Thursday , January 20 2022

‘Godmothered’ on Disney + and inclusive is happily ever after


Eleanor believes that happy endings come from following a simple three-step formula. Because that’s what the ambitious fairy godmother is trained to think.

“Godmothered,” now available on Disney +, tells the story of Eleanor, played by Jillian Bell, as she travels to Boston in the hope of proving to humanity that magic is still something worth believing in. But to her surprise, she discovers that the 10 young girls she’s looking to help have grown into adulthood, played by Isla Fisher, who is skeptical of all a concept of happy afters forever and ever.

“What’s nice about Eleanor is that she’s a naïve believer, you really have a formula for happiness,” says director Sharon Maguire. “The world she encounters does not meet those expectations at all, so she has to wrap her head around a completely different kind of happily ever after.”

Maguire, best known for directing “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” was delighted with the opportunity to make a new Christmas movie – especially one that included elements she has never worked with before, such as magic. But he particularly appreciated the opportunity to pervert the core elements of classic fairy tales, including those in the Disney canon.

“[The movie’s] have woodland creatures, ”Maguire said. “He has magic. But Eleanor is untrained and has no magic, so you have to reverse Disney’s legacy in the name of comedy. ”

And “Godmothered” is more than a family-friendly Christmas comedy that delights in light fun at fairy tale tropics. It also reverses the happy ending of the traditional fairy tale and celebrates a more inclusive view by recognizing that true love can be more than just the heteronormative, romantic kind.

Jillian Bell has a stick and a book

Jillian Bell is on a mission to save her profession in “Godmothered.”

(KC Bailey / Disney +)

“Happy endings can be different for everyone,” says Bell. “And it doesn’t need to be one thing we see time and time again.”

He pointed out that fairy tales “sometimes need updating” and he is right “they need a few changes.”

“It’s cool that we’re growing and evolving and stories are moving forward with the times,” said Bell. “I think it’s as beautiful as in this film, happily ever after, it can look different to each person.”

The story of “Godmothered” stemmed from writer Kari Granlund’s love of “the little old ladies who are just these main conquerors” who only appear in fairy tales.

“I thought it would be funny if you had a world full of women like that and then you have a young character who exaggerates and says, ‘I’m ready to go! Make me the coach of the game, ‘”Granlund said. “And then she goes out into the real world and fish out of water. It’s more than he bargained for. ”

Eleanor’s enthusiasm and misfortunes are of course part of the film’s charm. But her relationship with Mackenzie Walsh, the local television news producer and Fisher’s mother of two, is at the forefront.

“I really liked the idea of ​​playing this single mother who was struggling to overcome the grief of losing her husband and trying to control life,” said Fisher. “It was just kind of a refreshing opportunity to play the ‘straight man.’”

Willa Skye, Jillian Shea Spaeder, Jillian Bell and Isla Fisher near gazebo

Willa Skye, left, Jillian Shea Spaeder, Jillian Bell and Isla Fisher in “Godmothered.”

(KC Bailey / Disney +)

Eleanor and Mackenzie are more than just a classic buddy comedy pair. Their different outlook also affects how they interact with the Mackenzie children, which reflects the complexities of parenting itself.

“You have in the motherfucker, someone who is always like, ‘You can do it’ and believes in the best possible outcome despite all the evidence to the contrary,” said Melissa Stark, all -wrote the script. But “sometimes, as a mother really, you have those moments with your kids where you want to encourage them – tell them they belong on Broadway, or whatever – but you don’t want to see them they are also hurt by a world that may not agree with your maternal enthusiasm. I thought there was a really interesting tension there between the two characters. ”

Through Mackenzie, the film also touches on other topical themes such as the state of local news and troubles with stunned media.

For Fisher, “Godmothered” was an opportunity to be in a family-friendly (“for once”) film and appreciated its modern twist.

“I think fairy tales often romanticize the distressed maid unconsciously,” said Fisher. “They often portray women as justifying each other, or competing to be the most beautiful. That’s an old-fashioned ideology. You don’t need a castle and a prince or dogs to be happy. ”

It’s a message that becomes clear towards the end of the film as Eleanor comes to understand that love and happiness come in many different forms.

For Granlund, who grew up watching fairy tale movies and Disney movies, the goal was to craft a story that could “personally redefine the idea of ​​true love and happy endings to our world today”.

“I was a little boy [so] I always identified more with the cool things that Peter Pan or Aladdin had to do and not necessarily with their female counterparts, ”says Granlund. “So it felt like [the formula] they needed to be modernized and expanded to show young women, and even women my age now, that the happy ending doesn’t always have to mean Prince Charming. Life is not always that simple and we can find our happiness in many different ways. “

Isla Fisher and Willa Skye share a hug

Isla Fisher embraces Willa Skye in “Godmothered.”

(Disney +)

It is a revolutionary idea compared to the narrow vision of happiness that fairy tales have traditionally offered, but it is fully in line with what fairy mothers have always represented.

As she researched fairy tales in preparation for her rewrite, Stack saw how fairytale mothers appeared in stories “to give you enough support to become the best version of yourself.”

“It’s not about changing the person or making them anything other than what they are, it’s about helping them see that they are already enough,” said Stack. “If we can open our eyes to what is already great, it becomes much easier to find your own fairy tale.”

Despite its magical themes, “Godmothered” could not escape the reality of 2020 and production was forced to close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic before the shooting was completed.

But “we found a clever way of working in animation,” said Maguire, who had never worked in the medium before. “Eleanor had always wanted to be in a fairy tale so she finally got her wish. We worked it that way.… That was a real journey, to do a 2-D animation for Disney. ”

Bell said she was “freaked out” when she saw herself as an animated character and added that “one of my favorite things was in the animation at the end.”

The scene features a group of young trainee fairytales and further recognition of how everyone deserves their own happy name by showing that a non-binary child is among the new class .

“That, to me, was huge and very inclusive and I was so pleased to be there,” said Bell, who also believes the young trainee can be seen as a boy. “To some small child who could mean the world, and to me that’s everything.”

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