What happens before and after the fairy tale ending? Take a peek at Tangled and an exclusive interview. Post sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own.
All photos courtesy of Disney
We are all familiar with the “Happily Ever After” ending of our favorite fairy tales. Now, the story continues for Rapunzel and Eugene goes past that in Tangled: Before Ever After in the new Tangled: The Series!
We screened Tangled: Before Ever After, which is the sequel to the original movie and pilot for Tangled: The Series. In Tangled, we last saw Rapunzel reunite with her family after 18 years apart.
So, what happened after that?
See the first 5 minutes of Tangled: Before Ever After:
In Tangled: Before Ever After, we see a glimpse into Rapunzel adjusting to life as a princess living the castle. She also has to balance her overprotective father, the idea of getting married to Eugene and his wanting to settle down within the castle walls. She’s torn. Does she want to set down roots so soon?
She meets Cassandra who helps sneak her out of the castle and takes her on an adventure! Cassandra is tough, rebellious and free. Rapunzel is immediately in awe of her. She craves the freedom. They run into trouble when they stumble on to mystical rocks that magically cause Rapunzel’s long blonde hair to grow back!
I am excited to see more of what is in store for Rapunzel!
We interviewed Executive Producer/Supervising Director Chris Sonnenburg and Supervising Producer Ben Balistreri. Read our exclusive interview:
Question: What made you decide to continue with Rapunzel and her story?
Chris Sonnenburg: For me it really kind of came down to, I have two daughters at the time were 14 and 12 are now 15 and 17. And there just seem to be this idea, and it didn’t really like wait on me too much but just looking at the story, that there was this moment at the end of the movie where they meet, right, and they fall in love and then there’s the short, Tangled: Ever After, where they get married.
And just looking at the two of those moments I was wondering what happened? Did they get to know each other a little bit more? What happened in between that time. And then there’s this great line at the end of the movie where Eugene Fitzherbert, says after years and years of asking and asking I finally said yes. You know, there’s a kind of fun line that he says there which you might be kind of you know, joking about but I also think maybe there was some time in between there.
And it started to become “what do I have to say about this time in these people’s lives, and young people’s lives about getting to know yourself, getting to know the people in your lives, getting to understand your relationship with your parents?”
Chris also went on to explain that he wanted to finish the story for the kids that saw the movie back in 2010 who were between 8-10 years old and now a teenager. He thought they might want to know how the character they loved as a kid is coming to grips with this part of her life. He felt the need to tell the why and how of the story.
Question: I love that Rapunzel is back to blonde. Why was that decision made?
Chris Sonnenburg: Well, ultimately her name’s Rapunzel, right, long blonde hair. You know, if you’re going to tell a story about the Hulk you’re not going to tell like about a dog, right. You know, he’s got to be big and green. And I think Rapunzel has to be long blonde hair for it to kind of just read as the character. But really for me the trick about it and what ultimately was the trick for the filmmakers in the original movie was to give the hair a reason for being blonde and for being long and in our case, being uncuttable.
So, all of the big story, the big question that we always ask in the story was always why. Why do these things exist? Why are we telling the story? And, you know, her hair represents her personality. It’s bigger than life. It’s bright. It’s long. It shines. It’s magical. It’s pretty much who Rapunzel is. And so, and then the added layer of it, which is being unbreakable has its own reason for being that we’re going to get into as we go along in the story. But it always should always go back to serving the purpose of why does it exist this way.
Spoiler Alert!!! Be sure to come back to this post and read this portion again after watching Tangled: Before Ever After to get a better understanding!
Question: I love the journal aspect. Is there any special meaning behind that quote at the beginning?
Chris Sonnenburg: Sure, it’s two things. Number one, again, I’m very much fed by my daughters. My older daughter, Arianna, Queen Arianna, I named the Queen after her. And the reason we named her after my daughter is because she had gone on, right when we were breaking the story and figuring out what everything was going to be, she had gone on this trip to Mexico with a huge group of people to build houses for people, kids in Mexico.
And again, she was 14 and had just turned 14, and she was going on this big trip. I didn’t know if she was ready for it. I didn’t know if I was ready for it. My wife and I wondered if she was old enough to go by herself and everything. And there seem to be this kind of questioning of, whether she prepared for this. She’s our little baby. She ready for this life of traveling beyond the borders and all this kind of huge life excitement. And she went and she had come back and they had given her these journals to kind of take notes and get to know people and stuff.
And when she had come back the little journal was completely covered in drawings of the little girls that she met and how she learned how to put a hinge on a door and she learned how to do all this fun stuff and she dropped her phone in water. She also kept all these drawings of her journey. And I was like that’s what Rapunzel would do. She’s very creative. She’s very much a storyteller and that’s how she would do it. So, we immediately said well, let’s give Rapunzel a journal that she’s going to want to paint on the road.
So, we gave her this journal and then the added element of the inscription came very much from the movie, Glenn Keane who created the character of Rapunzel for the film, had come and I was talking to him about what we wanted to do with the show and he had done this quick drawing for me. I said give me a drawing that’s going to encourage me years as we go into the show. And he had done this picture, this beautiful drawing of Rapunzel and on it he wrote, ‘Plus est en vous,’ and I was like what is that?
And he says well, in the movie, we had this phrase that we were using just in the story rooms, at the end of the movie all of her magic is gone but she squeezes out one last drop of magic out of her. And he said the reason behind that, the meaning behind that is that we all have more in us that we can push through it and he was telling me like when you feel like you’re at the end of your ropes, if you can’t give any more, push through and there’s always more inside of you. And I thought that was such a beautiful sentiment and I thought that the mother would give it to Rapunzel as like listen, everybody has these expectations of you of a princess, of a daughter, of a girlfriend.
So, the phrase means there’s more in everybody. There’s more inside of Eugene. There’s more inside of Pascal. There’s more inside of Corona than everybody just sees on the surface. As we go into the season, there’s even like tunnels underneath Corona.
There’s more in Corona. So, the journals are very much a part of the large story for the show and for who Rapunzel is herself.
Question: Will we see Lady Cane again and what was behind giving her a tattoo?
Ben Balistreri: Well, I’ll just say tune in for the answer to those. I mean even with the tattoo, I think it was just literally one of the cool things about the programmer we’re using, it’s called Harmony, it’s sort of this blend between doing CG and 2-D. I mean technically, what we’re doing is we’re building like all of these characters in a computer by flat images that end up spinning around.
So, in traditional 2-D animation you could never, ever get away with a detailed tattooed. You’d kill somebody by having them to draw it 10 billion times. But in the computer, we can actually just plant it on there and have it spin around. So, some of it’s just a little bit of us as designers on the show being able to get in with some cool, nitty-gritty details. From a character standpoint, a tattoo says something about a personality and for Lady Cane.
I mean she’s got a skull with roses on there. Which just kind of helps sell some of the idea of her personality in the show of being a little bit edgy but also they’re being an understory there that comes from a real hurt that she went through as a child. We try to think of the meaning behind the tattoo.
Question: Because of Lady Cane and Rapunzel, there is definitely a similar background there. Is that going to continue to be explored?
Chris Sonnenburg: Here’s what I’ll say about that and not too much. But I will say again, referring to my comment earlier about everything has a why. Why do these characters exist? They exist, in our circumstance, they exist to fuel who Rapunzel is and where Rapunzel is going. In the best-case scenario, we don’t put anything in the show that doesn’t exist unless it is serving a very specific purpose. Tune in and I think you will be happy with where the story goes without giving away too much.
Question: What are you most proud of about continuing Rapunzel’s story?
Chris Sonnenburg: For me, just honoring the original. It’s always been a huge priority of mine to not only honor the work that was laid out by Nathan and Byron on their original film and Glen Keane who created the character, not only honor that but keep true to the characters. That was always my marching orders from Glen Keane who created the character. It was always, just be true to who she is. And I think we’ve done a really good job of that.
Questions: Can you talk about the new character Cassandra and her role?
Chris Sonnenburg: Well, of course I’m going to go back to the same thing I’ve been thing over and over again, there’s always the why. Why does Cassandra exist? Why on every level. Cassandra kind of came to be two ways, number one, in my head and then number two, well, three, mind, the writers and then when Eden Espinosa came. You know, when Eden came to voice her, she gave her another level that we could have never written. Like Eden is very much who Cassandra is. She’s very tough. She’s very vocal.
I love her to death. But, but you know, it started to become evident as to who Cassandra was going to be when you ask the question who does Rapunzel need in her life. And I felt like she needed somebody that had access to the castle, that had a very adventurous spirit, much like herself, somebody that Rapunzel could kind of look up to. And if Cassandra was somebody that was going to have access to Rapunzel it had to be somebody that was very close to her on a daily basis. So, that’s why we gave it to being somebody like a lady in waiting.
But ultimately, she is somebody that Rapunzel can confide in and really share things with that–, like a girlfriend, like my daughters have friends that they talk to in different ways than they talk to the guys in their lives or me and my wife. And we wanted to give Rapunzel somebody like that. As we were writing the first few episodes and kind of coming up with the concept of the show, her character almost like wrote herself.
She was very militaristic because her father was the captain of the guards, she had a very different way whereas Rapunzel’s this kind of like free-thinking hippie.
Ben Balistreri: Yeah, storytelling’s all about contrast. When you have two really diametrically opposed viewpoints on the same issue, it just becomes fun storytelling. So, Rapunzel who’s always so optimistic and so cheerful and so full of wonder and everything she meets, it’s great to have the opposite view, just a little more sarcastic and a little more down to earth and you get that different take on the same topic. It just makes for a really great storytelling.
Chris Sonnenburg: And I love being able to hear Mandy and again, Mandy and Eden together, they’re such great performances. And again, as we start to hear them, we start writing them in very specific ways. So, it’s a really cool relationship and I think one that evolves really naturally as well.
Tangled: Before Ever After premieres Friday, March 10th at 8pm EST. Tangled: The Series debuts Friday, March 24th at 7:30pm EST.
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