Needless to say, a sequel to the popular Descendants was going to happen. The whole cast is back and I had the opportunity to chat with them for this exclusive Descendants 2 Cast Interview post to share all the details with you. With Descendants 2 to air this week (July 21 on Disney Channel, ABC, Freeform, Disney XD, and Lifetime), let’s see what those beautiful young people had to say about their magical return.
The story of the teenage sons and daughters of Disney’s most infamous villains continues in Disney’s “Descendants 2,” the contemporary music-driven imaginative sequel to the global smash hit “Descendants.” Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson and Booboo Stewart reprise their roles as Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay, respectively; and are met with brand new villains, including the menacing Uma, daughter of the sea witch Ursula, played by China Anne McClain.
The story picks up where “Descendants” left off with the Villain Kids (VKs) Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay living in Auradon. Most of the VKs have settled into their new life in the idyllic kingdom with the exception of Mal, who is struggling to emulate what she thinks is expected of her as the soon-to-be “Lady of the Court” alongside King Ben. When the pressure to fit in becomes too overwhelming, Mal flees Auradon and returns to her rotten roots on the Isle of the Lost where she is met with her archenemy, the newly proclaimed queen of the town, Uma and her pirate gang. When an unexpected turn of events puts Ben and the VKs back in Isle of the Lost, they learn about Uma’s true intentions – to break the barrier between the Isle of the Lost and Auradon unleashing all the villains imprisoned on the Isle, once and for all. As the story unfolds, the VKs and the Pirate Gang face off in a climatic and action-driven battle in the name of what they feel is rightfully true.
Descendants 2 Cast Interview
The Descendants 2 stars Dove Cameron (“Liv and Maddie”), Cameron Boyce (“Jessie”), Sofia Carson (Hollywood Records recording artist, “Adventures in Babysitting”), Booboo Stewart (“X-Men Days of Future Past”), and Mitchell Hope reprising the roles of Mal, Carlos, Evie, Jay and King Ben, respectively.
Starring as the new villains are China Anne McClain (“A.N.T. Farm”) as Uma, the daughter of Ursula; Thomas Doherty (“The Lodge”) as Harry, son of Captain Hook; Dylan Playfair (“Some Assembly Required”) as Gil, son of Gaston; and Anna Cathcart (“Odd Squad”) as Dizzy, daughter of Cinderella’s evil stepsister Drizella and granddaughter of wicked stepmother Lady Tremaine.
Also reprising their roles in this sequel are Brenna D’Amico as Jane, the daughter of Fairy Godmother; Melanie Paxson as Fairy Godmother; Dianne Doan as Lonnie, the daughter of Mulan; Jedidiah Goodacre as Chad, the son of Cinderella; Zachary Gibson as Doug, the son of Dopey; Dan Payne as Beast and Keegan Connor Tracy as Belle.
SOFIA CARSON AS EVIE
How was it going back and filming the second one?
Yes, absolutely, so it was surreal. The first Descendants was my first movie. It changed my life and I fell in love with Evie being able to tell her story and we’ve become such a family and to work with Kenny and everyone is just always a dream, so when we found out the second was green lit, we were just beyond thrilled and for the characters to tell their story. See how they’ve evolved and the movie is just so much bigger in scope. It’s so epic and beautiful and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.
What was it like working with the new actors?
It was so cool. You know, it’s always an interesting dynamic with the core four and they introduce these three new, awesome villains. Uma, Harry and Gil and just from the very first day, it was like they were always a part of the family and they really add such an incredible dimension to the film. They’re so cool. They’re so wicked. Gil is hysterical. Like, so funny and just it, it, we just, it was a perfect match.
Will we see more of Evie’s villainous side in the film?
You’ll see a different of Evie because in the first film, when we met her, Evie was very much her mother’s daughter. Like, very consumed in what she looked like and she’s sadly willing to believe that her reflection in the mirror is what defined her as a person and at the end of the movie, she realizes that as girls, that doesn’t define us. That doesn’t make us important or beautiful or more special. It’s who we are in our hearts and to be the fairest of them all is to be fair inside, um, and in the second movie, Evie’s kind of like, really grown into herself.
Do we see the relationship between Evie and Doug evolve?
Yeah, you’re going to be really happy with what happens in this movie. Absolutely. So they’re business partners. Doug, who’s really good with numbers, is helping her organize the business side. The financials of it all and at the same time, they’re together and, and Evie’s so happy because Doug loves her just the way she is and she loves him for who he is and it’s a really beautiful, sweet relationship and he just adores her. Like, he just sees her and he just, it’s the sweetest thing. Like, he’s the, and he’s also just the coolest guy.
What is the message that you want young women to take from you?
Growing up, I was your daughter. Obsessed with Beyonce, J-Lo, um, Lizzie McGuire, all these incredible female role models. I grew up with a really incredible, strong woman as a mother and a grandmother, so strong female women around me were always, kind of an inspiration to me and I was like, you know what? If I’m ever lucky enough to be able to do what I love, I want to be that for another little girl, so in everything that I do, everything that I say, um, every role that I take on, every song that I release.
It’s very close to my heart to make sure it has an empowering message for your sixteen-year-old daughter out there who I know is looking at me and it could impact her in some way. So I just want them to know that’s kind of what Evie’s message is that as girls, we can do anything and be anything and, and no one should stop us and be beautiful is the most important in the world, but it’s to be beautiful in our hearts.
DOVE CAMERON AS MAL
What was it like getting back into the role of Mal?
So basically, everything that Mal was in the first one, we all as a team, ‘cause a movie is such a collective experience. Like Kenny, and the writers, and myself. We all kind of threw it out the window. Because, as a human does, we all go through life changes and experiences.
She never had anyone growing up, right? And the one person that she did have to rely on, she couldn’t ever really find her footing with. And so, just like that, she was always just like this. She learned to rely on herself. In the second movie when we pick back up, she now knows what it feels like to be authentically loved, and have a space held for her to be supported. Just like any other human, like what, whatever you’re used to, you sort of gravitate towards.
And so, she has no idea how to deal with that. Throughout the movie she kind of goes through a lot of incarnations what she thinks Mal is and doesn’t really find her ‘til the end. So, that was a weird experience for me as an actress, to feel like I knew the character really well, and then to lose her as she’s losing her, and then find her as she does. Just, you know?
You talked about, your character changing and experiencing different things. Did anything from your personal life help you with the stuff that she was going through in finding herself?
Great question. So, yeah. I think as an actor, I kind of do that as much as I can in every role, but Mal is my ride or die. Like Mal is my like– ‘cause I fell in love with her when I read the script back in 2013, they didn’t tell me anything. They, it wasn’t like, “We’re gonna set up an audition.” It was just like, “Will you read this and tell us what you think.” And I have like an emotional like visceral response. I was like she’s my girl. I related to her so much.
What would you want kids to walk away with, the number one message after seeing this movie?
What’s beautiful about having such a broad cast of characters is that we all have our really unique storylines. One of my favorite storylines actually isn’t my own, it’s Lonnie’s. And you’ll see that when the movie comes. But, she has beautiful, beautiful empowering message for girls that like gets me every time I see the movie. I’m like, “Yes Lonnie.” [ALL LAUGH] I’m being serious. I’m being campy, but like it’s so real. But I guess in terms of the whole movie, there’s a beautiful synergy between the fact that the whole cast has been having this like numerous yearlong love affair with each other.
CAMERON BOYCE AS CARLOS
Did you know going into the first one what a huge national phenomenon this would become?
You kind of had the feeling because you know the people that you’re working with specifically Kenny, right, with his resume and High School Musical and things of that nature. So going in we sort of felt like if we really all bought into it could be something special. And I think we accomplished that. And that’s sort of why we’re so excited for the second one to come out is because like you know people are going to flip their tops a little bit so and that’s exciting.
What do you have in common with Carlos?
I mean, I think just because of our ages. I think Carlos is the youngest VK. And I’m obviously the youngest. Other than that, I’m the youngest. So I think it’s sort of like one of those like you know I look up to my older siblings kind of thing. That’s like really sort of I what I would say we have in common. And I think Carlos is sort of, he sort of like a sassy little guy. Like he’s kind of quick. And he has some things about him, you know he’s smart, he’s quick on his feet. So, I don’t know if I’m as quick as Carlos but I would say that’s something too.
What kind of issues is Carlos facing in this film that children can relate to?
There are a lot honestly. I mean from the first movie too, there are a lot of different I guess morals in the story. But I think specifically for Carlos. I think one of the main things that we focus on in this franchise is self-worth and like really making sure that you know you feel like you belong whether you actually do or not, right? Because everyone belongs but you know maybe you don’t feel that way. Maybe the physical or whatever it is is different.
So for Carlos, I think you know he’s the youngest and maybe sort of like, I don’t want to say the weirdest but you know what I mean. But you know he definitely finds himself really in the second movie. And he goes through regular kid things like girl troubles. So all that stuff you know he figures it out eventually. And he reaches out for help which is important, right? He’s sort of a little bit lost and kind of flustered and confused and has like feelings that he has never had before. And instead of sort of keeping it to himself, he’ll say Jay, how I do this? You know what I mean?
BOOBOO STEWART AS JAY
So what’s it like to be back on set doing the second film?
BB : Oh! Um, it’s really good. You’re going into the second movie with the first one doing as well as it did. So there’s definitely nerves. But this movie stands alone. You know, it’s, it’s its own thing.
There are a lot of lessons in this movie, which one stands out?
For Jay, I feel like specifically, it’s the ability to sort of change. There’s a really nice, subtle story line that he has with the character. So he has to… yeah, accepting change and his decision there is a nice storyline.
What would you like young boys to take away from your role?
You know, I feel like this touches on the first film, but even in this film. I feel like young boys are very tough. You know what I mean? And they want to be, like, the toughest and the best. And Jay, in the first film, is a guy. Like you said. He wants to be the best. He wants to be himself… He’s very unsettled. And I’d have to say just having an open mind is such a different thing for a young boy, they’re tough, and this is what they do.
How are you like your character?
I mean, just physically. Um, I like that he’s so active. Like, myself, I’m a very active person. I just got into karate. I do martial arts. Like, every other day I’m… I’m training in martial arts. Hiking and camping and stuff. I don’t know. But a very, like, active. And I think he is, too. Uh, or I know he is.
How do you feel about being not only a role model but a role model for multicultural kids?
Yeah! I love that, honestly. Like in real life, not just in the movie. I hope we’re paving a way for this to be the norm. You walk down the street. (There are all sorts of people) That’s just how it is in life. So why isn’t it like that in movies.
How do you handle the sort of attention?
I guess, from past films that I’ve done, to try to understand, I’ve been around from such a young age I feel like I know how to handle it, I guess. It’s kinda like, I know who I am. So I try not to let that affect me much. And I can tell. And I have friends in my family can tell when it’s gotten to my head just a little bit. Let’s just… you know, reality check here…
CHINA ANNE MCCLAIN AS UMA
What is it like joining the cast of Descendants?
Okay, joining the cast of Descendants was I mean surreal for me. It was an honor because everyone loved the first film. And I was a fan of the first film. I thought it was beautifully put together. And Kenny Ortega is just, I mean, a genius. So, I really wanted to work on it. So, when I got the call I was like, yes.
How did you feel about being Ursula’s daughter?
She is one of my favorite movie villains ever. I mean she has so much attitude. So, my preparation, I watched The Little Mermaid like 20 times before I went to Vancouver to shoot. And I was just looking at her mannerisms, how she talked and everything that she said in a helped me a lot on set.
What was it like to be a VK?
I don’t know if I should say that but it’s cool to play a villain. This is my very first time I think. And we all have those feelings inside that we just want to unleash on people sometimes. And that’s the definition of Uma’s character. I mean she just has always bottled up feelings that she randomly unleashes on people and is not sorry for it at all. So, it was fun playing that and it was just really cool. Yeah, she’s really cool.
What was it like working in those awesome, crazy costumes?
It was difficult working in the costumes because I have on a skirt and then I had heels on and not to mention the heavy braids and the leather jacket I could barely move my arms. So, I had to do a dance number in all of that and part of it is just getting adjusted to it. Like some of the rehearsing that we did, we did three weeks of rehearsing before we started shooting, and part of the rehearsal is I just had the wig on, just randomly. I was like I’m going to wear this so I can get used to doing the dance numbers in it. So, just getting adjusted to it and then after that, it’s pretty much cake.
What was the biggest challenge playing her?
I think the biggest challenge playing Uma was probably making her relatable and trying to make her likable, you know. Because you can’t mess with the VK kids. Fans, they love the VKs and I see why because in the first film there really, really good. And they connected with a lot of kids. So, just making kids not dislike her, you know. Hopefully, them being able to understand her was probably the biggest challenge.
What was it like working with the legendary director choreographer Kenny Ortega?
Kenny is a genius. I can call him that because he really is. I mean he’s worked with everyone. He’s so patient and he doesn’t settle for anything less than your best. Like he’ll push you until you’re like really giving it, you know, going all the way there. And that’s what you want in a director. You want somebody that knows what they want and they have a clear picture of what they want and, you know, knows how to get it out of people. That’s exactly who he is. He’s a genius.
Stars of “Descendants 2,” the sequel to the global hit “Descendants,” celebrate the unprecedented simultaneous premiere on FRIDAY, JULY 21 (8:00 p.m., ET/PT) across six networks including ABC, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Freeform, Lifetime, Lifetime Movies and branded apps.
DESCENDANTS 2 (Premieres this summer on Disney Channel)
*I was invited by the Disney Channel to screen some of the Descendants 2 scenes and interview the cast. All opinions are my own.