For actress and recording artist Mandy Moore, lending her voice to the character of Rapunzel in Walt Disney Animation Studio’s “Tangled” was an eye-opening experience.
She explains, “There’s a unique challenge in having to imagine a world that doesn’t necessarily exist, using story sketches and the directors’ descriptions to visualize the storyline. At the end of the day, all you really have to rely on is your imagination. The most enjoyable part of being involved in ‘Tangled’ has been tapping into a creative side of my brain that I’ve never tapped into before. You have to put aside all reservations and just go for it and have fun. I feel like it’s the ultimate experience of being a kid again, in a sense, because you do get to investigate what it might be like to live in this fantastical world and be this character.”
Moore further discusses “Tangled” in the following interview:
Q. Who is Rapunzel in this reinvented version?
Mandy Moore. Rapunzel is a feisty, spirited, curious really engaged young woman. She’s 17, about to be 18, and we meet her right on the cusp of that very important birthday. She’s lived in a tower all her life, but she’s extremely passionate, creative and eager to investigate the world. She’s so open and ready to embrace whatever comes her way; she definitely has a sense of adventure. She’s been dreaming her entire life about going out into the world to learn more about these floating lights that appear every year on her birthday. The film has an overwhelming theme of female empowerment—she’s a lot stronger than even she realizes.
Q. Describe Rapunzel’s 70 feet of hair.
Moore. Rapunzel has a gigantic mass of magical, almost other-worldly hair that’s almost its own living entity with all sorts of abilities. It’s a pretty hot commodity. Mother Gothel selfishly keeps Rapunzel and her unique powers hidden from the world, using them for her own benefit.
Q. Why did you want to portray her?
Moore. I grew up with the best of the best—“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin” and “Beauty and the Beast.” What little girl doesn’t fantasize about being part of that? I love the Rapunzel’s story and I knew that Disney would put its signature twist on the story. It’s really, really funny and heartwarming. It has a feel-good, empowering message of being the best version of yourself and overcoming obstacles and challenges—being strong enough to jump over those hurdles and live up to your full potential. I think that’s a universal message that anybody can get from this film.
Q. What’s the best part of playing an animated character?
Moore. There’s a unique challenge of having to imagine a world that doesn’t necessarily exist yet, but I feel that it’s the ultimate experience of being a kid again. You get to go somewhere else. You get to investigate what it might be like to be this character and live in this fantastical world. You just go for it and have fun.
Q. What was it like recording the songs from the film with an orchestra?
Moore. Having the opportunity to record with the orchestra on that scoring stage was something I will never forget. I was there with a 65-piece orchestra that was playing this beautiful arrangement by Alan Menken—an arrangement I loved. I had rehearsals with a piano and I knew the song going in—but then standing in front of the orchestra, it was like everything went out the window, you know? Every bit of professionalism, every bit of rehearsal experience—it all got washed away because I just wanted to stop and listen to them play together. It gives me the chills to think about it. I had to stop, be in the moment and not take it all for granted. I was a little nervous after that, but it all turned out okay.
Q. What was your favorite song to sing?
Moore. “I See the Light” is probably my favorite song in the film. It’s a duet between Rapunzel and Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levi), and I think it’s really instrumental to the story because it’s happening at the moment Rapunzel is finally seeing her dreams come true and realizing that maybe there was more to the journey than just seeing these lights.
Having the opportunity to record with Zac was unbelievable. The minute he opened his mouth, I realized that this guy can really sing. He has a beautiful voice that is very charming. It embodied everything you think about from the classic Disney fare. We had a lot of fun recording together, and we were able to play off one another and find that blend of harmonies together.
(Opening soon across the Philippines in Digital 3D and regular cinemas, “Tangled” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International.)