INTERVIEW: Disney Royalty, Susan Egan And Linda Larkin, Grace FXD18

disney princess

It is not everyday that you get to speak with royalty. However, you can do just that at this year’s Fan Expo Dallas. There will be not one, but four princesses in attendance. Granted, their titles might not hold political weight but Disney princesses hold a much higher place of importance to many children and diehard Disney fans.

We were able to speak with Susan Egan and Linda Larkin before they grace DFW with their presence next month. Susan voiced Meg in the movie Hercules and was also the first person to play Belle in the Broadway version of Beauty And The Beast. Linda is best known for voicing Princess Jasmine in the Aladdin franchise.

With all of the theories, debates, and questions out there regarding classic Disney films we used the opportunity to have the experts give their insight to some of the main issues.

 

Who do you consider the best Disney princess and why?

Susan Egan: Linda Woolverton is the best Disney princess. She is the one that actually wrote Beauty And The Beast. She is a screenwriter in Hollywood that also wrote Maleficent and so many wonderful things. She was Belle. She based the story all on her. Gaston was actually based on an ex-boyfriend of hers.  But what I love mostly is that she is so wickedly, beautifully intelligent and adds dimension to characters which could easily be very two dimensional, making them more relatable. I think this 'modern' Disney princess was conceived by Linda.

Linda Larkin: Jasmine. She is everything I want to be. She is fearless, fierce, and all about love.

What was your favorite part about your role in the film?

Susan: I had always been cast in live action stage things and had always been the good girl. It was really fun and a bit of a departure in that time of my career to get to play the bad girl, one who doesn’t always make the right decision and is a little sassy. It was such a great script!

Linda: It was getting to say what, for me, beautifully describes my whole experience with Disney, starting when I was a little girl and continuing on to this day: "It’s all so magical!"

How much do you identify with your character?

Susan: I am 100% Meg. When I play Belle I am acting.

Linda: I feel a really strong connection to her [Jasmine] and I always have.

Out of all Disney movies, who would you consider the worst villain?

Susan: Gosh…okay there are so many great villains. I think Ursula is fantastic in The Little Mermaid. I love Mother Gothel from Tangled because it is so scary how duplicitous she is. I love Gaston as well because he is buffoonish so we take him very lightly, even Belle does and she outsmarts him very easily. But when he goes dark it is truly dangerous.

Linda: Hmm, I like to think of it in terms of the BEST villain. My favorites are Cruella de Vil, Ursula, and Jafar!

What is your favorite Disney song?

Susan: It is probably “When You Wish Upon A Star” because I love Jiminy Cricket.

Linda: I love Reflection [Mulan], A Whole New World [Aladdin], and Part of Your World [The Little Mermaid].

What has been the best perk that resulted from you voicing Disney royalty?

Susan: Definitely meeting people who have been affected by the Disney cannon. It is such an honor to be a small part of it and it is why I love doing these Cons as well. It gives them a chance to share their experience. I take no credit; I just get to inhabit the role for a short time and really credit the artists and writers. I love getting to hear the personal stories of people who say, “Oh my gosh, this song just effected me this way because of a certain thing in their life” and see the universal effect that these Disney movies have on so many people. I love that.

Linda: The best perk is being able to be a part of the Disney family and getting to work with such exceptionally talented and skillful people.

Princess Jasmine will be making an appearance in Wreck-It-Ralph 2, can you tell us anything regarding her part?

Linda: It is one of the most fun things I’ve ever gotten to do as Princess Jasmine and I can’t wait for you all to see it!

Should Meg be considered a Disney Princess? Why hasn’t she joined ranks with the rest?

Susan: No! She is not technically a princess; she is a common girl and that is what I love about her. She is the only Disney character that falls between heroine and villain. She works for the wrong side and has a change of heart. She has a much larger arch than the Disney princesses do. I love that Disney didn’t crown her in the film and subsequently afterward. She is definitely a heroine but not a princess. I think that she is more relatable because of that; she’s flawed.

What is your favorite fan theory about Aladdin?

Linda: I had to look some up because I really didn’t know of any, but I’ve found one that’s fantastic! It is that Aladdin takes place in a post-Apocalyptic world?!? That is my favorite, definitely!

Did Belle ever actually get to eat during the “Be our guest” routine or did the dishes merely tempt her with a feast and run?

Susan: No, she doesn’t. She only really gets soup later during “Something There” and even then she really doesn’t get to eat her soup. It is a strange phenomenon how they starve her in that play and somebody needs to write a paper on that, “The Starvation Of Belle: A Sociological View”.

 

While we were lucky enough to have a few of our burning questions answered, you can catch Linda and Susan next month at Fan Expo Dallas to answer any others that you may have. Fan Expo Dallas will take place April 6-8 at the Dallas Convention Center. For more information about their appearance, updates, and tickets click here.