Friday, September 11, 2009

Disney's Rapunzel Cast & Story News + "Rapunzel's Revenge"

The big news the past few days has been the confirmation of the cast for Disney's Rapunzel. While I'm sad to hear Kristin Chenoweth will not be the heroine as was previously rumored, the new leading lady, Mandy Moore, has grown some decent acting chops in the past few years and her singing voice will sound more along the lines of the classic Disney heroine (get ready for lots of "Mandy Moore lets her hair down" headlines). Her leading man, who's name has now been revealed as "Flynn Ryer", will be played by Zachary Levi (best known for his appealingly nerdy-heroics in ABCs "Chuck").

Here's a quote from, which also reveals a little more of the plot:

Rapunzel. It's Disney's first computer-animated fairytale, and stars Mandy Moore as Rapunzel herself and Chuck's Zachary Levi as Flynn Ryer, a roguish bandit. Alan Menken's writing the music for another musical tale, and Moore will of course be doing her own singing. We were also assured that this particular damsel will not be sitting around waiting for her prince to rescue her, but instead uses her 70ft of hair as a tool, a means of escape and occasionally an Indiana Jones-style whip.
Note in the concept art above how her hair trails along the path. I'm wondering if they ever address the cleaning and tangling issue...

And from The Hollywood Reporter:

"Disney's new Rapunzel picks up with the princess, famous for her 70 feet of golden hair, after she's been stolen from her parents' castle as an infant and imprisoned. Now a teenager, Rapunzel escapes and goes on the run with a bandit, as her captor pursues them."

Anything sound familiar? Specifically the lasso skills of our long-locked heroine? (Please note: I'm not accusing Disney of plagiarism - if you spend some time musing over what to do with really long hair and "make a lasso" is bound to come up at some point!)
If you haven't heard of "Rapunzel's Revenge" by Shannon Hale (yes, the same Shannon who wrote a retelling of "The Goose Girl"), then you're about to. Her red-headed version (Disney is using the traditional 'golden', though it is a little on the strawberry side if development art is any indication) uses her tresses to both escape her situation and save a whole lot of people from a bad situation, Old West style!

Oh yes - and it's a graphic novel. Now, I must admit, this is the very thing that turned me off. I love graphic novels but I'm super-picky about what I read and the art in this GN just isn't in a style that appeals to me (please note: the artist, Nathan Hale - no relation to Shannon, did an amazing job but, personally, I would have liked to have seen the pencil renderings for the panels.) Here's a preview:Regarding the story, here's one of the Editorial reviews/summaries from
This is the tale as you've never seen it before. After using her hair to free herself from her prison tower, this Rapunzel ignores the pompous prince and teams up with Jack (of Beanstalk fame) in an attempt to free her birth mother and an entire kingdom from the evil witch who once moonlighted as her mother. Dogged by both the witch's henchman and Jack's outlaw past, the heroes travel across the map as they right wrongs, help the oppressed, and generally try to stay alive. Rapunzel is no damsel in distress–she wields her long braids as both rope and weapon–but she happily accepts Jack's teamwork and friendship. While the witch's castle is straight out of a fairy tale, the nearby mining camps and rugged surrounding countryside are a throwback to the Wild West and make sense in the world that the authors and illustrator have crafted. The dialogue is witty, the story is an enticing departure from the original, and the illustrations are magically fun and expressive. –Cara von Wrangel Kinsey, New York Public Library
I took my time purchasing the book and then took even longer to read it, even though I love Shannon Hale's storytelling. I wish I hadn't waited so long. I really enjoyed it and even though I'm more of a 'woods and rivers' girl than a 'sand dunes and desert' gal I thought the Wild West context worked really well. In fact, I would have happily read more (there is a sequel coming by the way). You can find a lot more information about the graphic novel HERE and by clicking on the comic images in this post (the cover will take you to where you can purchase it).Here's an interview with Shannon in which she discusses her love of fairy tales and writing books based on them. "Rapunzel's Revenge" is discussed too and there's a brief preview of some of the artwork from the graphic novel.

After two popular renditions of Rapunzel cracking her braids into action, you DO have to wonder what the Rapunzel Princess costumes are going to be like when the movie comes out in December next year though...
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