NY Daily News – November 30th 2020

Isla Fisher and Jillian Bell explain how ‘Godmothered’ modernizes the fairy tale movie genre

Starring in Disney’s new fairy-tale flick “Godmothered” was a wish come true for Isla Fisher and Jillian Bell.

The actresses said they could feel the magic as they introduced an updated take on the genre that shows girls don’t need to wait around for a prince in order to live happily ever after.

“Fairy tales are often filled with stereotypes that we don’t really want kids to pick up on,” Fisher, who is a mother of three, told the Daily News.

“This was a great way to say, ‘You don’t need a dress and a castle and a prince.’ We’re doing something modern.”

The feel-good fantasy comedy, which hits Disney+ on Friday, follows Bell’s fairy-godmother-in-training, Eleanor, as she attempts to prove to her jaded elders that kids still need them.

Eleanor’s mission leads her to Fisher’s character, Mackenzie, a single mother of two whose request as a child to be assigned a fairy godmother went ignored for decades. Eleanor means well but is often clumsy, which presents challenges for Mackenzie, who works for a struggling news station in Boston.

Bell says the role of Eleanor initially appealed to her due to the young fairy godmother’s magical powers. She became even more charmed as she stepped into the role.

“She’s someone who is naive and determined, optimistic, has great intentions but not always the right delivery,” said Bell, who is known for “Workaholics,” “22 Jump Street” and “Brittany Runs a Marathon.”

“She’s actually someone I can truly relate to,” Bell, 36, told The News with a laugh. “I feel like I’m a pretty positive person and sometimes I want to see the best in people, even if they maybe don’t (make) the best decisions for me.”

The role of Mackenzie, meanwhile, allowed Fisher to play a more grounded character to contrast with Bell’s eccentric one, which the “Wedding Crashers” star saw as an opportunity to hone her acting skills.

“She was struggling with her young family and living moment-to-moment, rather than stopping and appreciating her family as her happily ever after,” Fisher, 44, said of her character. “I thought (the movie) was a fun concept. It reminded me of ‘Broadcast News’ meets ‘Elf.’ ”

In addition to appreciating the deeper messages in the film, both Fisher and Bell relished being part of a story featuring two strong and funny female characters.

“Female friendship on screen is super important and interesting, and sometimes messy and funny and ridiculous,” Bell said. “It’s not explored enough, so I loved it in this script when I read it. When I imagined Isla and I doing it together, I was like, this is something special.”

Bell said she’s long wanted to play a witch in a project, but found portraying the anything-but-wicked Eleanor to be just as enchanting.

“They actually gave me a wand that I still have now that I brought back to the hotel room to practice with when I was doing dialogue and practicing the spells,” Bell said. “You find it hard not to feel like a kid again.”