Disney villains are a part of everyone's childhood. We were either terrified of them or we secretly wanted to be them (me!). Nonetheless, you'd be remiss to find someone who didn't know who Maleficent or the Evil Queen were. But, what if those evil villains became parents? Would their children be as wicked as they were? In the Disney Channel's newest original movie musical, "Descendants," we get to find out.
Mal (Dove Cameron), the daughter of Maleficent (Kristen Chenoweth); Evie (Sofia Carson), the daughter of the Evil Queen (Kathy Najimy); Carlos (Cameron Boyce), the son of Cruella DeVille; and, Jay (Booboo Stewart), the son of Jafar, are sent to Auradon to attend Auradon Prep at the request of Prince Ben (Mitchell Hope) who happens to be the son of Belle and the Beast. Reluctant at first, the villains convince their kids to go and help them get their vengeance. The kids must eventually decide if they truly are just like their parents, or, perhaps, can have their very own happy ending.
We got a chance to sit down with 21-year-old Sofia Carson for an exclusive chat where she talked about what it was like growing up bicultural, the benefits of being bilingual and working with director Kenny Ortega.
Q: What did you feel that first moment you stepped onto the set as Evie?
Sofia Carson: I remember the second I put the wig on. I had my makeup done, put my leather jacket on, and I immediately felt like Evie. The first day on set we were shooting the opening number, "Rotten to the Core," and we were in this incredible world that they had created for the movie called "Isle of the Lost." It was such a crazy whirlwind, it was almost electric, the energy that you felt. We all knew how special this was and what a special moment we were sharing.
Q: Evie is my favorite character. She is both feminine and boy crazy, yet so strong and intelligent — and I think so often, we see that girls have to be one or the other, but Evie is both...
Sofia Carson: Yeah, it's a delicate balance. You know, she is the Evil Queen's daughter, so she was raised to be very vain, and to be very feminine and to be completely boy crazy. She's obsessed with having a Prince Charming because that's all her mom taught her. But she discovers her mom was so wrong and what matters isn't her reflection in the mirror, but who she is on the inside. Just accepting who you are, your weird quirks, that's such a beautiful story. That's what I see in Evie's story, that you can be beautiful and fun and flirty and also be smart, strong, and intelligent and be a woman, and be proud of that.
Q: I read that you are bilingual and bicultural, like many Latino kids are today. Can you tell me what it's like growing up bilingual and bicultural nowadays?
Sofia Carson: My mom is Colombian, so I was raised going to Colombia every year to see my family. I am lucky enough that I get to speak both languages and they are both a part of who I am. Also, we were raised eating mac and cheese and popcorn, but also, deditos de queso, empanadas, arroz con pollo and listening to boleros, or reggaeton, but also listening to Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and others. We've been raised completely biculturally. I think it's a cool experience; I never really knew or appreciated [the] good it would do me in my future to be bicultural — to have both cultures with me and both languages — than right now in this moment in my career. Speaking Spanish has been such a plus and I feel so proud to be Colombian, and to be Latin and to go around the world and speak my languages. It's great.
Q: You have said before that being bicultural helped you relate to Evie, and that you brought that into your role. Can you tell me a little about why?
Sofia Carson: I think that Evie's journey from the Isle of the Lost to Auradon, it's like she's going to a whole new world, a whole new culture, so to speak. I think that's what a lot of our families went through, coming to the United States. The whole idea of growing up and getting to know who she is, balancing what culture she wants to be a part of, that's very similar to being bicultural.
Q: You got to work with Kenny Ortega, who is a legend. He's directed and choreographed the likes of Gene Kelly, Michael Jackson, and so many greats. What was it like to be working under his direction?
Sofia Carson: It was a dream! I have been singing and dancing since I was 3 years old, so it's been one of my biggest passions. So, of course, I was a huge Kenny Ortega fan! I remember walking into the room for one of my auditions as Evie, and he was in the room. My jaw was on the floor! I didn't even know how to speak — utter words — in front of him but it was amazing. It was kind of incredible to witness his brilliance. He had this incredible vision for the film and he wouldn't rest every single day until he got that on camera. It was the relentless pursuit of perfection, as my mom and I say.
Q: What advice would you give parents of kids who are passionate about the arts?
Sofia Carson: Let them believe in their dreams and believe in their dreams as well.