This week I had the pleasure of viewing “Tangled: Before Ever After.” The Disney Channel’s Original Movie premiers Friday, March 10 at (8/7c).”Tangled: The Series” premieres Friday, March 24 (7:30/6:30c). We also interviewed Chris Sonnenburg the Executive Producer/Supervising Director and Benjamin Balistreri, Supervising Producer.
For a little background, Benjamin Balistreri began his career in 1997 as a character designer on “Little Mermaid II.” He has earned nine Annie Award nominations for his work on television series including Disney XD’s “Wander Over Yonder,” “The Fairly OddParents,” “Danny Phantom” and “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.” His film credits include “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” “Lady and the Tramp 2,” “Cinderella 2,” “The Lion King 1 ½” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame II,” among others.
Chris Sonnenburg’s television credits include “The Critic,” “Futurama,” “Beavis and Butt-Head,” as well as Disney’s “Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil” and “Gravity Falls.” A native of San Bernardino, California, Sonnenburg currently resides in Santa Clarita, California, with his wife, Janelle, and two teenage daughters, Arianna and Catalina. He enjoys building movie prop replicas with friends and spending quality time with his family.
Continuation of the Rapunzel’s Story
Chris Sonnenburg talks about continuing Rapunzel’s story. “For me, it came down to, I have two daughters that at the time were 14 and 12 are now 15 and 17. There was a moment at the end of the movie where they Rapunzel and Eugene meet, and they fall in love and then there’s the short, Tangled: Ever After, where they get married. I was 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. 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. I think maybe there was some time in between there. 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? And if the kids that had seen the movie in 2010 were maybe 10 at the time or eight then they’re probably getting to be about 17 years old, and they might want to know like how is this character that I love so much as a kid coming to grips with this part of her life? ”
Chris Sonnenburg takes inspiration from his life. He has two daughters. “There’s such a wonderful truth to the stories, and there’s always magic and excitement and kind of like the fairytale aspect of our stories. But what is the driving force between any Disney show is the best Disney stories is the truth of them. When we’re telling these stories, we’re going to have the long hair and the mythology and the magic and what’s going to be happening in the fun part of it. But, if we don’t tell that heart story and that real story about these real characters, then we’re missing our opportunity. So, whenever I go home and my daughters are telling me about their friends and, boys they’re dealing with and they’re arguing with me about something and my wife and I are talking, disagreeing about how to do something with them, those are the things that hopefully we’re pouring into the stories that the kids are going to have fun watching the magic, but the parents are going to, and hopefully the older kids and even all the kids will have a better view into the stories, the emotional sides of it.
The idea behind the journal comes from Chris Sonnenburg’s life with his daughters. “I’m very much fed by my daughters.” He named the queen after his older daughter Arianna. “The reason we named her after my daughter is because she had gone on this trip to Mexico with a huge group of people to build houses for people, kids in Mexico. She was 14, and she was going on this big trip. I didn’t know if she was ready for it. My wife and I would like she old enough to go by herself. She ready for this life of traveling beyond the borders and all this kind of huge life excitement. 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. 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 kept all these drawings of her journey. I was like that’s what Rapunzel would do. Rapunzel would keep a journal because she’s very creative. She’s very much a storyteller, and that’s how she would do it. So, we immediately said, let’s give Rapunzel a journal that she can keep a record of her journey. She’s going to want to paint on the road.”
Meaning Behind “Plus est en vous.”
“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 asked him to give me a drawing that’s going to encourage me for years as we go into the show. He did this beautiful drawing of Rapunzel, and on it, he wrote, ‘Plus est en Vous.” I asked what is that? He says, 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. The meaning behind it is that we all have more in us that we can push through it and he was telling me 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. I thought that was such a beautiful sentiment and I thought that the mother would give it to Rapunzel to tell her everybody has these expectations of you like a princess, as a daughter, and as a girlfriend. But there’s more in you than everybody else has you know, expected of you and show the world what that is and, and keep a record of that in this journal. 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. We’re going to get into as we go into the season. There are even tunnels underneath Corona. We try and put that in every aspect [of the show]. The journal is very much a part of the large story for the show and for who Rapunzel is herself.” – Chris Sonnenburg
“Tangled Before Ever After” – Set between the stories told in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ acclaimed film “Tangled” and its short film “Tangled Ever After,” the Disney Channel Original Movie “Tangled Before Ever After” makes its debut on FRIDAY, MARCH 10 (8:00 p.m., ET) leading to the highly-anticipated premiere of “Tangled: The Series” on FRIDAY, MARCH 24 (7:30 p.m. ET).
This post affiliate links. Please support April Golightly by making purchases through these links!
This is blog post is sponsored in exchange for an all-expense paid trip from Disney. However, as always, all experiences and opinions are my own.