Disney’s Isle of the Lost book launch with Melissa de la Cruz and Dove Cameron

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Last Tuesday was the book launch of Disney’s The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel. New York Times best-selling author Melissa de la Cruz and Disney’s Descendants star Dove Cameron were present at the Americana in Glendale, California. The book is a prequel for this summer’s Disney Channel Original Movie Descendants, which stars Dove as Mal, the daughter of Maleficent. We had the opportunity to sit down with the two to talk about the book, movie, and their Happily Ever After.

Nerd Reactor (NR): The book has a lot of subtle and discreet characters (not the leads in the book and movie) in the book. Were there any of those characters that you were excited to write and read about? Both the movie and book. 

Cruz: Yeah, I really like Lonnie. I had fun with Jane, who is the Fairy Godmother’s daughter. And with the book, I got to create Gaston and Gaston, because Gaston has two sons who are named after him, of course. You know, it was fun to kind play with what’s out there.

Cameron: In the book, I actually like all of the sidekicks in the council meeting with Ben. I thought that was really cool. To picture all of the characters that I knew and loved but weren’t exactly central characters, they were more peripheral characters. It really helped me as a reader, and fleshed out this vision of this land because of all the stuff she included. I loved all the sidekick stuff.

NR: You both have seen the film and wrote/read the book. Was there a favorite scene you had from the movie and the book?

Cameron: My favorite scene from the book was when Mal throws a party to get back at Evie for something. There is this passage – the son of Lady Tremaine, who is the evil stepmother, asks Mal to dance. She says no. He says why. Because she never dance. Why is that? Then she goes into this mental passage way because that would make me human, that would make me vulnerable. That would make me like my human father who my mother despises. It’s actually rather dark. I remember reading it as the actor who plays Mal thinking, “Oh my God, this is so juicy!” So that’s probably my favorite from the book. From the movie, my favorite scene is close to the end where Mal and Maleficent have this mommy-daughter showdown. I can’t tell you what happens. You’re going to have to tune in. It’s very emotional and there are a lot of undertones of that that are not necessarily just emotional, intense, and damaging for each other. There actually is a lot of love in that even though the words are damaging to the other. The mental conversation between Mal and Maleficent, and me and Kristin [Chenoweth] as actors, was like “Why won’t you just meet me there? I love you. I love you so much. Why can’t you be more like this?” They just don’t quite fit and it’s both heartbreaking in the end.

Cruz: It’s hard to choose, I mean, we watched the movie a lot – my daughter and I. We loved it. We liked the beginning. I loved the moment where Maleficent tells the kids they’re going to Auradon and they’re just, “Ah! No! We don’t want to do that!” And, I love the big scene in the end of the big celebration. That was really fun. I just loved it all. It’s hard to pinpoint; we just loved it all. All the songs; those were fun. We were really lucky we got to see it early. And in the book [to Cameron] that’s my favorite part too! She gets asked to dance and she’s paralyzed. I like when the four of them become kind of a gang because they were all alone. So the characters have been living with their evil parents, then they discover that they’re not alone. There are other people who are growing up like that. When that solidifies, that was a good moment for me.

NR: Before this entire story of Descendants was created, were there any characters that you did wonder ‘What happened after Happily Ever After?’

Cameron: You know, I always wondered what happened after Happily Ever After with all characters, which is why I think this book and movie is so fabulous. But, something that I was particularly struck by when I read the Descendants script, I had never thought about what happened to villains after Happily Ever After because I thought they all died. There is something we don’t actually cover in the movie, which Melissa does a great job of covering in the book. She talks about the fact that the villains died in the movie. In the book she says, “I thought I died, but I woke up in this semi-purgatory. Wouldn’t death had been so much sweeter than being kept on this isle?” So they were brought back from the dead, which is something I was confused about as an actor; they all died. I watched the movie, I know they died. I didn’t ever wonder about the villains, because in my mind, they weren’t alive anymore. I guess everyone wonders what happens after Happily Ever After?

Cruz: I was shocked because when I was doing research and I watched all the movies. I thought, “Oh my God, they’re all dead!” How do we bring them back? So that was really fun!

NR: Will we see more Descendants books and movies? Is there a Happily Ever After after Descendants?

Cruz: I think so, yeah.

Cameron: I, as an actor, have not been approached about a second movie.

Cruz: It’s a very slow process.

Cameron: It’s also very “nothing has been official, until it’s official.” As far as I know, there are no talks.

NR: What would you consider to be your Happily Ever After?

Cruz: The movie opens to a huge record breaking numbers!

Cameron: Yeah! Happily Ever After would be that every day, no matter what happens, whether it was a good day or bad day, I ended it knowing that… hm… My favorite quote in the entire world is ‘The world has ended for me many times and has began again the next day.’ I think that would be my Happily Ever After. If there was never a day that ended with “What am I going to do?” I want to be surrounded by people I love, I want to be happy, I want to be doing what I love, and I want to be baking a lot. I want to open up a bakery one day. I want to have kids and I want to live in the south of France, like everybody wants to. And, I want to write songs and disappear in like, thirty years [laughs].

Cruz: You just want to live, you want to work, you want to do work that you enjoy with people that you enjoy their company. In a way, we are kinda living that. It’s a happy middle. Happily Ever After is just the end of the story, you’re just beginning. This is going to be this huge awesome journey and I’m excited to see it.

For our review on Disney’s The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel, click here.

Disney’s The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel is available to purchase online and book retailers everywhere. Don’t forget to check out Disney’s Descendants this summer on The Disney Channel.

Check out the Book Launch event below:

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Laura Sirikul
Laura Sirikul 1849 posts

Trekkie. Jedi. Whovian. Sherlockian. Hobbit. Sanrio. Comics. I am Spartacus. Warrior Princess. Superhero. Nerd. Follow me @lsirikul