Tangled stars Mandy Moore as a Rapunzel with attitude. Moore is the perfect picture of a Disney princess as we sit down with the star to discuss the art of the Disney animated movie. The platinum-selling singing star is no stranger to film, yet it is her chance to play an animated Disney heroine in Tangled that has her as thrilled as she has ever been over her entire career.
Moore burst onto the pop culture scene as a singer with a voice of gold. She took a backseat to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Celine Dion as she first climbed the charts in the diva department and has emerged as a confident and charismatic chanteuse, actress and all-around entertainer.
Sitting with Moore at Disneyland to chat up Tangled, she and co-star Zachary Levi, are equally as effervescent. Their new film, a milestone in Disney history all its own, is set to charm audiences as the story of Rapunzel has for centuries.
Mandy Moore is Rapunzel
SheKnows: Is there a difference between singing as Mandy Moore for a record and singing as Rapunzel in Tangled? You are singing in character…
Mandy Moore: Well, I think just the approach of singing as a character in character as opposed to the choices you would make for yourself — that was difficult. And I didn’t really expect that. Because I just thought, oh, my God, I love musical theater. I’m a huge Alan Menken fan. To be a Disney princess in a Disney film, it really has been a total dream come true. It wasn’t until I actually got into the studio and realized how — oh, my God — there were so many words. Specifically recording the first song in the film, it hit me, “I don’t necessarily know how to approach this.” I couldn’t just be Mandy. I couldn’t just sing it the way that I wanted to sing it. I knew there had to be sort of a specific take on it.
SheKnows: Have you had any surreal “I’m a Disney princess” moments since Tangled wrapped?
Mandy Moore: Walking around Disneyland and to then see Flynn and Rapunzel — I took pictures with them [laughs]. It was bizarre to shake hands with Rapunzel. I’m like, “Hi, I’m Mandy.” She said, “Hi, I’m Rapunzel.” And I wanted to be like, “No, you’re not. I’m Rapunzel [laughs].”
SheKnows: What Disney characters that you saw at Disneyland rocked your world?
Mandy Moore: I was excited at Disneyland myself when I saw Ariel. I was waving like an excited kid. It’s still mind-boggling to think, “Wow, you’re really a part of this lineage and part of Disney history.” It’s a big deal.
SheKnows: Do you see any parallels between Ariel and Rapunzel?
Mandy Moore: They’re both longing for a world outside of their own. That does make sense, I can definitely see the parallels.
Rapunzel as role model
SheKnows: Do you see Rapunzel as a role model to young women?
Mandy Moore: Yeah, I think the biggest thing that jumped out to me and probably to everyone else is just the idea that for her entire life, Rapunzel was told that it was her 70 feet of magical long hair that made her special. It separated her from everyone else. Really, it was something she had within herself the entire time. It had nothing to do with her hair. I love that. I love having the opportunity to portray a young woman who is so fearless and confident.
SheKnows: This Disney Rapunzel in Tangled is super confident. Did you ever see her as the woman who needed to be rescued?
Mandy Moore: She’s not a victim, she’s not naive. She’s open and warm, engaged, spirited and ready to embrace the unknown — whatever comes her way. I feel lucky. I think those parts are so few and far between. What I knew about Rapunzel was the damsel in distress and the tower, letting down her hair for the prince to save her. And our story sort of flips that on its head.
Mandy Moore: Part of the Disney dynasty
SheKnows: This is Disney’s 50th animated feature film. What does it mean to you to be part of that legacy?
Mandy Moore: You can’t get anymore classic than being a part of a Disney animated film. To me, it’s something that I can now have in my back pocket for the rest of my life. And I feel so honored, so lucky. To think that this project and this film will be around long after I’m gone — I’ll be able to show it to my kids.
SheKnows: You earned stardom at an early age. How have you managed to avoid the pratfalls of fame?
Mandy Moore: I don’t know. I would never want to be one to judge other people or their situations. And certainly, I have contemporaries that the level of fame and success that they’ve found is in a different stratosphere, so I wouldn’t even know what that life is like. But I feel lucky to be able to attribute my foundation and feeling grounded because of my family. I know that I’m lucky just in general.
Real-life and Tangled parents
SheKnows: Do you think it comes down to parenting?
Mandy Moore: I have great parents and I have a really supportive family. I continue to have that. I feel like for me it’s been a big factor in being able to have this life and to have this job, and to feel sane, to be able to distinguish between work and life. I feel really grateful to have this job. To have had a job at 14 or 15, and still be doing it at 26, is just incredible.
SheKnows: Tony-winner Donna Murphy plays your mom in the film. Did you ever meet her and what are your thoughts on the musical theater legend also joining the Disney family?
Mandy Moore: I just met Donna Murphy for the first time. She’s so cool. It took the magical world of Disneyland to bring us together. Wow, she’s so sweet, I love her. I want her to be my real mom.