Patrick Dempsey Dishes on His Character’s Story in Disenchanted

In 2007’s Enchanted, Patrick Dempsey played Robert Philip, a New York lawyer and single father. He raised his daughter Morgan (Rachel Covey) under the principle that fairy tales don’t exist until he meets one in Giselle (Amy Adams), with whom he falls in love and vice versa. Spending most of the film as a cynic, Robert didn’t get in on the singing and dancing as much as the other characters. Until the recently released Disenchanted, that is.

“It was really fun to be able to go into fairy-tale land with Robert. For me, that was the exciting part about coming back to the film.”

The sequel picks up ten years from when we last left off. After getting married, Robert and Giselle move their growing family out of the city and into the suburbs of Monroeville. However, the new location isn’t without its problems. For Robert, it’s the realization that he will spend the rest of his life riding a train to work instead of something more exciting, like what Prince Edward (James Marsden) gets up to in the enchanted land of Andalasia.

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“At the beginning [of Disenchanted], they make this big shift to improve the quality of their life and the environment that their children are in. And with all of that, it brings up a lot of conflict and turmoil — individually, and then collectively as a family. He’s not happy with that choice and he’s questioning is it the right thing to do and what he should be doing with the rest of his life.”

Giselle and a now teenage Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino) are also experiencing their own troubles. So Giselle makes a wish with a magic wand to make Monroeville more like a fairy tale. In Monrolasia, Robert is now a sword-wielding knight in search of adventure and monsters to vanquish. However, without being too spoiler-y, Edward learns that adventuring is a little more complicated than he thought.

Being Vulnerable and the Future

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Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Dempsey revealed that in creating Robert’s story for Disenchanted, he and director Adam Shankman wanted to explore frustration. “It’s the question: Is anybody happy right now in the family?” And for Robert specifically, Dempsey thought that this moment of vulnerability was important for all of us.

“The real strength in a man is to be able to show your vulnerability. That doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means you’re connected and you’re strong enough to go, Here’s what I’m feeling, this is what I need. That’s part of being heroic, by saying you don’t know. That I hurt, that I am sad. There’s a strength in that. There’s not a weakness in that. And I think it’s been misinterpreted. I think it’s changing, but it’s something that we need to do a better job of role-modeling.”

You can now watch Disenchanted and its predecessor, Enchanted, on Disney+. When asked if he’d be singing and dancing again anytime soon, Dempsey said he would be up for it if given the chance.

“When you do a musical, there’s a real sense of company with the dancers and the singers,” Dempsey says. “I didn’t realize how much I missed and really enjoyed it. If I was asked, I’d definitely do it again.”