If any actress has lived a Hollywood fairy tale the last two years, it has been Amy Adams whose Oscar nomination for low-budget film “Junebug” opened Disney’s gilded gates for her to star in fantasy “Enchanted.”
The movie, to debut on Nov. 21, stars Adams as young maiden Giselle whose evil soon-to-be stepmother, Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), tosses her out of the far away land of Andalasia and into New York’s bustling Times Square.
In a unique blend of old hand-drawn animation, new computer trickery and real-life action, “Enchanted” spoofs classic Disney cartoons such as “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty.”
In the animated world of Andalasia, Adams is the voice of the singing Giselle and James Marsden is her charming Prince Edward, but in New York, the characters become real humans who are hopelessly naive about daily life in the Big Apple.
Edward journeys to New York to find his fair maiden, only to learn she has been rescued by a handsome attorney (Patrick Dempsey). They all, of course, learn the meaning of true love.
Adams, 33 with red hair and a milky complexion, was raised an Army brat in a family of seven kids. Like many girls, she says she longed to be a princess. Now she is, in “Enchanted.”
“I definitely used my imagination as an escape from the chaos of our household,” she told Reuters. “I would create fantastical stories and dreamed about being a ballerina (and) a fairy tale princess.”
Growing up, Adams sang and worked in musical theater, which gave her some confidence when she sang in the role of Giselle.
Rising starAfter coming to Hollywood, she toiled in television roles with parts on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The West Wing.”
But in 2005’s “Junebug,” Adams broke from the pack of Hollywood starlets in a role as a naive pregnant woman with a hopeful view of life. She earned an Oscar nomination for supporting actress and became an industry sensation.
During awards season that year, Adams said she experienced ups and downs. The media exposure was overwhelming, but meeting actors and actresses she had always admired and being treated as a peer was exhilarating and helpful.
“Once, Shirley MacLaine took my hand, looked me in the eye and said, ‘You have done something very important here,”’ Adams said. “You could have frozen me in that moment forever, and I would’ve been happy.”
She was nervous about the Oscars, but Julia Roberts told her to treat it like her favorite sporting event and have fun.
“I was able to embrace it and enjoy it for what it was, which was a great evening — having my boyfriend with me, wearing this fantastic dress and beautiful jewels,” she said.
Adams’ experience, talent and wide-eyed innocence won over the “Enchanted” filmmakers.
“She was able to capture every aspect of the Disney princess, right down to the voice, the poise, the way a princess sits, and she was able to keep that sense of wonder,” producer Barry Josephson told Reuters in an email.
But Adams is not stopping at princess. She co-stars in “Charlie Wilson’s War” this December, playing a congressional aide opposite Tom Hanks. After that come a couple of small, independent films such as “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.”
“I just like to shake it up and do different things ... I want to be challenged, have fun and I want to fail sometimes,” she said. “It’ll be painful (but) I’ll learn. It used to be I would fail in private ways.”
Not anymore. She is a real Hollywood princess now.