The new Christmas-themed film Godmothered is set to be released on Disney Plus on Dec. 4, but one of the film’s stars, Isla Fisher, feels strongly about the impacts around social media and the concept of “going viral,” one of the themes addressed in the film.
“I think social media, just as a platform, has to just be rethought in a major way,” Fisher said bluntly at a virtual press conference for the film. “It’s spreading conspiracy and hate and lies, and it’s threatening our planet and democracy, and the publishers should abide by...basic practices and standards and not be spreading nonsense, and being a platform for hate groups to join up.”
“I’m a big believer now that we’re on a precipice, we need to get in involved and...stop these big corporations changing the way we all think.”
Fisher’s character in Godmothered, Mackenzie, works at a local news station in Boston and her boss Grant, played by Utkarsh Ambudkar, loves a sensational news story. Mackenzie ends up meeting Eleanor (Jillian Bell), a young fairy godmother-in-training who is on a mission to show that there is still a place for fairy godmothers in the world. Eleanor finds a letter Mackenzie wrote as a 10-year-old and tracks her down to help bring her happiness, only to discover she is now a 40-year-old single mother who lost her husband years earlier.
Jillian Shea Spaeder and Willa Skye play Fisher’s two daughters in Godmother, but Spaeder in particular, has a bit of a different perspective on social media.
“Having grown up on social media though, I can say it is a negative space but also has this beautiful light to it where I’ve seen a lot of people my age and younger who are getting very involved in big topics they should be involved in,” the 18-year-old actor said. “It can be so negative but it also has this beautiful thing that none of us would have ever gotten to experience without it.”
‘Who doesn’t grow up wanting to be a Disney princess?’
Aside from the more serious topics underscored in the film, Bell said it was a dream of hers to play a Disney character with magical powers dressed in a giant pink ballgown.
“I mean, who doesn’t grow up wanting to be a Disney princess?” she said. “I’d always been looking for some kind of a magical being to play because my goal in life was to play a witch, and this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to it.”
“This was definitely a goal,...I’m still blown away that I got the part and got to act amongst all these people.”
Bell actually went to a bridal store and tried on a number of different bridal dresses as part of the creation of her costume, which she wears throughout the film.
“I remember seeing other women there that were trying on dresses to be married, and they were looking at me, and I was in the poofiest thing falling out of the dressing room, and they were all like ‘congratulations,’” the actor said.
Godmothered also features the iconic Emmy-winner Jane Curtin as Moira, the headmistress who wrote the book on “godmothering” and is training Eleanor. Curtin is actually from the Boston area so she particularly enjoyed working in the city where it felt like she was “going home.”
Santiago Cabrera is a kind of “Prince Charming” character, a departure from his recent role in Big Little Lies, but it’s the unconventional storyline for his character that drew the actor to the role.
“You always wanna change things up but I also like that it wasn’t your typical prince,” Cabrera said at the virtual press conference. “He was the guy who’s like a serious journalist who wanted to report important stories and good news, and he’s in this like last in the ratings,...sensationalist morning show, being abused by his boss.”
The cast also sounded off on their favourite Disney movie, with Cabrera picking WALL-E and Bell picking Lady and the Tramp. Artemis Pebdani (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), who plays Mackenzie’s coworker at the news station, chose a Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast.
‘Fairytale stories are a little bit offensive’
Fisher hopes that people who watch this film, particularly young girls, learn that “happy ever after doesn’t necessarily include a castle, a prince, and a dress.”
“Obviously a lot of the fairytale stories are a little bit offensive,” Fisher said. “They’re pushing a certain type of male, being rescued by a Prince or a woman without a mother, an abandoned woman, or a woman as a witch, as a stepmother.”
“As a parent, they don’t necessarily match my ideals. So, I’ve always sort of reform them and restructure them, and I’ve always exchanged words like beautiful for good or smart... I think that’s what all kind of modern moms do...we’re just trying to subvert the stereotypes that are there because they’re so old.
Curtin believes in a similar message for the film, stressing that “it’s not 1860 anymore.”
“Happily-ever-after is what you want, it’s what you believe and it’s a goal that you can achieve on your own,” Curtain said. “It’s reliant on you and your spirit, and I think that that’s really something that we all have to remember is that we are capable of such amazing things and such positive things for ourselves and for others, and that’s happily ever after.”