We're "Tangled" with Mandy Moore
Disney treated Kidzworld to a day at its Animation Studios in Burbank, CA, where we heard all about Tangled, the studio's upcoming animated version of the Rapunzel fairytale. We saw beautiful storyboards, learned how to animate Rapunzel's 70 feet of magical hair, saw how sound for the movie was edited and were told how characters were developed.
Courtesy of Disney
Mandy Moore is the speaking and singing voice of lead character Rapunzel and we sat down with the singer/actress in the very room at the studio where she first met with Disney about doing the film. Lovely and funny character drawings are still on the walls as we chat with the now dark brown-haired Mandy who has left her bubblegum pop singer days behind in favor of a more adult sound in music and a varied film career.
Let's set the scene for you. In the upcoming film, Rapunzel is turning 18 and is still locked in an isolated tower where she has lived her whole life. She was stolen as a baby and placed there by a greedy woman she has always called “Mother.” When hot and "bad boy" thief Flynn (voiced by TV's "Chuck" Zach Levi) climbs the tower to escape the authorities, it's love/hate at first sight. Rapunzel sees this fellow as her ticket out of captivity. We asked Mandy what she would do with her time if she were locked in a tower for years…
Kidzworld: If you were really stuck in a tower for years and years, what would you have with you there and do to stay sane?
Mandy: Music and writing. Maybe I would pick up something I've always wanted to learn how to do like sew; knitting or something. Something that would be relaxing and would help me get into a Zen state of mind and pass the hours. Learn how to meditate. I'd have a guitar, some paper and pens, maybe painting. That would be fun.
Kidzworld: Rapunzel has basically been grounded in a tower her whole life. When you were a tween or teen, were you ever grounded?
Mandy: Yeah, I think I've been grounded. I wasn't a terrible kid if I do say so myself. I wasn't a rebellious kid by any means. Sort of like Rapunzel. I don't think she deserves the punishment and treatment she's getting but, for me, it was definitely no TV and not having dessert, not getting to go out with my friends. Yeah, that's grounded.
Kidzworld: What would you say to teens or kids who are always getting grounded?
Mandy: I would say look at the reason you keep finding yourself in that position and know that, for the most part, your parents are doing it for the greater good. There is something to learn from the whole experience and use that time to yourself to your advantage.
Kidzworld: Great advice. Flynn, who Rapunzel falls for, is a "bad boy" – at least on the surface. What's your history with being attracted to "bad boys"?
Mandy: [laughs] I think I had my fair share who were pseudo-bad boys. Maybe I didn't realize at first that they were bad boys but they turned out to be but I think it turned out OK. I managed to find a good guy [Ryan Adams, the singer/songwriter] and I'm happily married. But, yeah, there is something about those bad boys. I don't know if it's innately the idea of, “Maybe I'll be able to change him,” or, “Maybe that side will subside as we get to know each other,” but, yeah, there is something really attractive. Maybe it's the confidence they show.
Kidzworld: Rapunzel has to be preoccupied with the care of her 70 feet of magical hair! You've changed your hair a lot over the years [she's very pretty as a brunette now]. When you have a hair change, does that effect the way you see yourself or does it change your personality?
Mandy: Maybe not so much personality-wise. However, I remember the first time I colored my hair dark. I'd been blonde for years. I immediately felt different. I felt that people regarded me differently and treated me differently too. I felt I was perhaps taken a little bit more seriously as a brunette. I feel most like myself like this but I think it's part of the fun of being a woman; the ability to change your hair and I think you dress a little bit differently, maybe do your make-up differently as your hair changes too.
Kidzworld: You are now one of the Disney princesses. Who is your fave Disney princess?
Mandy: I grew up with The Little Mermaid and Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast but I definitely started singing because of Ariel. I remember walking around the house and singing, like when Ursula steals her voice and she's like [Mandy starts singing la la la...la la la…]. I remember asking my parents, “Do I sound as pretty as she does?” That was a huge turning point in my life.
Kidzworld: You have done other animated voices [The Simpsons, Brother Bear 2, etc.] What about voicing Rapunzel was different for you?
Mandy: This was a whole different bag; the real deal. It was a lot of work. I remember sitting in this very room the first day I got here and it was covered in storyboards. To do a film and to go into the adventure of making a movie like this and not have anything necessarily concrete to look at or reference [was hard].
There was no animation to see so it was sketches or storyboards. Those were helpful but I was depending on a lot of information from the directors. And, you're by yourself recording. So, there is something freeing about that; not having to be tied down to someone's delivery of a line. You could go into the depths of your imagination. It's kind of like being a kid again. Kind of imagining this whole world and what it looks like and who you are and where you are and where you're going. There was something exhausting about that because you're in your head all day but it was fun too.
Kidzworld: So you never got to record dialogue with Zach [Levi] at all?
Mandy: No. Just the music one day.
Kidzworld: So there was this huge 65 piece orchestra and composer Alan Menken and Zach was there, too? Is that when you two recorded your duet?
Mandy: Yes. I'd never sang with a huge orchestra behind me. It was a moment in time. I remember thinking, “Take this in, Mandy. It's a once in a lifetime experience,” because it was just so… “Oh my God!” It would make you melt, it was so beautiful and powerful! It was really nerve-wracking to be in that room going, “I don't want to be the thing that throws all of these people off. I can't mess up!”
Kidzworld: Are you still working on your music? I really liked your last album.
Mandy: Thanks. I've started writing another record, yes.
Catch Mandy as the voice of Rapunzel November 24th in Digital 3-D!
Lynn Barker, an editor and entertainment journalist for several websites, magazines and newspapers, has been active in the entertainment industry for many years.