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Julie Andrews Talks About "Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement"
And Childrens Books, Favorite Roles, and the Importance of Family

Julie Andrews and Chris Pine star in
"Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement."
Photo © Walt Disney Pictures
 Related Resources

• "Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement" Photos, Credits and Trailer
• Anne Hathaway Interviews, Movies and Photos

Julie Andrews joins her "Princess Diaries" co-stars for "Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement." Set five years after the end of the first "Princess Diaries," Andrews ('Queen Clarisse Renaldi') finds herself still guiding young Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway) as she struggles to handle the responsibility of being a member of Genovia's royal family.

The beloved star of such classic movies as "The Sound of Music" and "Mary Poppins," Andrews continues to captivate filmgoers. As the wise and loving Queen Clarisse in both "Princess Diaries" movies, a whole new generation of audiences has been treated to her warmth and charm onscreen.


What were your first thoughts when you heard there was going to be a sequel to “The Princess Diaries?”
I was actually rather pleased because we're family now. We all had such a good time on the first one. I knew that Garry [Marshall] was going to have a wonderful set. Working for him is heavenly, he's such a dear. And so it was really, “Oh good, we're going to have a fun time.” That's really what it was all about for me.

Did you feel very protective of this character?
I felt I knew her fairly well. By the second film, it was a little easier for all of us because we'd done some of that homework on the first film. This one was just refining and tweaking and seeing where the character would go. Not protective as much as curious to see what was going to happen next.

What aspects of this character do you identify with?
Probably things that a grandmother might identify with. Things like good manners (laughing), being polite, being courteous, wanting something very good for your grandchild. Not controlling, mostly wanting the best for your grandchildren, as you do.

What was your favorite scene in “Princess Diaries 2?”
Oh, I think you have to say probably the mattress scene. That was the silliest.

Did you do that yourself?
Yes, are you kidding? (Laughing) Look at the screen, that's me!

Graceful all the way.
Well, not all the way. I mean, I fell a lot of times and stumbled. I did what I could do. Standing up – that's very daunting.

You have a very regal bearing.
Oh, thank you. If I have any regal bearing, it's because I studied dance when I was very young. A lot of ballet, and I guess – I don't know what it is – probably that.

How do you choose roles?
They sometimes choose me. It depends. It could be the script, it could be the director. It's usually one or the other. But then quite often somebody will say, “I really think you should do this role.” In my career I've had my manager or my agent say, “This would be good to do.” And I've said, “I'm not sure.” “Yes, I think you should.” It really depends. These days it's more the director or the character, but in the early days it was anything that came along because I needed to work and I was learning. Scripts don't just land on your desk every day of the week.

Did you always say yes to projects your agent said you should do, even when you disagreed?
No, no, no. But if he felt it was a good piece for me… A film called “Hawaii” was a very good example. I had finished “The Sound of Music” and said, “I don't know if I'm right for that.” And he said, “No, I think this is going to be a good film. It's a wonderful director. I advise you to do it.” And it wasn't that he pushed or bullied, but he just thought for my career it would be good. And he was right.

When did you start having an interest in childrens books?
About 30 years ago I was playing a game with my eldest daughter, this is absolutely true, and we were playing a game where if we lost, we had to pay a forfeit. I lost and she said, "Okay." I said, "What will my forfeit be?" She said, "Write me a story." And I thought I would write two pages, just a little something silly, but fulfill my obligation. But I thought no, this was my stepdaughter – Blake's daughter – and she was a new stepdaughter, fairly new stepdaughter, and I thought maybe we could bond a little and I'd write her a story. So I began a story and two years later, I gave it to her and it was my first book in the 70s, the early 70s.

I so enjoyed the writing. And I took the name of Edwards because my husband was so helpful, not in the writing of it, but in the encouragement of it. He just kept saying, "It's great. Just keep doing it. Just keep the pages coming." And as I say, two years later she got the book.

How many children do you have?
Five, and seven grandchildren.

Are they in England?
No, no. They are scattered all over. Some are on the East Coast of America. Most of them are here in Los Angeles.

Are any of them involved in acting?
Yes, my eldest daughter is an actress, and a very good writer. And my son is a director and producer, and then my middle daughter is the one that runs the Bay Street Theatre in the Hamptons in Sag Harbor. And she also is the one that writes the books with me, the childrens books. Then my two little ones, who are not so little anymore, Amy and Jo – Amy is in retail and little Jo is looking for a job right now.

Of all the films that you've done, what would you consider your three most memorable roles? You've done all these good characters.
Believe it or not, I've not done so many. I've done about 20 maybe. Something like that. I really haven't counted. Well, they're memorable for different reasons. I really don't mean to hedge my bet, but you love one for the location, another because of the people you work with or the script. They are all memorable for different reasons.

I enjoyed very much making a little black and white film called “The Americanization of Emily.” I really enjoyed it because it was a wonderful screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky. And it was a big stretch for me. I enjoyed making a film with my husband called “That's Life!” with Jack Lemmon. But then I have to say I loved “The Sound of Music.” I loved “Mary Poppins,” The first movie I ever made. I loved “Victor/Victoria.” So it's hard to say three.

What role is most like you?
Who would be the most like me? I'm told…I really don't know but my family tells me that probably “Sound of Music” is the most like me. You know, a bit scatter-brained (laughing).

You've really downplayed the singing scene in “Princess Diaries 2.” In fact, you've said it's really more like talking. It sounds very melodic in the movie. Were you just being modest?
No, no, no, I wasn't. I was being as truthful as I could. If you really see it again, you'll notice that I talk into it and then I begin to sing the lower notes. Then I sort of talk out of it, in a way. It's really talk-singing. It's not “The hills are alive with the sound of music”-type of singing.

But it's still pretty good.
Well, thank you, thank you. I'll accept it. But it was much more difficult for me.

Did they enhance it with anything digital?
No, no, no. It was what I could manage at this point, which is very low. It was very cleverly written.

Can you remember the first song you ever sang?
Well, the first song that was very important to me was an operatic aria when I was about…really professionally, about 12 years old. And it was a song called the “Polynaise” from the opera “Mignon.” And you might recognize it. At 12, it was excruciatingly hard.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2: Julie Andrews on Family, Films, and "Princess Diaries 3"

Interview with Anne Hathaway
Callum Blue and Chris Pine Interview
"Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement" Photo Gallery
"Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement" Credits, Trailer and Websites

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