Last month I was provided with travel and accommodations from Disney and Marvel to attend the screening of Ant-Man, Disney’s Descendants, and visit the sets of several Disney Channel/XD shows. It is driving my daughter bananas that I was able to visit Disney Studios and watch Disney’s Descendants more than a month before it’s premier next Friday. She is constantly asking me questions and trying to squeeze bits and pieces of information from me. I gave her one spoiler when I told her I love the movie because nobody kisses in the entire film. This was a spoiler because there are several occasions that the “moment” is there, but a kiss doesn’t happen. Not even once! (As a mom with teens and teens – that is awesome. Thank you Disney)
Descendants is the classic good vs. evil film and it even spins our favorite classic characters into the mix. Imagine if all Disney’s villains had children of their own, what would they be like? Are they automatically evil because they are raised by evil? Can goodness reside inside of the heart of a child who is raised to be anything but good?
Maleficent is the cruelest of the cruel and in Disney’s film Descendants she has a daughter – Mal (Dove Cameron). Mal is the girl that her classmates and friends are terrified of. She is Maleficent’s daughter, after all, and all she wants is to please her mother. When she is sent to Auradon with three other villian children (Booboo Stewart, Cameron Boyce and Sofia Carson), they are shown something they have never seen before. They are shown good, and being good, is good. The Isle of the Lost has taught them that being good is bad – very bad! Their parents would curse an entire village if they saw how good they were while they are in Auradon. This is where the conflict resides. The conflict of the movie is, are they really good? Or are they great at pretending to be good?
After screening Descendants, we had the opportunity to ask the Director, Kenny Ortega, all the questions we wanted. He was very welcoming and open to discussion. After speaking with him, I have Kenny Ortega positive affirmations written on mirrors and windows around my house. He was INSPIRING. I love speaking with inspiring people like him because these are the people who give you what you need to keep at it, to fight the good fight, and stay going! Phrases like:
“There needs to be a reason at the center of your
ideas that motivates all of your work”
“Not everyone is blessed in this world to be given choices
but those of us that are given choices,
those choices can determine who we become,
what are destiny is.”
~ Kenny Ortega
I believe what fascinates us, as adults, is how someone like Kenny Ortega makes his decisions and how he chooses to take on a project. Ortega has been involved in performing arts professionally since he was thirteen years old. His fifty-one years of experience has given him an impressive resume and the blessing of making his own choices. He appears to have no boundary as his projects range from movies/film, television, to concert Director and Choreographer for stars like Michael Jackson and Gloria Estefan. During our interview he told us what it is that motivates him to take a new project and what he looks for when reading a script for the first time:
I’m always looking when I’m read a script or when I’m pitched an idea for those things that live in the center of the big picture that move me, that motivate me, that excited me and they give me purpose and reason to get up and go to work every day and to have ideas. When music and dance become part of the storytelling it’s fairly simple for me; when you can turn a page and there’s a reason for it to exist, part of my work is already accomplished. The writer has the characters go from here, to here, and this is what happens in between. Now you wanna develop a musical number that helps you achieve that, and that not only goes for the lyrics, but the feel of the music, the style of the music, and how the staging or choreography would be designed.
Take a sneak peek at Descendants with this 6 MINUTE
visit to Auradon and the Isle of the Lost!
Kenny Ortega, the director who brought you High School Musical, introduces the first 6 minutes of the Disney Channel Original Movie, Descendants. Prince Ben, son of Beast and Belle, declares that he will offer a chance at redemption to Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay, the teenage sons and daughters of Disney’s most infamous villains — Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Cruella de Vil and Jafar. But are these villainous descendants rotten to the core? Watch the first 6 minutes now and then tune in to Disney Channel on Friday, July 31 at 8p to find out!
“Rotten to the Core”
Not surprising, “Rotten to the Core” is Kenny Ortega’s favorite song from Disney’s Descendants. My daughter has watched the six minute clip that includes this performance more than ten times since it was released yesterday. It has sparked several conversations with her and I. I have been amazed at how much detail Ortega included into this song. The entire three minutes tells a story and my daughter caught it very quickly. There are things she noticed from the clip (above) that I had not noticed during our screening.
Rotten to the Core and I’ll tell you why. I started it as, as an actor at 13 years old and I was lucky enough to be in the original London touring production of Oliver and when I first read the script and started to imagine the world I thought of the Island of Loss, a bit of Dickens and a little kind of old, you know, old London town under the bridge, that darker underworld and I always loved the idea of being able to take Rotten to the Core, use it as character introduction and also to introduce us a bit to the island, what this place is.
We found in a few of our screenings with young people, that when we asked if you would prefer to visit the Isle of Lost or if you would prefer to visit Auradon where would you like to visit?
The first kid raised his hand and said would “we be able to leave when we wanted to?”
And I said, “of course.”
And he said “the Isle of the Lost”
We made it a fascinating and interesting world and that particular number was just lots and lots of fun to create as a choreographer and to imagine as a designer.
Descendants Features Your Child’s Favorite Stars!
Disney’s Descendants features two of your child’s favorite Disney Channel/XD stars: Dove Cameron, from Liv & Maddie, and Cameron Boyce, from Jessie and a Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything. The pair joined the rest of the cast for a fantastic film! I really enjoyed it and I look forward to watching it again with my daughter on Disney Channel, Friday, July 31st, at 8 pm!
“Filming “Descendants” was some of the most fun that I’ve had in my entire life. It was the most incredible and magical cast and crew. Kenny Ortega is a genius. All of my costars are absolutely talented and magnificent, and everybody was handpicked so specifically. They’re all my heroes, and I really hope that we get to work more together.” -Dove Cameron – Mal, Disney’s “Descendants”
“The experience was amazing. We worked with Kenny Ortega, and Vancouver, Canada is beautiful. We had a really great time, the cast was really close. We spent a lot of time together just hanging out, and we were a really tight knit group.” -Cameron Boyce – Carlos, Disney’s “Descendants”
Descendants Premiers on Disney Channel
on Friday, July 31 at 8p
Get the inside scoop on Auradon!