I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t ecstatic about interviewing the cast of Disney Descendants 2. I could probably sing every song and try to dance every choreography. Not only because my girls have loved Descendants since their premiere on the Disney Channel on July 2015, but because the movie is so much fun to watch! Okay, fine, I confess! It brings me back to my childhood as a dancer and choir singer, so it’s right up my alley! Check out my 6 Reasons To Watch Descendants 2 On Disney Channel this Friday, July 21st, plus Exclusive Cast Interviews!
Thank you, Disney, for the press invitation to interview the cast of Descendants 2. All wicked opinions are my own.
6 Reasons To Watch Descendants 2 On Disney Channel + Exclusive Cast Interviews
If you are a fan of the original Disney Descendants movie, then there is no way that you can miss Descendants 2. Not only will the music and the dances be even better, but the fantastic addition to the cast is superb!
Descendant 2 will premiere Friday, July 21st on:
ABC at 8 PM
Disney Channel at 8 PM
Disney XD at 8 PM
Lifetime at 8 PM
Disney Channel at 10:30 PM
Dance Choreography That Will Make You Get Up And Dance
We had the pleasure to be one of the first ones to watch some of the music videos for Descendants 2 with the legend himself Kenny Ortega. I will admit that we didn’t know they would be sitting with us so I giddily found a seat right up front then learned that he would be joining us. My first reaction was, “what if I don’t like it and he can tell?”. Who was I kidding? How can you not love anything that he does It took all of my will power not to get up and dance! Not even kidding!
Music That Will Have You Singing For Days
A very well put together dance choreography is only as good as the music that it’s dance too and it wasn’t a disappointment at all! I will go as far to say that I love the music even more of Descendants 2 and again will admit that my girls and I already know all the lyrics to “Wicked” and “What’s My Name.” They are that catchy and up beat.
The Cast Is All Back With Some New Additions
Your favorite Villain Descendants Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos, are back! Along, with Aurodon Prep students King Ben, Lonnie, Jane, and Chad Charming. Plus, I can’t wait to see the new characters throughout the entire movie! We had a chance to see a few clips and movie videos highlighting some of the new characters but didn’t get a chance to see them fully in their new roles with the other Descendants!
New characters in Descendants 2 include Uma (Ursula’s daughter), Gil (Gaston’s Son), Harry (Captain Hook’s Son), and Dizzy (Drizella Tremaine’s Daughter). We love our original villain cast, but I think that these three are going to help step it up a notch! I especially cannot wait to see Uma’s character!
Uma Is Wickedly Bad In A Good Way
As a mentioned above, I can’t wait to see China, who portrays “Uma” Ursula’s daughter in the new Descendants 2 movie. There is just something about the character that left me wanting more after I watched the Descendants 2 clips in LA. China has an amazing voice and man, can that girl dance!
Costumes That Will Have Halloween Day Filled With Mini Descendants
The costumes for the Descendants 2 movie are unreal! The details and precision that went into creating every the characters costume are seriously beyond imagination. Costume designer Kara Saun put into account everything that each character needed to portray, how they would move, and of course how they should look.
Remember all the Ana and Elsa’s we had? Well, you better believe that this Halloween the streets will be filled with all things Descendants 2! Including my youngest daughter!
Children Merchandise Perfect For Back To School
I don’t know about your kids, but my girls are all about the merchandise when a new Disney movie is about to hit either theaters or the television. They have already been eyeing every single store that we visit and have come out with more than their share of Descendants 2 merchandise! Just don’t tell daddy!
From clothing, backpacks, and lunch boxes perfect for back to school. The Descendants 2 merchandise is wickedly cool! This time the brand is launching jewelry, headphones, notebooks, and of course the character dolls.
Now that you know why you must watch Descendants 2 on Disney Channel on Friday, July 19th at 8 pm EST, let us get going with the Descendants 2 Exclusive Interviews! I decided to do the interviews in the same order that we interviewed them.
Exclusive Interview with “Carlos” Cameron Boyce
Of all the dance sequences that you guys had to do, which one was the hardest and longest for you guys to film?
I would say the finale probably. There were a lot of variables that we had to take into account. That probably [took] over four or five really long days. It was intense because there were some elements we added that made it a little difficult and that were not a part of our rehearsal. It was challenging, but we got through it and it looks amazing. The finale is probably my favorite number.
Did you have any dance training prior to this?
Yeah, I [have been] a dancer since I was in preschool. I danced ever since I was six. Then I started acting but obviously doing this movie is the most fun for me because not only do I get to act, which is amazing, I get to dance too. It’s like the best of both worlds for me.
What do you hope to see come out for your character’s role?
People are really excited to see what happens with these kids [in the second movie]. When we left them, they had just left this horrible, desolate place to go somewhere that’s a beautiful new world, and they’re still getting used to it at the end of the first movie. The world in Auradon is really important, and then some other stuff happens where we have to return to our roots. That is hard for us too because we’re getting used to this newer place and we’re still fighting with that. That doesn’t stop, for Carlos specifically. In the first movie, he was like the younger brother, a little bit of the comic relief. Carlos was just the guy who was not really helpful to the group and they were sort of dragging him along. In the second movie he finds out that he can bring something to the table for the team, and it’s different than everybody else. Obviously, Jay’s the muscle and Mal is the brains. Carlos figures out that he’s a sensitive guy. He realizes that he can use that [sensitivity] to bring the whole group together and it’s pretty cool.
What do you have in common with Carlos?
We are similar in our ages. I think Carlos is the youngest and I’m obviously the youngest. So [we both look up to our older siblings and we have that in common. And Carlos is a sassy little guy. He’s smart, and he’s quick on his feet. I don’t know if I’m as quick as Carlos, but I would say that’s something we have in common too.
What kind of issues is Carlos facing in this film that children can relate to?
There are a lot honestly. There are a lot of different morals in the story in the first movie too. Specifically for Carlos, I think one of the main things that we focus on in this franchise is self-worth and really making sure that you feel like you belong, whether you actually do or not because everyone belongs, but maybe you don’t feel that way. Maybe the physical, or whatever it is, is different. Carlos is the youngest, and I don’t want to say the weirdest, but he is afraid of little dogs, and there are some things about him that are [different]. But he definitely finds himself in the second movie, and he goes through regular kid things. He goes through girl troubles. He figures all that stuff out eventually, and he reaches out for help, which is important. He’s a little bit lost and flustered and confused and has feelings that he has never had before. Instead of keeping it to himself, he’ll say, “Jay, how I do this?” or “Mal, help me out a little.” I feel like that’s important to have a dialogue with people that you care about.
Exclusive Interview with “Mal” Dove Cameron
Q: So, what was it like getting back into the role of Mal? What was different from the first movie?
Dove: Everything that Mal was in the first one, we all are as a team, because a movie is such a collective experience. Kenny, the writers, and myself all through strict notions of Mal’s character out the window because she, as a human does, goes through life changes and experiences. She never had anyone growing up, and she couldn’t ever really find her footing with the one person that she did have to rely on her mother, Maleficent. So she learned to rely on herself.
In the second movie when we pick back up, she now knows what it feels like to be authentically loved and to have a space held for her to be supported. Just like any other human, you gravitate towards whatever you’re used to, and so she has no idea how to deal with that. It’s almost impacting her negatively, because she’s thinking, “Oh, I only know how to build up my walls. I don’t even know how to function without my walls.” Now she has to start over and find what is her authentic identity for the first time in her life. Throughout the movie, she goes through a lot of incarnations of what she thinks Mal is and doesn’t really find herself until the end. That was a weird experience for me as an actress, to feel like I knew the character really well, and then to lose her as she’s losing herself, and then to find her as she finds herself.
Is there anything that you brought from your own self into the film to help you with the changes, and dealing with that? Did anything from your personal life help you with the stuff that Mal was going through in finding herself?
As an actor, I do that as much as I can in every role, but Mal is my ride or die. I fell in love with her when I read the “Descendants” script back in 2013. Disney Channel didn’t tell me anything. They didn’t say, “We’re going to set up an audition.” It was more like, “Will you read this and tell us what you think?” I had an emotional, visceral response. I said, “She’s my girl!” because I related to her so much. Even though all of the characters and Mal are in fantastical circumstances, their experiences are very relatable. A lot of people – a lot of kids and a lot of adults who were once kids – don’t always have an easy home situation. They don’t always have all the support that they deserve. I think all of us in this room can relate to feeling like we lacked something there that we now have to deal with as we’ve gotten older. That was something that I had such a lovely time with, for myself psychologically and also as an actor, to inject pain into an experience that we all share.
This is a movie for children, and so we have to ride that line between communicating really helpful and relatable messages but still keeping it light. That was challenging and interesting for me, and I did bring a lot of things I felt like I lacked from my own childhood. It definitely helped keep Mal real. It also helped me as a human to explore somebody else’s issues and to fix my own at the same time.
What would you want kids to walk away with, the number one message after seeing this movie?
What’s beautiful about having such a broad cast of characters is that we all have our really unique storylines. One of my favorite storylines actually isn’t my own, it’s Lonnie’s, and you’ll see that when the movie comes. She has this beautiful, empowering message for girls that gets me every time I see the movie. I want to say, “Yes! Lonnie!”
In terms of the whole movie, there’s a beautiful synergy between the fact that the whole cast has been having this year long love affair with each other. We’re so there for each other in a sibling-like, familial way and it translates to the film. It projects a message of togetherness, of banding together, of supporting people that you love. That sounds like such a simple concept, but when you’re absorbing things as a kid, separatism is such a thing. We’re encouraged to be our own island. Especially with things like social media, we all have our own brand and image, and that’s what’s taught. I think that it’s so beautiful to rely on and trust people. If you hand someone your whole heart, they’re much more delicate with it. So I do believe in trusting the world around you, and I do believe in kids learning to rely on each other and their surroundings and the world in general. It’s just a really empowering story. There’s not one character that doesn’t go through some weird arc where they’re much more fully formed and healthy. So the overarching messages would be the importance of help, togetherness, support, and trust.
There were parts of the movie that I didn’t realize were CGI, like the pirate ship. I was totally invested in the fact that you were all in water, and they said, “Oh, there was no water there.” How were those moments? How was working with that? Because it was such a bigger and grander set this time around, right?
Intoxicating. Because there wasn’t water, but when I watch it back, I think “Was there water?” It was amazing. While we did not have water, the ship was real. I have no idea how the set decorators did it. Our set decorators turned out for this one. I remember seeing the concept and thinking, “There’s no way it’s going to look like that.” And they outdid themselves. Being on the actual set was safe, but it didn’t look safe. And we were all sword fighting. Nobody would ever notice, but I’m a pipsqueak. I’m so tall, and in the film, I am wearing shoes that are one inch short of being stilts. My shoes are this big, and I’m sword fighting in them. There are stairs and wood and railings, and everybody’s different. It helped me so much because it’s so fun being physical. As an actor, it’s exactly what you want. You want to feel lost in it. It’s like opening up your favorite book and then being able to jump into it. People are saying, “Oh, be careful.” You’re thinking, “I know. Let me do my thing.” So yeah, it was an amazing thing. It definitely helps. All of the sets were real minus things like the water and some special effects.
Exclusive Interview with “Evie” Sophia Carson
How was it to film the second “Descendants”?
It was surreal. The first “Descendants” was my first movie. It changed my life, and I fell in love with Evie and loved being able to tell her story. We’ve become such a family. Working with Kenny and everyone is always a dream, so when we found out the sequel was green lit, we were beyond thrilled. It was surreal to return to the characters and tell their stories and see how they’ve evolved. The movie is just so much bigger in scope. It’s so epic and beautiful, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.
Will we see more of Evie’s villainous side in the film?
You’ll see a different side of Evie because in the first film, when we met her, Evie was very much her mother’s daughter. She was very consumed in what she looked like, and she was sadly willing to believe that her reflection in the mirror is what defined her as a person. At the end of the movie, she realized that as girls, [our looks do not] define us. That doesn’t make us more important or beautiful or special. It’s who we are in our hearts and to be the fairest of them all is to be fair inside. In the second movie, Evie has really grown into herself. She is strong and independent. She’s smart. She’s a fashion designer. She has made her dream come true without a prince, and she’s become a leader. At the same time, her best friend Mal, who is like her sister, is lost and really confused. Their relationship is really beautiful and important, and it’s a story of girl power, which I love.
Do we see the relationship between Evie and Doug evolve?
Yeah, you’re going to be really happy [with their relationship] in this movie. They’re business partners. Doug, who’s really good with numbers, is helping her organize the business side and the financials of it all. At the same time, they’re together, and Evie’s so happy because Doug loves her just the way she is. She loves him for who he is, and it’s a really beautiful, sweet relationship, and he just adores her. He sees her, and it’s the sweetest thing. He’s also the coolest guy.
They have some really, really sweet moments.
What is it like for you when you see fans wearing Evie-inspired costumes?
There is no feeling in the world that compares to it. I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world with this film and to do press for it. No matter what country I go to, what city I go to, there’s a little girl dressed up as Evie. Whether she’s speaking Spanish or French or Portuguese, it’s so impactful to see how far this movie has traveled and how many lives, how many little girls it can impact. I’ve had a really beautiful experience. I like to go to the Children’s Hospital as much as I can. My sister and I went to the hospital for Halloween and I was dressed as Evie. I met a young girl was suffering from sickle cell anemia, and she spoke to me about Evie in ways that I never even knew and in dimensions that I had never even [considered.] Hearing what Evie taught her and how she felt connected to Evie was the most incredible experience, and I think this is why we’re so lucky to do what we do. Yes, I get to dress up every day and sing and dance, but to be able to tell stories and have them impact young girls like that, that’s why I feel so lucky to do what I do.
What is the message that you want young women to take from you?
Growing up, I was [a typical] daughter. I was obsessed with Beyonce, J-Lo, Lizzie McGuire, all these incredible female role models. I grew up with really incredible, strong women as my mother and grandmother, so strong female women, were always an inspiration to me. I thought, “If I’m ever lucky enough to be able to do what I love, I want to be that inspiration for other little girls in everything that I do, everything that I say, every role that I take on, and every song that I release. It’s very close to my heart to make sure everything I do has an empowering message for the 16-year-old daughter out there who I know is looking at me and who my actions could impact in some way. I just want them to know Evie’s message, which is: as girls, we can do anything and be anything, and no one should stop us. I want them to know that the most important thing in the world is to be beautiful, but that beauty comes from our hearts.
Exclusive Interview with “Uma” China McClain
What was it like to join the cast of “Descendants?”
CHINA: Joining the cast of “Descendants” was surreal for me. It was an honor because everyone loved the first film and I was a fan of the first film. I thought it was beautifully put together. And Kenny Ortega is just great. I really wanted to work on it so when I got the call saying I got the role, I said, “Yes!”
How did you feel about being Ursula’s daughter?
She is one of my favorite movie villains ever. She has so much attitude. In preparation, I watched “The Little Mermaid” about 20 times before I went to Vancouver to shoot. I was looking at her mannerisms, how she talked and everything that she said, and that helped me a lot on set.
Your hair is so cool in this movie. Was it a wig?
They braided the perimeter of my head in the back, and the rest of it was a wig. They braided all of this with teal extensions, and I walked around for the length of shooting with these braids. It was really cool, and it was quick every day. You would think it would take a really long time, but they just slipped the wig on and put the hat on.
Kenny said you celebrated a milestone birthday while filming.
I sure did. I turned 18 on that set.
What was it like working in those awesome, crazy costumes?
It was difficult working in the costumes because I had a skirt and heels on, not to mention the heavy braids and the leather jacket I could barely move my arms in. I had to do a dance number in all of that, and part of the process is just getting adjusted to the costume. We did three weeks of rehearsing before we started shooting, and part of the rehearsal was with the wig on. I thought, “I’m going to wear this so I can get used to doing the dance numbers in it.” So, after I got adjusted to it, it was pretty much easy as cake.
What was the biggest challenge playing her?
I think the biggest challenge playing Uma was probably making her relatable and trying to make her likable because you can’t mess with the VKs. The fans love the VKs, and I see why because in the first film they are really, really good and they connected with a lot of kids. So, just making kids not dislike her and helping them to understand her was probably the biggest challenge.
What was it like working with the legendary director choreographer Kenny Ortega?
Kenny is a genius. I can call him that because he really is. He’s worked with everyone. He’s so patient, and he doesn’t settle for anything less than your best. He’ll push you until you’re really giving it your best and going all the way there, and that’s what you want in a director. You want somebody that knows what they want and knows how to get it out of people. That’s exactly who he is. He’s a genius.
How much of yourself do you feel you put into the character?
Am I portraying anything? Well, like I said earlier, just having that wicked side of her come out. I got to really unleash that anger, and I didn’t have to say I was sorry for it. Just doing that was cool and really fun, so that wild side of me was in this character for sure. Also, just the dancing and the singing was a part of me. I was expressing Uma first, but I got to express myself through that because I love to sing and I love to dance. Being in the studio and being in rehearsals was just really fun for me. It was a cool way to let myself shine through.
Exclusive Interview with “Jay” Booboo Stewart
So what is it like to be back on set doing the second “Descendants” film?
It’s really nice going into the second movie with the first one doing as well as it did. But this movie stands alone. It’s its own thing. So it feels great that we’re making a second movie.
Comparing “Descendants 2” to the first movie, how was the difficulty level? Did you find that you had to prepare yourself more?
Physically, this movie was more demanding. The first movie was more of a mental challenge because, in the first “Descendants”, I didn’t know what to expect. So that’s why the second movie was more physically demanding than mentally challenging. On the first movie, it felt like, “Wow! This is really rehearsing here!” And then, in the second one, I went into it knowing we were going to be rehearsing, but it was even more challenging. So it’s very physically demanding, but the preparation was nice. You know who your character is when you’re going into it. There’s a little bit of a change because they’ve matured from the first movie. So, the mental preparation was there, but I didn’t expect the intensity of the physical challenges.
There are a lot of lessons in this movie. What do you feel like was your favorite lesson that the audience sees?
For Jay, specifically it’s the ability to change. There’s a really nice, subtle storyline that he has with the character, Lonnie. He’s the captain of the Swords & Shields fencing team, and it’s in the rule book that it’s a guy sport. Lonnie shows up and pushes him to let her be on the team. As far as rules go, Jay has to decide between sticking to tradition or breaking the rules and being kicked off the team and losing his title. So he has to accept change, and in his decision, there is a nice storyline.
That’s awesome. With that said, what would you like young boys to take away from your “Descendants” role?
I feel like this lesson is touched upon the first film, but even more so in this film. Young boys are very competitive, and they want to be the best. And Jay, in the first film, is a [typical] guy. He wants to be the best. Just having an open mind is such a different, rare thing for a young boy to have. So I’d like it to not even be a question that young people should have an open mind. It just should be how it is. Jay’s opening the door for the people to follow. I want to make sure young boys come out of it with more of an open mind.
Of all the musical numbers in the film, which one is your favorite?
I have to say “Chillin’ Like a Villain.” It’s just really great. We had a great time shooting it. I say that we had a great time because it was actually a disaster in the best ways possible. It was a beautiful disaster! We were filming outside, and it was not supposed to be a tsunami. Along with the wind and the rain, it was brutal, but you can’t tell when you’re watching it. I can’t help but smile watching, not just because of the song, but because of the energy that’s given to the performance.
In what ways are you like your character?
He’s very active physically, and I’m a very active person myself. I just got into climbing, and I do martial arts. Every other day, I’m training in martial arts. I like hiking and camping. But I know we are both very active.
This is one of those pop culture movies that has amassed such a fierce following. How do you handle that sort of attention? Because I sense that that’s not something that you’re really vying for.
I don’t know! From past films that I’ve done, I understand how to handle the attention. I’ve been in the industry from such a young age that I feel like I know how to handle it. I know who I am, so I try not to let that affect me, and I have friends and family who can tell me when it’s gotten to my head just a little bit. They’ll say, “Reality check here!” I think it’s really important to surround yourself with people who you know are your true friends. But you just have to engage and really know who your friends are; friends who will bring you down to that level where you can be down-to-earth. It’s really easy for fame to go to people’s heads, and I see it happening. I see people go up and up in popularity and when it’s over, when the attention isn’t there anymore, that’s when you have people fight. They go off the deep end, or they feel like they should be looked at a certain way. People forget about celebrities super fast. As quick as they love, they just as easily forget. So it’s very important to know that this is something that will not be around forever. Just enjoy the time that is here. I’m happy that I’m able to be part of it. But I know that I probably won’t get to be in “Descendants 10!”
About Descendants 2:
“Descendants 2” will premiere in an unprecedented, far-reaching programming event featuring a simultaneous premiere across five networks within the Disney|ABC Television Group including Disney Channel, ABC, Disney XD, Freeform and Lifetime on FRIDAY, JULY 21 (8:00 p.m. EDT).
In “Descendants 2,” the story deepens as the Villain Kids (AKA “VKs”) – Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay – continue to try to find their place in idyllic Auradon. When the pressure to be royal becomes too much for Mal, she returns to her rotten roots on the Isle of the Lost where her archenemy Uma, the daughter of Ursula, has taken her spot as self-proclaimed queen of the run-down town. Uma, still resentful over not being selected by Ben to go to Auradon Prep with the other Villain Kids, stirs her pirate gang including Captain Hook’s son Harry and Gaston’s son Gil, to break the barrier between the Isle of the Lost and Auradon, and unleash all the villains imprisoned on the Isle, once and for all.
Starring are Dove Cameron (“Liv and Maddie”), Cameron Boyce (“Jessie”), Sofia Carson (Hollywood Records recording artist, “Adventures in Babysitting”), Booboo Stewart (“X-Men Days of Future Past”), and Mitchell Hope reprising the roles of Mal, Carlos, Evie, Jay and King Ben, respectively. Starring as the new villains are China Anne McClain (“A.N.T. Farm”) as Uma, the daughter of Ursula; Thomas Doherty (“The Lodge”) as Harry, son of Captain Hook; Dylan Playfair (“Some Assembly Required”) as Gil, son of Gaston; and Anna Cathcart (“Odd Squad”) as Dizzy, daughter of Cinderella’s evil stepsister Drizella and granddaughter of wicked stepmother Lady Tremaine. Also reprising their roles in this sequel are Brenna D’Amico as Jane, the daughter of Fairy Godmother; Melanie Paxson as Fairy Godmother; Dianne Doan as Lonnie, the daughter of Mulan; Jedidiah Goodacre as Chad, the son of Cinderella; Zachary Gibson as Doug, the son of Dopey; Keegan Connor Tracy as Belle and Dan Payne as Beast.
Emmy Award-winning director Kenny Ortega (“Descendants,” “High School Musical” movies) is the director, executive producer and choreographer of “Descendants 2.” “Descendants” executive producer Wendy Japhet (“An Education”, “The Italian Job”) also serves as executive producer for the sequel. Writers Sara Parriott and Josann McGibbon (“The Starter Wife,” “Runaway Bride”), who won a 2016 Writers Guild Award for “Descendants,” wrote “Descendants 2” and also serve as executive producers. Kara Saun (“Descendants,” “Project Runway”) is the costume designer. The production designer is Mark Hofeling (“Descendants,” “Teen Beach Movie,” “High School Musical”). Tony Testa (“The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “This Is It”) is the choreographer with Ortega and Shawn Williamson (“Adventures in Babysitting”) is producer.
Make sure to come back to check out more exclusive interviews with director/choreographer Kenny Ortega, Sara Parriott and Josann McGibbon, Writer/Co-Producer, and costume designer Kara Saun.
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