California School of the Arts

Interview with Dianne Doan and Brenna D’Amico from Disney’s ‘Descendants 2’

In the sequel to Disney’s “Descendants,” Mal (Dove Cameron) returns to the Isle after constantly yearning to become wicked again. Her friends Jay (Booboo Stewart), Carlos (Cameron Boyce), Evie (Sofia Carson) and Ben (Mitchell Hope) must attempt to bring her back from the Isle but run into unforeseen consequences when Uma (China Anne McClain) comes to stop them. Accompanying them on their journey is Lonnie (Dianne Doan), the daughter of Mulan, as well as Jane (Brenna D’Amico), the daughter of Fairy Godmother.

Lonnie plays a more major role in the sequel.

“You didn’t get to meet a lot of her in the first film and I think in this one she’s just more outspoken. Lonnie really stands up for herself, what she wants to do, and who she wants to be. Booboo’s character Jay recognizes this and accepts it. I don’t become a villain kid but I definitely join them on their fight on the Isle,” Doan said.

Jane, on the other hand, has evolved in many ways throughout the two films.

“In the first movie, she was very insecure and she had a hard time accepting herself. But in the second movie, she’s matured more, she’s not scared of the Villain Kids anymore and she’s taken on the role of planning the cotillion at the end of the movie,” D’Amico said. “I’m really proud that she grew out of her insecurity.”

Most of the cast members filmed their own stunts throughout the action scenes and dance numbers. They went through intense training for three and a half weeks, even practicing up to nine hours a day.

“It was a constant rehearsal with so much to memorize and contain in our brains. It was a lot but I think you can really see how the choreography was enough that they didn’t have to edit it that much,” Doan said. “We were able to do our own stunts so it was really cool and it was all worth it, but it was exhausting.”

(from left to right) Booboo Stewart, Dianne Doan, Cameron Boyce (Courtesy of DisneyABCPress)

“I’m most excited for everybody to see the action. The musical numbers are insane, the sets are a lot bigger and people get to look at the Isle a little more,” D’Amico said. “I didn’t start out being a dancer but luckily very talented people surrounded me and they helped me along the way.”

The cast filmed the last number for the finale at the very beginning of production. After two years, the cast reunited for the shooting of that scene.

“It was really amazing because every person and all the VKs and Auradon kids were all reunited. It just crazy to be back, two years later, all together and make this huge production. That was the most fun one. There was a huge dance number and it was a huge moment for us,” Doan said.

From Cinderella to Mulan, fairytales have inspired generation after generation. Breanna and Doan talk about their inspirations as a child and how they hopes to inspire the new, younger generation.

“I’ve been inspired by Cinderella. I love that film so much. Cinderella was always being put down and made feel insecure but she pushed through and was so strong and she just took the best outta bad situation and I respect her for that,” D’Amico said. “I hope to inspire [the younger generation] in the way that Jane found out how to accept herself and I wish that anybody who is insecure pushes through it and conquers [them].”

(from left to right) Brenna D’Amico, Cameron Boyce (Courtesy of DisneyABCPress)

“I grew up personally obsessed with Mulan, and so when I booked this role it really was such a dream and an honor to play her daughter. I think it was because I recognized and related to her. She wasn’t a princess and she wasn’t a damsel in distress, and to see that portrayed on television and in a movie was so important to me. I could be a hero of some sort,” Doan said. “I think that it is just amazing that I get to be that for other girls that are watching the movie.”

“Descendants 2” was directed by Kenny Ortega, who also directed the “High School Musical” trilogy as well as Michael Jackson’s “This is It” concerts. The film promotes many different messages for the audience to take away.

“This film is amazing. One of the main messages in the movie is trying not to lose yourself while trying to make other people happy. I hope they take away that message. There’s a lot of girl empowerment in this movie,” D’Amico said. “Some of my advice is to know your worth, be confident, prove people wrong if they say you can’t do something and to just know that you are worth it and you are not below anybody.”