A classic Disney fairytale collides with modern-day New York City in a story about a fairytale princess pursued by the evil Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon). Soon after her arrival the princess Giselle begins to change her views on life and love after meeting a handsome but cynical lawyer, but can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world?
Well it has a number of problems: Shrek has already comprehensively deconstructed the fairytale; Les Visiteurs set the bar for ‘fish out of water’ scenarios; both Prince Charming and The 10th Kingdom have done fairy-tale characters in New York; Amy Adams does all the right things but she was alreay ten years too-old to play a virginal fairytale princess; and the inevitable Disney sugar-coating doesn’t help.
Still Susan Sarandon does a wonderful Queen Narissa and looked as if she was having a ball – despite those wonderful prosthetics – in her old hag guise, offering Giselle the apparently perfect poisoned apple.
Nicki Ledermann was makeup department head.
Rick Baker was responsible for hag makeup effects; Mike Marino (now Prosthetic Renaissance) & Bill Corso were sfx makeup artists; Yoichi Art Sakamoto (prosthetic dental appliance for Susan Sarandon), Jim McLoughlin, Kazuhiro Tsuji (Kazu Studios), Bill Sturgeon, John Calpin, & Sylvia Nava were credited from Cinovation;
Susan Sarandon spoke about the makeup and the role:
The hag was different because the challenge of course was learning how to use the face, which was almost like a mask. It is not really moving and it is hard to talk through the fake teeth, they cut the inside of your mouth. The rest of the hag’s costume was much more comfortable [than Narissa’s] apart from having to stay hunched over, but the hump helps with that. In a way it was easier for me than playing Narissa as the queen, because I did not have to balance on those high, high heels. It took five hours to get the hag makeup and costume on and another couple to get out of it, so mercifully they did a few really long days and I didn’t have to keep getting in and out of it for weeks and weeks… That was the hardest part of the hag, finding that creepy voice, it’s like the babysitter from hell, she sounds so nice but she’s really weird and evil. But that’s what acting is all about; it’s great to lose yourself in a character that is far from who you are. When you play characters that are very close to a real person, and you are touching on real issues about relationships and love and loss and jealousy, that’s another kind of acting. This is so much more technical, and the challenge is to make it conversational somehow, because Narissa is so extreme… It was interesting, people did not recognize me. My dog knew me immediately though and was not in the least bit freaked out.