ANAHEIM, Calif. — Mandy Moore knows that her work on the new Disney animated film Tangled, which opened last week, has put her in the select sorority of actresses who have given voice to a Disney princess.
"It's such an honor. I know it sounds so cliché, but truly, to know that I'm part of a project as classic as Disney films are is so cool," Moore says. "I knew going into it that it was a project that's going to stand the test of time. It's something I'll be able to share with my kids one day and my grandkids."
Moore wants the new movie — based on the Grimm's fairy tale Rapunzel — to mean to today's young moviegoers what Little Mermaid, Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast meant to her when she was a little girl.
As a fan of those films, Moore, 26, was familiar with eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken — who did the music for seven previous Disney animated films and wrote the music for Tangled. She went into the first recording session for Rapunzel's song When Will My Life Begin? feeling intimidated.
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Menken's clear vision of how the song was to be performed quickly calmed her nerves.
"I just relinquished all control to him and let him take over," Moore says.
Connecting with the character of Rapunzel was a lot easier. Moore became a pop sensation when she was 15 with the release of So Real, and two years later, her TV and film career took off. She was so involved with her career, Moore had little time for herself.
The singer/actress isn't certain when she decided — like Rapunzel — to find a balance of work and a personal life. Moore just knows that the moment was a life-changer.
"I feel more in control. More aware of the decisions I'm making and how that's going to affect my life from here on out," Moore says. "I feel more settled and in control and balanced than ever before."
She looks at her life now and is grateful to be doing so much. A big part of that is getting to join the Disney animation family with such a strong character.
"I like portraying a young woman who's fearless, who does have moxie. Who is spirited and engaged and doesn't sort of let anything hold her down," Moore says. "Then, at the end of the day, she realizes it's not the 70 feet of magical hair that's really magical and what makes her special. It's what's in her already. That was always there.
"I like being able to have young women have someone like that to look up to."