‘Enchanted’ Amy Adams falls under Disney spell

Amy Adams is a little girl's dream come true. She stars as a living, breathing Disney cartoon princess in the romantic comedy Enchanted, a musical combo of hand-drawn animation and live action that opens Nov. 21.

The actress experiences the fantasy of many an older girl, as well. Her Giselle, who pops out of a Times Square sewer after being banished from the fairy-tale land of Andalasia by evil Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), is rescued by none other than McDreamy himself — Patrick Dempsey, the hot doc of TV'sGrey's Anatomy.

"I grew up watching all the classic Disney movies," says Adams, 32, Oscar-nominated for her wide-eyed optimist in 2005'sJunebug. "The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Mary Poppins. Those films are pure fun. To get to do this as an adult is a great opportunity."

For one thing, a fanciful 'toon come to life isn't bound by any dull, everyday logic. "Playing someone who has been animated gives you permission to do all sorts of things a normal person wouldn't do," she says. "Giselle is unflappable."

Adams also shows off her singing, which hasn't been exploited since she did Brigadoon at a Chanhassen, Minn., dinner theater.

Being a princess does require sacrifices. Since Giselle lands in the Big Apple on what was supposed to be the day of her wedding to Prince Edward (James Marsden), she is a puffy sight awash in white tulle and satin. "The dress is heavier than you'd think," Adams says.

Realizing his own dream behind the camera is Kevin Lima, who has not only directed animated features (1999's Tarzan) but also paid his live-action dues (102 Dalmatians). "I love both worlds," he says. "I'm not embarrassed by what most people consider juvenile entertainment."

When Disney first optioned the script about eight years ago,Enchanted was far from kids' stuff.

"It was a racier R-rated movie," says Lima, who signed on after other directors had come and gone. "It took the studio time to rediscover the heart of the story."

While the plot sounds like Splash (fish out of water) meetsShrek (fairy-tale mockery), the director says that Enchanteddoesn't exactly poke fun. "Shrek has a tendency to beat up on Disney. This is just the opposite. We lovingly embrace Disney."

He always figured that youngsters and females might find it hard to resist Giselle's Manhattan exploits. But after the first public preview about two weeks ago, he was surprised that adult men were, well, enchanted, too.

"They were glowing when they left the theater," Lima reports. Though the attraction might be the story's "purity of heart," he says, we suspect another reason for the positive male response: that devilishly deep dip in Sarandon's royal neckline.

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