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Tangled - Mandy Moore interview


Interview by Rob Carnevale

MANDY Moore talks about her joy at voicing a Disney princess in Rapunzel-themed tale Tangled (Disney’s 50th animation) and some of the challenges it also put forward.

She also talks about her own fame and avoiding the tabloid headlines as well as whether her own singing background proved a help when tackling the issue of providing a vocal performance.

Q. What does it mean to you to be playing a Disney princess? And who were your favourites from the past?
Mandy Moore: Oh goodness, I sit here and think what little girl doesn’t dream about being a Disney princess? I grew up in Orlando, so somehow I feel like it’s in my blood a little bit, but The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast, and Aladdin, and so many films before that were such seminal parts of my childhood that it’s still kind of mind boggling to sit here and think that now I’m part of that Disney lineage. It’s so cool. But I would say The Little Mermaid is probably my favourite, just because it’s first recollection I have of going to the movie theatre and seeing a movie and then owning it on VHS and wearing out the VHS watching it incessantly, over and over and over again!

Q. Did you have a Disney princess outfit?
Mandy Moore: I didn’t. I do remember having the Little Mermaid… I had the Little Mermaid bed sheets.

Q. Was it tough recording the soundtrack, and did singing act like your security blanket? Was it different to recording an album?
Mandy Moore: Yeah, I actually kind of went into the experience thinking: “I’ve got the singing thing, I’ve been in a studio before, how hard can it be?” I didn’t realise the challenge of singing in character in a way. When you go into the studio and you’re singing music that you have a hand in writing, there’s not a lot of thought behind it… I just sort of sing. But being in the studio and singing this music and sort of trying to be in a certain headspace was challenging because I couldn’t just approach it the way that I would automatically.

Luckily, Alan [Menken] was very hands on, and he’s so humble and he knows exactly what he wants and how to get it out of you that I trusted I was in such good hands. I just sort of presented myself and said to tell me what he needed and what I should do. There were different accents that needed to be punctuated, certain words that needed to be punctuated. That was more of a challenge. The actual voicing of the dialogue in the film, I think I was more, slightly disappointed initially that all of the actors weren’t going to be working together. I just thought it would be fun, the camaraderie of the gang all being together. But I was lucky to have these guys [co-directors Nathan and Byron] who were so fantastic, and so thorough in explaining everything to me. Nathan would read to me most of the time…

It was nice to know that I had them on my side. Obviously, they were in everybody’s session, so they knew what they wanted and what they needed. You do feel slightly crazy at the end of the day, like you’ve been talking to yourself for a couple of hours. But other than that it’s such a blast, to use your imagination like that.

Q. You’ve grown up in the spotlight, and yet avoided the gossip columns – how have you managed to do that?
Mandy Moore: Oh gosh, I am boring first and foremost. I’m a boring homebody. You know what? I always like to think that I owe so much to my family. I love my parents, I have a really great, strong support system in my family and I always have. My parents sacrificed so much for me to be able to realise this dream that I had at a really young age. And that’s kept my feet on the ground and sort of given me perspective that I’m lucky to have this job, and not take it for granted. That’s what I guess I can attribute being boring to.

Q. Busy with work too?
Mandy Moore: Yeah, being busy with work, certainly. But then also realising the delineation between working and still having a private life, a personal life for yourself. Finding that balance, I think, is really essential too, having some semblance of groundedness in your life.

Q. Tell us about Dan Fogelman’s screenplay, were there changes brought to bear on it?
Mandy Moore: I never saw a full script, no. Partly just because the way I would work, coming into the sessions you only work for four or five hours… although that is a long period of time because there’s so much to do and so many different ways to go about giving any line of dialogue that you would only get through certain portions of the film. I know I would go into work and we would only really be concentrated on certain parts of the film, and maybe skipping around at that too. So, I never read anything from front to back, which is again why I was lucky enough to get to rely on these guys.

They must have told me the story 800 times. Every time I went in, I felt like they were saying: “Now, this is the part where Rapunzel and Flynn are running from the wall of water…” And I was like: “OK… okay.” But again, until you really actually see things on the big screen that’s when it all came together. I was like: “A horse? With a sword? Really?” And then you’d see it and you’d be amazed

Read our review of Tangled