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Enchanted - Amy Adams interview

Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey in Enchanted

Interview by Rob Carnevale

AMY Adams talks about the appeal of playing a fairytale princess in Disney’s Enchanted, coping with her white dress and dancing with Patrick Dempsey.

She also talks about her favourite Disney movies, her own fairytale career in the wake of her surprise Oscar nomination [for Junebug] and why she still gets star-struck in front of some co-stars…

Q. What appealed to you about Enchanted?
Amy Adams: I just thought it was really unique and it seemed like it would be a lot of fun. I hadn’t seen that idea before, or that character before. And I always get a kick out of doing things that you haven’t seen before. I have been accused of being somewhat animated my whole life and I had always been such a fan of classic Disney, of princesses… these are things that are part of my psyche. So, when I saw this character I felt like I knew her instantly, I didn’t have to think about it at all, it was just someone that I knew.

Q. One of the great joys of watching Enchanted is that it takes you back to the great Disney classics of old, such as Snow White and Cinderella. Is that how you felt while doing it?
Amy Adams: Absolutely, there’s so much that it’s paying homage to. So, just getting to sing and dance as a Disney princess in the middle of Central Park reminds you of being a child and a time where you felt you could do that and no one would stare at you. Now, as an adult you have all these expectations of society to behave yourself, so I think there should be more outbursts of joy! There really should. There’s plenty of outbursts for football and rugby. You boys have plenty. I’ve seen it often on the streets of London [laughs]

Q. Did the animated version of your character inform the way you approached Giselle – because I believe you got to see some of the drawings first?
Amy Adams: Yes, it did. I was really familiar with Disney classics from the past, so I sort of knew what they were going for as far as the qualities that she starts with were. But then seeing the unique characteristics that they brought to Giselle was a lot of fun and it did help to inform me of her movements and the breathless, innocent qualities that she possesses.

Q. Is it true that you designed her shoes?
Amy Adams: [Laughs] I was kind of designing them, yes. The costume designer and I did the glass slippers. They were hand-made because I have very specific feet! I had to dance in them so we had to get them right.

Q. How was the dancing?
Amy Adams: I used to be a dancer, so the hard thing was surrendering to Patrick [Dempsey] and letting him lead. We were both very stubborn, so that took more than one rehearsal! We rehearsed a lot to get the dance right. But it’s not a bad way to spend an afternoon… dancing with Patrick Demspey! But I did lose a toenail or two, so that’ll teach me to be stubborn in future.

Q. And how did you find the singing? Have you sung before?
Amy Adams: I have sung before. But I was really nervous about coming up to the standard of Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. They’ve worked with, in my opinion, some of the best singers there are and so I wanted them to be happy with me.

Q. Has it whet your appetite to sing again in future roles?
Amy Adams: I would love to do musicals and return to the stage. It’s in the plans… I don’t know when.

Q. Kevin Lima has said that your white dress weighed something like 45lbs… and that’s dry. So what was it like wearing it wet?
Amy Adams: Well, I never weighed it because I didn’t want to know [laughs]. I just knew it was heavy and that it hurt! But you had to negotiate with the dress. And it was hard. But once you’ve figured out where to pick it up and how to move it, it works out. But there were a lot of falls along the way. I was falling every day!

Q. What is your earliest memory of Disney and your most favourite?
Amy Adams: My earliest is watching Mary Poppins and being entertained and frightened by the possibility of magic. I also liked Cinderella, because I liked the idea that one day a girl could be scrubbing floors and dealing with horrible step-sisters and the next day she could be a princess. I liked the possibility that it held. I hope Enchanted becomes the same kind of classic that stands the test of time like the other classics, so that people will share it with their children.

Q. Enchanted is a fairytale and your career has also been something of a fairytale hasn’t it, especially in light of the Oscar nomination [for Junebug]… How much of a surprise was that nomination and how much of an impact has it had on your career?
Amy Adams: It’s been bigger than I would have dreamed. It was a huge surprise. I didn’t think there was that much of an awareness about Junebug or my role in it. I had such a great time before that just with the film being released, and I’d been honoured by different associations, but I never expected I’d actually be honoured with a nomination at the Oscars. That was crazy! But it’s been good and I’ve been working since then, which is nice. It brought awareness to my work, which is always what you hope for as an actress.

Q. You have Charlie Wilson’s War coming up next, which is also being touted as a potential Oscar contender…
Amy Adams: People like to throw that word around a lot! But it’s Mike Nicholls, it’s Tom Hanks, and it’s Aaron Sorkin, as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julia Roberts… all those people have won awards in the past, so I think it’s definitely a possibility.

Q. It’s also very different from Enchanted. Is it good to be able to mix things up so much?
Amy Adams: Absolutely. It’s always good to get to dance back and forth between drama and comedy. But my role isn’t too serious, but I do get to work with Tom Hanks again, which has always been a dream. I worked with him before on Catch Me If You Can and I think he’s just so fantastic. I just wanted the chance to work with him again.

Q. Do you learn a lot from being around a cast like that?
Amy Adams: You do… I just sit back and watch. I was on set when he and Philip did an amazing scene together and I nearly wept because it was just so good.

Q. So, do you still get a little star-struck in the presence of people like Susan Sarandon, on Enchanted, and Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman [on Charlie Wilson’s War]?
Amy Adams: Oh yes, I do. Just to be able to watch these idols of mine work first-hand is crazy. I feel very lucky to get to be taught by them…

Q. Which do you find harder – the comic roles or the more serious ones?
Amy Adams: I think it always just depends on the situation or the character. Comedy can be very, very hard if the writing’s not there, or the character’s not there. It’s hard to make something funny that isn’t. There are some people that are really good at it. I think that for myself, the writing has to be there along with the character, or I’m terribly unfunny! I’m not good at sitcom style comedy. It has to be there.

Q. What’s next for you?
Amy Adams: I’m getting ready to work on Doubt with Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman again.

Q. I always imagine that he’s someone that’s quite serious to work with – but then you see him in something like Along Came Polly?
Amy Adams: Oh he’s so funny in that – the scene in the art gallery [looks astonished]. But he’s fantastic. He’s just so un-self conscious. I don’t know him well enough to make that as a declaration, but as an actor he just does what it takes to be that role. And that’s something I really admire and I hope that I have what it takes to be like that.

Q. Does writing your own material, or producing and directing interest you as something for the future?
Amy Adams: Yeah, I’d love to get into different areas of film. I have a lot of respect for writers and producers and directors and I think I have a lot more learning to do before I head in that direction.

b>Read our review of Enchanted