Susan Sarandon joins the ranks of actors who've played Disney villains with the romantic comedy Enchanted starring Amy Adams, James Marsden, and Patrick Dempsey. Enchanted starts off in the animated world of Andalasia where Queen Narissa (Sarandon) is prepared to do anything to keep Prince Edward (Marsden) from marrying the princess, Giselle (Adams). Queen Narissa's so set on keeping the two apart that she banishes Giselle to the real world - specifically to New York City. Soon a batch of Andalasia's animated residents invade the Big Apple and find life in the world of flesh and blood characters isn't anything like life in the land of happily ever afters.
Susan Sarandon Press Conference
Was it fun taking the animated character and bringing it to life? Was that an interesting thing?
“Well, yeah. I mean think if I were just being a Disney [villain], it was so kind of flattering to just be asked to be in the family of iconic of Disney bad people, step-mothers, and taking [it] into something that had never been done before was great. There is a reason they dress like that only in cartoons. It is very difficult. Amy [Adams] had a 100 pound dress on or something, 80 pounds. I mean, what I was wearing? Even a drag queen would find her... The shoes were, they would have liked to had that great height, but I can't wear heels that are that high. The high heels, the boots that didn't bend in the knee, balancing the collar. The head dress was really heavy. Being sewn in, not being able to sit down at any time. All those things do demand of you. I mean, you can't be too big with your gestures when you are dressed that way. It was challenge to make her real. It was fun to do it. I am hoping my action figure is one of those really beautiful things, you flip her over and the hag is underneath.
It was great to kind of surrender to something that is so far from reality. You are kind of hiding behind all this makeup and glitter, as opposed to those kind of painful, personal things you take inside and live with. It was like a vacation. So if you are going to do something like that, Disney is the place to do it because they really have it down.
I love the fact it was hand-drawn and not computerized animation, because I always miss the feel of the human touch in those movies that are quite brilliant in their own way but kind of freak me out. It was nice they had those artists doing it. I got to say I don't know if it makes me more secure in the world to know that Disney has a sense of humor about itself, but it was a nice revelation. I thought in the beginning, ‘Do they know what they are getting themselves into here?’ And so I thought that was really great.”
Could you talk a little about playing the hag? How long did that
“There were five pieces. One, two, three, four, five [counting while pointing to spots on her face], a wig, they stipple your neck and your hands and they put nails and the whole thing. That took about five hours all together. To get out of it took another couple. So what they did - very mercifully - they said, ‘What we would like to do is a few really long days so you don't have to keep getting in and out of this because it was pretty wearing to the face. The hobbling around business was actually physically easier than being in the other thing. It was more comfortable because I was just stooped over and my hump did all the work.
By the way, my dog recognized me immediately. [Laughing] My dog was not the least bit freaked out. When I first had the whole thing on I had been sitting there for five hours, and they took her for a walk because I came straight from the airport. I was doing Mr. Woodcock at the time and I would come in to do that. I went straight to the studio and they did this whole thing. They took Penny out for a walk and she came back and went right up on my lap. How could this be? When I saw those makeup tests it really showed me how to get the most mileage out of using my eyes because nothing else really moved.
The teeth were difficult to speak through initially. They kind of cut your inner [lip]. But [to] find that voice I kept thinking, ‘This was like your baby-sitter from Hell that sounds so nice, but is really weird.’ I kept thinking, ‘Why would she take a bite out of the apple if this woman is cackling at her? She is either incredibly depressed or you know...’ So we were trying to find some kind of soothing, frighteningly weird [voice].”
What did you think of the cartoon version of you?
“I thought she seemed very fit and angular. I thought it was great. I thought there was a hint of me in the dragon. I thought they managed to feel a little bit of that. You really don't have any say over your cartoon likeness. I am just happy to end up on a lunch box or a thermos, as opposed to when I was younger and so anti any kind of merchandising. I am like, ‘Yeah, I want that lunch box.’"
Are you bummed you did not get a chance to sing?
“Yeah. I would have liked one, you know those talking songs that Cyril Ritchard and Jeremy Irons [did]. Kind of like ‘I-am-so-happy-to-be-evil-and-I-can't-wait-to do-this’ kind of song. That would have been an interesting thing to do. But they had already cut another song. I love the music that is in there. They even did another production number that is not in the movie, which you will probable get as an extra thing when they put the DVD out.
You know, the cartoon part started out being longer then that got cut. So I think they just wanted to keep it nice and snappy. I understand...if I come back...I understand some of the kids at the screening were like, ‘She's not dead.’ So I hope they talk to the powers that be.”