It’s been 25 years since Halloweentown first premiered, and as the first-ever Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM), the family-friendly franchise has made a significant cultural impact. Co-stars (and newly engaged couple) Kimberly J. Brown and Daniel Kountz spoke to People about the film’s monumental anniversary and what makes the Halloweentown franchise one of a kind. Though Brown, who played teen witch Marnie Piper in the first three installments, says she had absolutely no idea that Halloweentown would become a classic, just filming it felt special.
“I guess we knew it was a special movie in the sense that we had so much fun making it and the cast all genuinely got along really well and just had a great time doing it and were excited to have everybody see it,” Brown said, reminiscing on how it felt to watch the success of Halloweentown help grow Disney Channel into a household name.
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“Disney Channel was so new at the time…so they weren’t even in every household yet. It was really interesting to watch Halloweentown grow, but also watch Disney Channel really blow up into what it is now.”
And Kountz, who joined the franchise as the son of an evil warlock in 2001’s Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge, recalls everyone on set being “nice and warm.”
“I was just a young actor, like, ‘Oh great, I got this part in this Disney movie, super cool.’ And then I flew up to Vancouver and got to work with [Brown] and all the amazing cast. Everybody was so nice and warm and welcoming. It was great,” he said.
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Brown and Kountz Share Fan Experiences
While the stars of the film may not have imagined the impact of Halloweentown during filming, Brown and Kountz say that fans have frequently expressed their gratitude for the importance the movies played in their childhood.
“We’ve done some fan events and one of the things that strikes me the most is the ‘Being normal is vastly overrated’ [line] and how much that quote has meant to so many people,” Kountz said, referring to a line from the first film.
“So many people come up to me and they say, ‘I just want you to know that got me through my childhood because I felt that I was different…but it made me feel better.’ It almost brings a tear to my eye now. Thinking how they took that, and they kept it in their power, and they grew up with it knowing, ‘Hey, it’s okay if I’m different because different is good.’ That’s wonderful.”
And Brown says that she’s honored when fans approach her, sharing that she learned an important lesson in acting from the late Debbie Reynolds, who played Marnie’s grandmother Aggie Cromwell in Halloweentown.
“I’m so honored. One thing that Debbie Reynolds impressed upon me as a young girl was, she really showed me what a gift it is to be able to be in the position of making people happy through performing. It is such a gift to bring joy to people and to have this relationship with people over the movies and share the magic over the years.”
“I love Marnie as much as everybody else does, and she was definitely a part of me. It’s just so touching. I’m so grateful to all of the fans and everything for making the movies what they are. And I’m so grateful to continue to be able to spread some joy in the world,” she added.