When the original Disney Channel movie was first broadcast 20 years ago, Halloween village He made history. It was the first with a female lead, paving the way for other memorable DCOMs with stubborn teenage heroines. But Halloween village it's not just Marnie's story: it tells the story of three generations of women joining forces to fight against evil.
The women Cromwell, Aggie (Debbie Reynolds), Gwen (Judith Hoag), Marnie (Kimberly J. Brown) and Sophie (Emily Chapman née Roeske), are not perfect. Marnie is willing to embrace her witch roots against the wishes of her mother Gwen, while attacking her shy but curious little sister Sophie and the skeptical brother Dylan on their Halloweentown adventure. And Gwen also feels misunderstood because she is desperately trying to protect her children and keep things together as a single mother. Then there is the matriarch Aggie, who, like Reynolds herself, personifies grace while also having a little advantage, doing everything possible to keep the Cromwell tradition alive, even when her daughter Gwen refuses to do so.
Their dynamics have their conflicts, but that is what resonates so much for the spectators. It even attracts older fans who may relate to not feeling "normal", although it's much better to stay true to yourself instead of pretending to be something you're not. "I hope people continue to feel encouraged and follow the lead of Marnie and Aggie and the entire Cromwell family and stand up for what they believe," says Kimberly J. Brown, speaking by phone with Bustle in October.
Halloween village it became an iconic TV movie that went beyond being recognizable to Disney Channel fans, because of the unique way it captures the magic of Halloween. In fact, the fans loved it so much that it became a franchise, which ended in 2006 with a fourth movie. (Finishing for now, at least.)
Celebrating Halloween villageOn the twentieth anniversary, this exclusive look at the classic DCOM explores how it has retained its fan base, reveals some established secrets and wonders how that fifth potential installation could be.
The creation of Halloween village
According to screenwriter Paul Bernbaum, producers Sheri Singer and Steve White called him to write a Halloween-themed film for NBC, but the network finally passed. The producers ended up working on the Disney Channel and decided to reconsider the script.
Paul Bernbaum (Screenwriter): I wrote the script, in fact, Marnie, Dylan and Sophie are the names of my children. The NBC decided to transmit it. I cut five years later and I get a call from Steve that says: "Hey, we're doing it. Halloween village, we're going to shoot him. "I was stunned, because that never happens.
Duwayne Dunham (Director): Originally I had wanted to do Edge!, but they offered me Halloween village. Y Halloween village It was huge It was a feature script, and it had feature ideas, and there's no way we have the budget or the time.
The NBC version was directed more towards a larger audience, while the DCOM had to be lighter and more familiar. Disney Channel also had the same budget as NBC, so many things had to change in the script to make it more filmable.
Dunham: We probably sat with the writers in the studio for two weeks in a row going over the script. It was unheard of to allow a director to take over the script that way and change it so radically. But for Disney's credit, they did it. They trusted in the process and we kept the spirit of the thing, and we did not manipulate it at all. We just made it possible to shoot in our budget and calendar.
Bernbaum: The NBC version [of the script] It was actually darker … I remember a general sequence in which they traveled at night through Halloweentown, and it became really scary.
Foundry Halloween village
Debbie Reynolds was a Hollywood legend. At that time, Judith Hoag was best known for her role as April in the 1990s. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; and Robin Thomas had had recurring roles in television shows as Another world Y Who is the boss?, but the rest of the cast was relatively unknown.
Kimberly J. Brown (Marnie): I loved the idea of playing a teenager who was discovering who she was, that it is such a happy moment in a person's life, and that joy is very charged. But I think it's so exciting to have a kind of supernatural turn in that, since Marnie is discovering who she is. Not every day you discover that you have magical powers.
J. Paul Zimmerman (Dylan): I was 12 years old and in reality I had just changed agencies to act. It was the first thing they threw at me … I read it and I loved it because I am and always have been all about science fiction, fantasy, horror, Halloween and everything.
Dunham: Disney Channel wanted some kind of name value. And Debbie brought something to her.
Judith Hoag (Gwen): There were two other very convincing things.[about[about[acercade[aboutHalloween village]. The number one thing was the opportunity to work with Debbie Reynolds. She is a legend. The second thing with that was a very sweet script, it was a great script.
Robin Thomas (Kalabar): This was a fun project. It's Disney, so that speaks for itself in terms of material quality. It is always fun to play the bad guy. This boy was a funny guy, a magician and also a sorcerer. What better role to play?
Giving life to the magic of Halloween village In the set
With a small budget and a network that was fairly new to create their new series of original films, the cast and crew had to work hard to create the innate magic of Halloweentown.
Zimmerman: The heroes of the first. Halloween village they are the inhabitants of the town. It was burdensome because they were working all the time and besides that, it's Halloween village but we filmed it in July of '98 and it was incredibly hot in Oregon. It was like one of the hottest summers they had ever had, so there were people with this huge fish mask, and the crazy alien mask and stuff, and people were fainting.
Thomas: When I was standing on the balcony of the City Hall, I was screaming at the crowd below. I remember that they did not put a body microphone on me. I had to project my voice down. There were fans. [I was] 150 feet or so from the camera. That was a challenge. I blew my pipes.
Dunham: The only thing that was expensive was the skeleton, Benny the taxi driver. It was built and articulated … but it was a great character, so it justified the expense.
Zimmerman: [Filming the scene where Benny grabs Dylan] It was probably one of the funniest days of my life. To get to the scene where I am like fighting with a skeleton, all dreams came true … It was a combination of all these people making faces at the same time and body movements from the cockpit. They just fix their hands on my shirt or whatever. So I did not fight so much for me, but for jumping, since almost no force is applied from the false skeleton.
Thomas: As mayor-magician Kalabar, I had to learn magic tricks. That was not one of my skills. I had to practice with a cane, I practiced with a stick appeared and tricks of coins where I take out a palette of my ear and a coin of [Sophie’s] ear. That was fun.
Remembering Debbie Reynolds
the Halloween village The star passed away on December 28, 2016, just one day after the death of his daughter Carrie Fisher. Reynolds appeared throughout the Halloween village Films, forming a close bond with many of his castmates over the years.
Hoag Debbie told me and I've never forgotten: "Judith, if you do not have followers, you do not have a career." I used to laugh and say, "Debbie would pose with a coat rack." She said, "Oh, no, no, this is my career here, this is my bread and butter."
Brown: In fact, I have a note from her that she gave me when we finished the third film that I have framed all these years. I keep it in my office so I can see it every day and remember its spirit and its highly contagious and joyful energy … She had always encouraged me a lot, and we actually spent a lot of time. Together socially after the third film, so we were able to continue our relationship outside of shooting the movies, which was very special for me.
Hoag What I liked the most was sitting with her and having a glass of wine. That was the best because then the stories really came to light. She was not a big drinker, so it was just a glass. But boy, that was all I needed, and all the stories were starting to come out. It was fun, but certainly stories that you can not necessarily repeat.
Brown: I remember one day there was a giant ladder, and they needed him to move, and she came up and tried to push it and move it for the crew, and they said, "No, no, no, Miss Reynolds, stop! "She is very generous and wanted everyone to shine as brightly as they could, and that was something that always stuck with me.
Hoag Actually, you're not supposed to [move things on set]. Because there are different unions and the person who moves the ladder actually belongs to a union. But sometimes you have to keep moving: they're running out of daylight or they're running out of time and you just sit up and do it, and that's really old school, like, "Hey, kids, let's put on a show."
Zimmerman: Emily was 6 years old in the first movie, this super adorable little girl. And Debbie is warming her up and saying, "I'm Debbie Reynolds, nice to meet you, do you know who I am?" Emily has no idea, and Debbie says, "Oh, well, do you know Princess Leia? Star Wars? I am the mother of Princess Leia. "This is in the & # 39; 98, before Star Wars He really kicked again, and Emily says, "No, I have no idea who you are." And Debbie says, "Oh, well, I'm just a crazy old woman, do not even listen to me."
Thomas: I remember we were doing a scene in an ice cream parlor, and she told me something that was spicy and I was trying to remember it and I do not want to invent something just to be smart, but I just had a belly laugh. This was her way, it was sweet and spicy. And that's why people loved her.
Zimmerman: We were firing Halloweentown High Inside the house and something happened in the backyard and we all ran out. I think Debbie was at the front. We were all trying to figure out who should go first. I was trying to run away and [said] "Kimberly, you're running after me." And Debbie says, "Oh, you just want her to run after you so you can feel her boobie on your back." Where would you expect that in a million years it would come out of Debbie Reynolds?
The cast ended up working on four films together (with the exception of Brown, who was replaced in the fourth film, to the great dismay of the fans). But turning Halloween village in a franchise it was partly possible thanks to the close bond that the cast members had, and still have.
Brown: We really enjoy spending time together and making movies together and exploring different aspects of our characters' relationships and having fun, and I think that translates to the screen.
Zimmerman: For a long time after the movies, I still lived at home with my family and my parents were friends with Kimberly's parents. We would go to see them quite often and throughout the year and those things, and when I walked away from L.A., I ended up losing contact with everyone.
Hoag One of my favorite things is to go have lunch with Kimberly or go hiking or something, we love to hang out. I do not really see the other guys. Emily lives far away and Joe, he is a bit far.
Thomas: I had not seen anyone in 20 years [until this year’s “Spirit of Halloweentown” festival]. When I got there and went down to the baggage claim area, there's a guy standing in a trench coat with a handbag, he looks at me and points me out, and I look up and say, "Oh, my God, that's J. Paul Zimmerman! "We were supposed to go to work, and I go into a kind of waiting room in a green room, and there's a young girl standing there and she looks at me, and she smiles and I introduce myself. "Hi, Robin Thomas." And she said: "Hi, I'm Sophie." And I did not recognize it at all. It was Emily, and we hugged.
This summer, Brown seemed to confirm that he was in a relationship with Daniel Kountz (Kal), his former co-star, in a romantic Instagram post. And the fans were obviously delighted.
Brown: I'm glad that the fans have fun. And it's kind of funny, because every time something is published, there's usually a new group that sees the image for the first time and says, "Wait a minute, what?" I am so excited that even people, not only care who I'm dating, but want to know more.
Embracing the Halloween village Fandom
Two decades after the movie was aired for the first time, it still has a steady and constantly growing fan base, partly composed of those who saw it when it first came out, who showed it to their own children.
Brown: They still recognize me on a daily basis and people write me these beautiful notes about how the movie helped them when they were growing up and how it helped them show that they did not have to be normal to fit in and how they really understood that concept. . I have heard people say that it was their high school yearbook appointment and only that general message really took them through different periods of their lives.
Zimmerman: I recognized a family and with them a little girl who could not be more than 4 or 5 years old. Clearly, I was not even born when I made the last movie. And the family says: "Hey, nice to meet you." They look at the girl and say: "Do you recognize that guy?" And she says: "Dylan!" I almost had a heart attack!
Hoag I was very lucky because I did it Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and I'm sure the first thing in my obituary will be that I played with April O & # 39; Neil. But it's going to be followed closely by Gwen in Halloween village. That movie has some staying power.
Brown: I think also in social networks and all that in recent years has been really amazing to see the gifs and cosplay … I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams that something like this would happen.
Dunham: It's always fun when someone comes up to you and says, "Oh, Halloween villageI love that movie. "In the story of the things I've done, I hope someone says," Oh, Star Warsyou worked in Star Wars"OR In search of the lost ark or maybe Back home or even Little gigants.[Dunhameditado[Dunhamedited[Dunhameditado[DunhameditedThe return of the Jedi Y In search of the lost ark before becoming a director.]
Thomas: It's really fun because I go to other movie events or show premieres and people come up to me and say: "Oh! Halloween village! Kalabar! "
Zimmerman: I think it was last year when I started seeing tattoos, the people of Spirit of Halloweentown showed up with these incredible Halloween village Pumpkin tattoos and stuff, with quotes from the movie. I did not even know what to say!
Other Halloween village continuation?
Last year, executive producer Sheri Singer told E! that he would love to do another Halloween village movie. It turns out, the cast is definitely willing to meet once again and continue the story.
Brown: I am open to anything, and I am so humble that people want to see more and still want to talk about it.
Zimmerman: Absolutely, let's do it again. I will, we need everyone to get on board. Yes, please, let's do it!
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Hoag I think there's more history in these stories. I think that now I would change the character of Marnie and she is the mother and they are her children. And I think there are still more that can be extracted in Halloweentown. Kimberly should be back, because we need our Kimberly to come back.
What it does Halloween village So special, 20 years later
Most DCOMs make fans feel nostalgic, but there is something particularly special about Halloween villagethe power stays.
Bernbaum: I think up High School Musical, Halloween village It was the most successful original movie they had.
Dunham: The experience of looking.
He[[Halloween village]It is not very different from the memories we have of trickery or treatment when we were children. It's scary, but not too scary, it's fun, there's a bit of independence there, and you're running with your friends. Maybe when people see it, remember the fun of it, the fun of going out on Halloween.
Hoag I think the dynamics of women are so complicated and so beautiful. I have three generations who will come to me and say "My mom and I used to watch this movie, now I see her with my daughter". For me, that is simply exciting. I love seeing anything that empowers women.
Brown: It has a lot of magic and love, and I would like everyone to know that they are loved and accepted and that they are a kind of all the themes that accompany the film.