How would you describe your character in Tangled?
Rapunzel is a young woman who is on the eve of her 18th birthday. She’s becoming an adult and she finds herself in a situation where she's able to go beyond the tower walls that have shielded her all her life. She ends up on a crazy adventure with a young man called Flynn Rider – and she has the time of her life.
How did you get involved with the project?
I auditioned. It was a funny process because I nearly didn’t go into the audition. I knew it was a Disney film and I thought that everyone and their mother would be auditioning for the role. I thought to myself, ‘Why am I going to set myself up for this disappointment?’ But then I realized that I might as well throw my name into the hat. There aren’t many auditions in the world where you get to sing a song and read a scene, so I went for it. I still can’t believe that I got a callback and ended up with the job. It’s crazy.
How would you describe the audition process?
I auditioned a few times at Disney. I had to read a couple of scenes and I had to sing something for the audition, so I brought a Joni Mitchell song along with me.
Which Joni Mitchell song did you choose?
I sang Help Me, which is a song I love to sing. It was fun, but I didn’t really think much of the audition because I heard there were so many people going for the role. I kept thinking to myself, ‘What are the chances of me getting this role? It’s very slim.’
How nervous were you at the audition?
To be honest, it wasn’t too nerve wracking. It was actually pretty fun because you never to get to sing in auditions and I love to sing. I just went in there and did my best.
How did you react when you were told you’d won the role?
I was so excited when I found out I was going to be the voice of Rapunzel. I remember the moment clearly. I was working in New York at the time. I was with some friends and my husband – and I screamed as soon as I found out the news. I was over the moon.
How is Rapunzel different to the other Disney princesses?
Rapunzel is a bit more relatable than the other princesses, especially because she doesn't even know that she's a princess until the very end of the movie. I like to think of her as the bohemian Disney princess. She's barefoot and living in a tower. She paints and reads… She’s a Renaissance woman.
Does Rapunzel look like you?
I like to say that we look like one another, but the character was developed way before I had anything to do with it. In that respect, I think that any similarities are probably coincidental, although I'm very happy with how she looks.
What went through your mind the first time you saw Rapunzel animated?
It took my breath away. I couldn’t believe how much of a sweetheart she looked. The detail on her face was mind-boggling and her hair was insane. You can see each individual strand. That’s pretty intense.
What’s your favorite memory from working on the animation?
Recording the music was one of the biggest highlights for me. I’d never experienced working on a sound stage with a 65-piece orchestra before. I remember sitting there with (composer) Alan Menken and Zach Levi (who voices Flynn Rider in Tangled). I was thinking to myself, ‘Wow… Remember this experience, Mandy. This is a special, once-in-a-lifetime moment.’
Can you take us through the recording process for the music of the movie?
Sure. First of all, Zach and I sang in the middle of the sound stage along with the orchestra so that everybody could get a feel for the music and the singing. As soon as everyone had a feel for the vibe, Zach and I went into isolation booths and sung there instead. It was such an unreal process. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life. To know that I was one little piece of this huge wall of sound was beautiful.
Did you enjoy recording the dialogue for the movie, too?
That was a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of hard work because I didn’t have any of the animation to look at. All I had to work off were a few sketches. I was standing in a recording booth and it can get pretty lonely in there, but it was also fun because it allows you to go into the depths of your imagination. You have to draw a picture in your head as to what this world looks like. You have to imagine where your character is going and what she is doing. It felt like I was a little girl playing pretend all on my own.
How did you come up with the voice of Rapunzel?
I don’t know. I just walked into the sound booth and I let myself go. I had to be as unguarded as possible and I had to explore the character, even though it sometimes felt totally goofy and weird.
How did you prepare for the sound booth? Did you do any vocal warm-ups before you entered the room?
No, I didn’t do anything like that. If I was singing in the sound booth, then I would do some vocal warm-ups, but that was it. I didn’t do anything different if I was just recording regular dialogue.
What are your favorite Disney movies?
Growing up, I was obsessed with Disney movies like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty And The Beast. I was always singing the songs from these movies, so to find myself in the studio with Alan Menken was an amazing experience. In fact, it was a dream come true. I couldn’t believe it. I was standing next to the man who created all these iconic songs as I was trying to encompass Rapunzel. It was a very special moment in my life.
And finally… Why should we buy Tangled on DVD?
Because it’s the perfect combination of quintessential Disney fairytale storytelling with a wonderful contemporary edge. There is lots of humor, music and adventure in the movie. There’s something for everyone in Tangled.
TANGLED is Available on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD & Movie Download March 29th.