By Mr. Will Wong
One of this Holiday’s most pleasant surprises comes from the same Director as Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones’s Baby, Sharon Maguire. GODMOTHERED centers on Eleanor (Jillian Bell), a Fairy Godmother-in-training who fears that her job will become extinct, setting-out to prove that the world still needs Fairy Godmothers. She finds a letter from a 10 year-old-girl named Mackenzie (Isla Fisher), who now happens to be a 40-year-old single mother who has been down on her luck at her job at a news station and also having lost her husband. Can Eleanor prove that a “happily ever after” exists in this world when Mackenzie has lost the faith and also doesn’t want Eleanor meddling in her life? GODMOTHERED also stars Santiago Cabrera, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Jane Curtin, June Squibb, Jillian Shea Spaeder, Willa Skye, Artemis Pebdani, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Stephnie Weir.
We had the joy of chatting with the Cast of GODMOTHERED in a virtual press conference featuring Bell, Fisher, Curtin, Spaeder, Skye, Pebdani, Ambudkar and Cabrera.
At the center of GODMOTHERED is a message of hope, challenging us to expand our idea of love and the “happily ever after”. The Cast is asked about the importance of this today.
Fisher: “For younger girls watching, happily ever after doesn’t have to include a castle, a prince and a dress. It can be things you have in your life, your work.”.
Curtin: “I think it represents the world today and that it’s not 1860 anymore. Happily ever after is what you want, what you believe and it’s a goal that you can achieve on your own if you want it and you believe that you can get it. It’s not reliant on magic. It’s reliant on you and your spirit. We are capable of such amazing and positive things for ourselves and others.”.
The Film hints at a message of inclusion, challenging the gender norms of a Fairy Godmother, particularly in an animated sequence at the end.
Bell: “I teared-up and actually got to see a one-sheet of all the Fairy Godmothers. I wrote back and and asked ‘Is that a boy or non-binary person?’. Either way I’m excited. This is progressive and inclusive and will make someone feel seen. And if we can do that in a big Disney movie, that’s a beautiful thing.”.
Santiago Cabrera plays Hugh, a co-worker of Mackenzie‘s and also a potential love interest. He normally plays more serious roles with a body of work that includes Heroes, Big Little Lies, Dexter and Merlin. He’s asked why he chose this more light-hearted role.
Cabrera: “I loved it wasn’t your typical prince. It was like Prince Charming in quotes, the underdog. I loved the part where he was the guy who wanted to be a serious journalist who wanted to report on important stories and news but was last in the ratings. Instead, he’s on a sensationalist morning show being abused by his boss and that kind of stuff. It had a lot of fun elements to it. You always want to change things up – opportunities come to do something different, go for it!”.
We asked the Cast about the experience of working with Sharon Maguire who manages to sprinkle some of that heartfeltness and whimsicality we saw in the Bridget Jones films, also in GODMOTHERED.
Curtin: “I’d never worked with Sharon before and I had a lovely time working with her. She’s very exact and she likes to do many takes, but she gets interesting things out of people. I thought it was fun working with Sharon.”.
Spaeder: “It was cool working with a female Director!”.
Bell: “I was such a fan of Bridget Jones and I was so excited to work with her. One of the first things she did was which I loved was get Isla and I together alone – and this is going to sound creepy (Fisher laughs) – in a hotel room. We got together and just started improvising, playing around and that set the tone for Isla and I to be playful with each other and go in knowing each other because I already knew Utkarsh because we’ve now done two movies together, but I didn’t know Isla or anyone else. But that was really nice. I really appreciated that.”.
Fisher despite having had much experience in her catalog of work, admits that she still feels some insecurities going to set.
Fisher: “It’s nerve-wrecking. I feel like everyone’s gonna realize I’m miscast. I sometimes show up with an idea and it gets thrown out the window. It’s like being new at school. You just want to do a really good job and try your best. You also have a lot of new people to meet and names to forget.”.
The Film is set in Boston, known affectionately as “Beantown“, which was a homecoming of sorts for Curtin.
Curtin: “I grew-up there. It was like going home. I loved riding to work every morning with those guys. It was like being home.”.
We also casually mentioned that our new puppy’s name is beanie, fitting since the Film is set in Beantown and there were plenty of smiles to be had!
The Cast is asked what wishes they’d want a Fairy Godmother to grant them right now.
Curtin: “I’d love for us to have a vaccine and go back to normal living. Or should we answer in fun ways?”.
Bell: “I want to be able to hug these lovely people. Isla was talking about getting all together and having a Cast party. We wrapped a couple days earlier that we were supposed to and never got to do that!”
One scene-stealer in the Movie is Gary the magical raccoon. Spaeder and Skye whom play Mackenzie‘s daughters Jane and Mia respectively, are asked what they would ask him to do if they had him in real life. Ambudkar, who plays Mackenzie’s boss also gets asked the question.
Skye: “I’d get him to make me a Smore because that’s my favourite dessert. He would clean my room for me defintely. And do my homework.”.
Spaeder: “I’d have him do my laundry. I’m 18 and I’m gonna pass myself off as an adult and do my own laundry but here I am passing it off to a magical raccoon.”.
Ambudkar: “Oh yeah, just started feeding our son solids so it’s harrowing. I know this is a Disney movie, but if you want to watch a Horror movie, just come to my house at 3 AM every night. I have a screaming banshee of a son who’s dropping bombs. Gary if you’re listening, help me out. I’m sleep-deprived!”.
Another scene-stealer in GODMOTHERED is the adorable pig whom we believe Eleanor had turned the family dog into.
Fisher: “It would go over the top of our dialogue. A screaming pig ruining our lines, right Jillian?”
Skye: “She had one temper tantrum in the middle of the scene!”.
Bell: “I feel like she had a different Script than the rest of us. She had different cues and exits.”.
Spaeder: “They’d yell ‘action!’ and she’d squeal until they yelled ‘cut!'”.
Watch the entire Press Conference here:
GODMOTHERED arrives on Disney+ Friday, December 4, 2020.
(Photo/video credit: Disney)
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