John C. Reilly proud of Dis­ney’s stereo­type-break­ing princess scene

The Morning Call (Sunday) - - MOVIES - By Nar­dine Saad

Dis­ney has princess prob­lems, but “Ralph Breaks the In­ter­net” ain’t one. At least not ac­cord­ing to ac­tor John C. Reilly, who plays the tit­u­lar hulk­ing hero in the an­i­mated film.

Reilly re­cently com­mended the stu­dio for ad­dress­ing — if not cor­rect­ing — fe­male stereo­types the stu­dio per­pet­u­ated for decades.

“It couldn’t be more timely than right now in terms of women find­ing their voices and want­ing to be heard and feel­ing like the stereo­types that the world ap­plies to women are un­fair,” Reilly said in a re­cent in­ter­view with IGN.

In a mem­o­rable scene, Ralph’s part­ner Vanel­lope von Sch­weetz (Sarah Sil­ver­man) re­luc­tantly en­coun­ters a throng of Dis­ney’s iconic roy­als, who try to size her up ac­cord­ing to their stan­dards.

“Do peo­ple as­sume all your prob­lems got solved be­cause a big strong man showed up?” Ra­pun­zel (Mandy Moore) asks Vanel­lope, get­ting meta and self-aware all in one scene.

“We are sat­i­riz­ing sort of the crown jewel ... ,” co-di­rec­tor Phil John­ston re­cently told The Times. “But they loved it. They were like, ‘Keep go­ing, go far­ther.’”

Co-di­rec­tor Rich Moore added that Dis­ney ex­ec­u­tives re­sponded pos­i­tively to the satire: “They said, ‘Ev­ery­one else has fun at our ex­pense.

Why can’t we?’ It’s al­most like we could do the best satire of our char­ac­ters be­cause we know them so well.”

As for Reilly, he thought it was “a re­ally cool, brave, for­ward-think­ing thing for the com­pany to do.”

“To take re­spon­si­bil­ity for some of these stereo­types that they cre­ated — some of these unattain­able fe­male stereo­types — and look at them head on and say like, ‘OK, maybe it was un­fair to make peo­ple feel like they had to have a waist­line that’s 17 inches or some­thing,” he said.

Re­cur­ring fairy-tale tropes in­volv­ing unattain­able beauty, romance, con­sent and pa­ter­nal­ism have been con­tentious for years. How­ever, the stu­dio has been mov­ing away from them with more re­cent, fe­male-led films such as “Brave,” “Frozen” and “Moana.”

Still, the com­pany faced a back­lash in 2015 for Lily James’ tiny waist­line in the live-ac­tion “Cin­derella,” a con­tro­versy that prompted self-pro­claimed fem­i­nist Emma Wat­son’s re­fusal to wear a corset in the 2017 “Beauty and the Beast” live­ac­tion film.

Even “Ralph Breaks the In­ter­net” wasn’t with­out con­tro­versy.

Ear­lier this year, the stu­dio was ac­cused of white-wash­ing “The Princess and the Frog’s” Tiana in a trailer teas­ing Vanel­lope’s princess scene. Af­ter racial jus­tice groups and Anika Noni Rose, the ac­tress who voiced Tiana, protested the char­ac­ter’s de­pic­tion, Dis­ney and Pixar an­i­ma­tors went back to the draw­ing board to re­cast the African Amer­i­can princess.


Vanel­lope von Sch­weetz, voiced by Sarah Sil­ver­man (fore­ground cen­ter), pos­ing for s selfie with Dis­ney princesses in ‘Ralph Breaks the In­ter­net.’

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