Chatting with Booboo Stewart
Coming to the Disney Channel on July 31 is a wicked tale with some amazing twists.
With a knowing wink to traditional fairy tales, Disney’s “Descendants” fuses castles with classrooms to create a contemporary, music-driven story about the challenges adolescent offspring face in living up to parental and peer expectations.
With unexpected characterization, plot twists and turns, and dashes of wry humor, the movie is designed to appeal to kids and grownups alike as its story playfully presents the possibilities of what happened after the “happily ever after.”
Driven by exciting music and performance, the story is set in the idyllic kingdom of Auradon where Ben, the benevolent teenaged son of the King and Queen (Beast and Belle from “Beauty and the Beast”), is poised to take the throne. His first proclamation: offer a chance at redemption to Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay, the trouble-making offspring of Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Cruella de Vil and Jafar, who have been imprisoned on the forbidden Isle of the Lost for 20 years.
These villainous descendants are allowed into Auradon for the first time to attend prep school alongside the teenage progeny of Fairy Godmother, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Mulan.
Only time will tell if these evil teens follow in the footsteps of their wicked parents!
I had the opportunity to speak with Booboo Stewart who plays Jay, the son of Jafar. This young man is quite busy living on the Isle of the Lost. Attending Auradon he has the chance to be a outstanding player on the tourney team learning the value of teamwork and friendship.
Hi Booboo, thanks for joining us! How are you?
I’m doing very well.
I was watching some of your handiwork as Jay for Disney’s “Descendants.” You are in the middle of an intense project and fun at the same time. How did you become involved in it?
I took some meetings and did mixing with other casts and came to the conclusion I was going to play Jay. It was a fun process actually. I actually brought a bag with a magic carpet etc.
So you got into character.
It was fun.
In the trailer and film it really looks like you are having a good time.
Honestly, we had such a good time and extremely fun. Our director Kenny Ortega is brilliant and we had fun both on and off the set. It really was great.
Your stories are so intermingled; it’s a different take on the Disney classic stories.
What did you think when you first read the script?
I first read the script in a secured locked room.
Chained to a desk.
Chained to a desk! I had a great first impression from it. Knowing what Kenny could do it was only going to grow from there. The writing was brilliant and it takes you for a ride. You have to have a lot of imagination when you watch the film, just as you do with every Disney film. Imagination is key! You really can tell that we all had a good time making it as you said. There is never a dull point in the story. It’s just very action oriented from start to finish.
You are all surrounded by an impressive group of parents, Jafar being your father played by Maz Jobrani. What was it like to work with Kristen Chenowith who plays Maleficent, Kathy Najimy who plays the Evil Queen and Wendy Robinson as Cruella de Vil?
Kathy is freaking hilarious, she is so funny in the movie and one of my favorites in the film. On set it was a struggle not to laugh when she was doing her scenes. Working with people like that you sit back and listen and take it in. Those are moments you do not get to experience a lot of. Like when I worked with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in “X-MEN: Days Of Future Past” playing the character of Warpath, Ian and I talked for over an hour and I was blown away.
Those are the moments where you sit and think “wow, I’m actually here doing this!”
I absolutely think exactly that. When you are in it doing different films and travelling, people are letting you in, in different ways. This is really a big deal. There are moments that make you think that they are helping me make a great film along with great people.
Are you going to sit back and one day think, “I was in a Disney film!”
You know what, I have been a part of a couple of different franchises and I think I will always have those moments. I know I have people who say “I loved you as Seth” (from the “Twilight” franchise) so I know it will never go away. It’s being known for those things with each one. It becomes a part of you and it’s really interesting and weird.
People don’t realize that before “Seth” became famous, you had already put yourself out there in so many roles like “The Haunting Hour.” I saw you and thought, “oh my gosh he’s so little!”
Yes, I haven’t been around too long a time but I’ve definitely been here and experienced a lot in a short amount of time. I love everything I’ve done, I love it all.
I noticed you are working on so many things at once; can we bottle your energy? You are just go, go, go!
Yes, the last few years have been crazy times for sure. Now things are starting to come out and it’s a little more relaxed getting things together. Right now I’m being very particular in what I do next because I need to feel strongly about the things I do. I can’t just go to the set and do lines, that can’t happen. I want to pick and chose.
What are you working on next?
I’m doing a film called “Pitching Tents.” It’s an ’80s-buddy-coming-of-age comedy. It’s a lot of fun. I was re-reading the script yesterday to get prepared and it’s funnier than I thought it was.
You have done serious, you’ve done comedy, television and action, is there a favorite genre that you lean toward?
Drama, I love drama. I really love doing serious stuff, I mean it’s all serious but drama has more play. My favorite hands down is drama when you have a scene you truly care about you can make it powerful and there is no other feeling like it when it comes together.
So you feel that it challenges you more?
Absolutely, it challenges me so much depending on what the character is. I really enjoy that aspect of it.
To wrap this up and come back to Disney’s “Descendants,” what is your favorite scene in the film that you did?
There are so many great pieces in “Descendants.”
Okay, which made you laugh the most.
There is a scene when all the villain kids are with their parents and Kathy Najimy was so funny in the scene. I tried to keep it together when we were doing off scene dialogue but it was almost impossible because she was hilarious.
Well congratulations young man, we enjoy following what you do and where you are going and what you are doing next!
Thanks for talking with me!
And what would the Magic Kingdom be without music as “Descendents.” Kenny Ortega, the Emmy Award-winning director and choreographer of Disney’s “High School Musical” franchise, directs, choreographs and executive-produces the movie.
The film brings songs such as “Rotten to the Core” performed by Mal, Evie, Jay and Carlos, “Evil Like Me” performed by Mal and Maleficent, “Did I Mention” sung by Prince Ben along with “If Only,” “Be Our Guest,” “Set It Off” and the finale song “Believe” performed by artist Shawn Mendes.
So gather the family at 8 p.m. July 31 for a little magical fun for everyone and a proclaimed good time to be had by all with Disney’s “Descendants.”