Behind the Scenes with Patrick Dempsey and Enchanted
- Monday, November 19, 2007
One of the difficult things with your part is that you were responsible for making the audience accept this crazy, animated princess in real life, to the point where you could believe that someone would fall in love with her in the real world. How difficult was it for you to make the transition from, “I’m meeting this nutcase who is knocking on the door of a billboard” into falling in love with her?
It was a real challenge. From day one, I was thrown off. How do you make this believable? How do you react to it honestly? I would go home and be completely depressed because, ‘Am I making this movie work?’ I was like, ‘Please just get me back to Grey’s Anatomy and let me fight with Meredith. I never felt completely comfortable or solid in the role. It always made me feel completely unstable and completely insecure. Amy had her issues, and we would talk to each other and walk each other through these things. You know, when the birds come in. Is it big enough? Or is it too big? It was trying to keep his pain and keep the honesty of that situation, as well as allowing yourself to get caught up in the magic of her, and to find those moments.
Was there a transition moment?
I think the restaurant is the transition moment, when she touches his chest and he goes in and sits down. That’s when he falls in love with her.
What do you think about all the references to Disney films?
It’s a love letter to all things Disney, and I think that the fact that Disney makes fun of itself is great to see. I think it also changes the myth of the princess story. If you look at it strictly from the male and female energy, the female saves the masculine energy, which I think is a great thing. It’s nice to see movies working on that level.
What do you mean?
Well she goes off with his sword and saves him and catches him. The heart saves the masculine. A woman’s identity used to be that she got married, she settled down and she had kids. That’s no longer true in modern society. You have a career, you get married and then you have kids. How do you find the balance between being a good mother, a good businesswoman and a good wife? I mean, it’s much more complicated now. That was what was most interesting to me. And certainly, having a daughter. It changes the whole dynamic of what a princess is anymore.
What are some of your favorite Disney fairy tales?
It’s funny. My daughter went through a period of nothing but Peter Pan—every night. Then it was Beauty and the Beast. You go through all of them and you watch them all. And you know, I’m amazed at how dark these movies really are. I mean, they’re violent! You have to fast-forward or talk her through it. So I make sure I’m with her. I experience the movie with her in order to give her a sense of what the story is about and why it’s there. It’s interesting. I like them all. I like Thumper in Bambi, although Bambi is tragic beyond belief. Wasn’t it voted one of the top ten saddest movies of all time? So you kind of have to be careful with the Disney movies!
Did your daughter want to be in this movie?
No, no, no. And I wouldn’t. No! I hope that doesn’t happen. You can start to see it, though. I look and my wife and I go, “Oh, God. Here we go.” No. I don’t really like children in movies. I think it’s a bad place to grow up. So I had my issues with that.
Do you think that there’s something about the time that we’re in right now that will make people more receptive to the movie?
I think so. I don’t want to go see a dark movie right now. I don’t think I’d go and see any of the movies that were released this weekend. I think we’re too close to be talking about Iraq. Those scars have not been healed, and I don’t think people are going to really listen. We’re not going to change anything right now. I think we can through a comedy. I think we’re going to reach more people that way, at the moment. It’s almost like the Depression is upon us, or it’s the 1930s or the middle of the war. You want to see screwball comedies or musical numbers. You want to see things that are going to make you escape reality for an hour and a half.
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