trying to take you back to the 'Snow White' or 'Cinderella' era, pre-Belle, pre-Pinocchio, back to the earliest days of animation. The influence is so enormous--and the rest of the influence for me musically is almost innate--so my music becomes a marriage between the two."
And Schwartz: "It's really been fun both to pay homage to--and sort of gently kid--classic Disney…and we're sort of kidding ourselves in a couple of spots, too! It's definitely irreverent, and definitely having fun with it, while still having great affection for it...and that just made it fun on all levels."
Lima found working with the musical duo a dream come true. He says, "I feel really blessed to have the opportunity to work with Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. I've admired them all my life and to be in this moment working with them and collaborating on something that is this special is a great joy."
The director began collaborating with the pair about nine months prior to the beginning of principal photography. Lima comments, "The songs take a road that echoes what Giselle is going through as a person. In the animated world, she breaks into song and no one cares. The animals all sing along. It's as if that's the normal way of living. But when she comes into the real world, and there's no soundtrack, she needs to creates her own soundtrack, in a sense, in the this new place. Finally, as she becomes more human, the song leaves her throat, and in the finale of the film, the song is sung by someone on stage, which ultimately becomes a voiceover song. What Alan and Stephen have written are five songs that cover her character arc absolutely perfectly."
For producer Barry Josephson, it was this inclusion of the musical numbers that showed him the true magic at the heart of ENCHANTED. "I think that the first time I saw some rough cuts of the musical numbers and seeing them pieced together, that was a confirming moment for me. I mean, I had felt that throughout the process--seeing Amy so perfect in the role, of her speaking with the animals and working with the actors, how comfortable she was. But then, to see it all cut together--even roughly--that's when I really said, 'Wow, this is working.' It's that combination of a lot of things--the script, the direction, the performers, the design work, the effects, the music--that just blew me away. Then to have those wonderful musical pieces, where emotions are being generated and passed among everyone on camera…joy and passion. Alan and I were watching during the filming of 'That's How you Know' in Central Park and we both amazed. It just all really came together."
Part of the joy also came from the fact that, even though they were aware that both Adams and Marsden could sing, the filmmakers were unprepared for the level of their musical accomplishment. Adams had been working in musical theater throughout her career, and Marsden spent some of his high school performing in choir and listening to Sinatra and classic crooners. Their melodious singing was given a final polish by vocal coach John Deaver, who worked with both prince and almost-princess on their vocal production.
And where would those big production numbers be without dancing? For choreographer John "Cha-Cha" O'Connell (2001 American Choreography for Film Award winner for "Moulin Rouge!"), ENCHANTED proved to be different from anything he'd ever worked on before. O'Connell comments, "The Central Park scenes were very different, in the sense that it has an incredible breadth of the type of talent that's involved. It's really Giselle's number--she has a Pied Piper effect as she skips through the park and tells people her story, gathering groups up as she sings and dances through the scene. We have everything from anti-gravity gymnasts to stilt walkers and rollerbladers. We have authentic Bavarian slap dancers, Broadway dancers, children, and even a belly dancer--we've got everything in the mix. So it all adds up to a big universal eclectic number. And then for the ball scene, the highly-charged and very, very romantic finale of the film, I referenced all the animated Disney movies to get a sense of the type of waltzes they did. I looked at 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'Cinderella' and 'Sleeping Beauty.' They all have ballroom dances. And then, with our gorgeous music, we made our own choreography.
"Amy Adams and Idina Menzel come from musical theater backgrounds, so their skills were totally serendipitous. They took to the dances like ducks to water. Patrick had done a little bit of dancing when he was in his early 20's. And Jimmy Marsden hadn't danced at all, but now, he's a champion waltzer. You kind of sculpt according to what they can do. And because they're actors, they absolutely know how to sell it, which is very important and half the battle," concludes O'Connell.
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For Lima, being able to helm a new take on a Disney-style fantasy was not dissimilar to the journey experienced by the central character of Giselle, who straddles two worlds--the director, however, got to re-visit his boyhood world and re-imagine it from the viewpoint of an adult filmmaker.
But it is, above all else, the love of all this is Disney that drove the director during the journey of ENCHANTED: "I think that's what 'Mary Poppins' did when it came out--it reminded you of what you loved about the Disney animated films, and then transported that into a real world. And I think this movie does a lot of the same thing; it takes all of those iconic ideas and puts them in a new context. And I think that's where the joy of the movie really comes from--it's the sense of discovery, that as an audience member, you get to look at it and think, 'Oh, now they're doing this!'"
Lima expands on his thought and closes, "It really feels like--although we're doing what Walt did back with 'Mary Poppins'--we're pioneering forward with today's technology and storytelling while, at the same time, we're able to speak to something that's pure and wonderful. Which, I think, in many ways--and this may sound corny--the world doesn't have enough of. I think that the notion of true love, of a sense of naïveté, and the belief that you don't have to be cynical to live in today's world is something that's important to remember. And I think it's something that Walt Disney said in every single one of his movies."
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