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Friday, December 8, 2023

Ariana DeBose On Being Inspired By Other Disney Heroines While Crafting Asha


  • Wish is a star-studded Disney movie that celebrates 100 years of Walt Disney animation with an original story about Asha’s quest to stop King Magnifico’s plans and save her kingdom.
  • Ariana DeBose, one of the movie’s stars, talks about how she honored the tradition of Disney heroines while making the character of Asha her own, infusing her performance with hints of other famous Disney heroines.
  • DeBose also discusses Asha’s role as an activist in the movie and the powerful music, expressing her excitement to be part of the landmark hundred-year-anniversary Disney animated movie.

Wish celebrates 100 years of Walt Disney animation with an original story that follows Asha. When she learns a dark and terrible truth about her kingdom’s leader, King Magnifico, Asha strives to find a way to help her people by making a wish upon a star. When the cosmos unexpectedly answer her call, she, her pet goat Valentino, and the magical Star work together to find a way to stop Magnifico’s plans.

Wish features a star-studded cast led by Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, Alan Tudyk, Angelique Cabral, Victor Garber, Natasha Rothwell, Jennifer Kumiyama, Harvey Guillén, and Evan Peters. The movie is co-written by Walt Disney Animation Studio’s chief creative officer, Jeennifer Lee, and Allison Moore, based on a story by Lee, Moore, Chris Buck, and Fawn Veerasunthorn. Wish is directed by Buck and Veerasunthorn.

Related: Disney’s Wish Cast Guide: What The Actors Look Like In Real Life

Screen Rant interviewed Wish star Ariana DeBose. She discusses the legacy of Disney and how she infused her performance as Asha with hints of other famous Disney heroines. DeBose also reflects on Asha’s being an activist in the movie, the powerful music, and how she approached voice acting in this movie.

Ariana DeBose Talks Wish

Screen Rant: I love the movie.

Ariana DeBose: I’m so glad.

I think it’s the perfect way to celebrate a hundred years of Disney animation. Everything about it is fantastic.

Ariana DeBose: Oh. Thank you. That means a lot to me. I mean, I love the film so much. I’m so happy we can be here to talk about it.

Me too, because you are fantastic in it.

Ariana DeBose: Thank you. I had so much fun making it.

Can you talk to me a little bit about honoring the tradition of Disney heroines while making the character your own?

Ariana DeBose: To me, that was one of the most enticing things about doing something like this. I’m a big believer in honoring your roots, where you come from, and also living in the moment, and running towards your future, which I think is exactly what Asha is doing. Right? It was fun to be in the booth, and to be going through the script, and be like, “Oh. I hear Alice, from Alice in Wonderland.” Or I’m hearing, “You know, is that Tiana? Is that some Tiana sass?” I think that was really fun. So I took it as a fun challenge, to see where I could draw inspiration, whilst also being very clear on who Asha was, and I think we found the best parts of that to include in the film.

I definitely agree, and the music is absolutely amazing in this. I’m going to ask you a really hard question. What’s your favorite song?

Ariana DeBose: I don’t know if I can choose one. You know what I can tell you? I think my favorite song to record was At All Costs. It’s such a beautiful, kind of unsuspecting ballad. You don’t see it coming. But I think the emotions it talks about, it was so fun to swim in them while I was singing it in the booth. That was cool. But I also really love knowing what I know now. I think everybody needs an anthem right about now, and that’s like… Was great. I’m into it. Somewhere to put your rage. You know what I’m saying?

Yeah. One of the things I found really intriguing about Asha is, it’s very traditional for Disney heroines to be fighting for a bigger cause, but she feels like the first activist. Can you talk about that aspect of the character and why that was important to bring out?

Ariana DeBose: That sort of was always floating in the air, even when they brought me on. That was something that was already important to the filmmakers. And in my own life, I advocate for causes that I’m very passionate about, whether it’s homeless youth, or LGBTQ rights, or women’s rights, human rights in general. I mean, I really value humanity, truly.

I think it’s really cool to have that modeled for young people, and people of all ages, within this girl, this beautiful brown girl with braids and freckles. That’s fabulous. And she both does it in an outspoken, and respectful way. She’s an unsuspecting leader. She’s not looking to become a leader in her community, and yet when the need arises, she steps into it boldly, and bravely, and again, something that’s really important, I think, to see modeled today.

I definitely agree. And then I have to ask. What does it feel like to not only be in a Disney animated movie, but the hundred-year-anniversary Disney animated movie?

Ariana DeBose: I mean, to quote Sondheim, I am both excited and scared. I am a Disney kid. I’m a Disney fan.

Me too.

Ariana DeBose: I’m so aware of the fans out there, and I hope that they see in this what I see in it, and what I so ardently try to instill in Asha. It was that love, that belief in wishing on stars, and that with effort, and perseverance, and determination, and support from Star, that you can see that your wishes come true.

I love that. And then, can you talk to me a little bit about portraying Asha’s evolution through your voice acting and the songs?

Ariana DeBose: Oh. That’s a great question. This is one of my first larger adventures into voice acting, and it was a fun challenge, but again, I’m still acting. So it’s all about finding the arc. What’s the journey? What’s she feeling? Once I found her voice, once I found the heart of who she was, it was very easy to step into her shoes, and just let her live, and it was fun. I felt so free, because she is very free. She’s free to fail. She’s free to succeed. She’s free to try again. There’s a lot of freedom in that, and it’s a beautiful feeling.

Definitely. Well, like I said, I absolutely love the movie. I can’t wait for more people to see it.

Ariana DeBose: Thank you.

I’ve already listened to the songs that came out, like 10 times.

Ariana DeBose: So fun. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. I’m so glad you love the film.

About Wish

Asha and Star in Disney's Wish

In “Wish,” Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force—a little ball of boundless energy called Star. Together, Asha and Star confront a most formidable foe—the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico—to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen.

Check back for our other Wish interviews:

  • Chris Pine
  • Jennifer Lee
  • Chris Buck & Fawn Veerasunthorn
  • Peter Del Vecho & Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster Jones

Wish is exclusively in theaters on November 22.

Source: Screen Rant Plus

  • Disney Wish Poster


    Release Date:

    Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn

    Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, Alan Tudyk, Dee Bradley Baker, Frank Welker


    95 Mins

    Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

    Jennifer Lee, Allison Moore

    Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios

    Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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