Disney Channel Targeting ‘Kim Possible’ Live-Action Film at New Generation of Viewers
On Friday (Feb. 15) Disney Channel will resurrect its teenage heroine Kim Possible in a new live-action film based on the popular animated series, which ran on Disney Channel from 2002-07. Sadie Stanley stars as Kim Possible, with Sean Giambrone playing the role of Ron Stoppable, Kim’s sidekick and best friend.
Veteran actor Todd Stashwick and Taylor Ortega star as Kim Possible’s arch villains Dr. Drakken and Shego, respectively. I had the chance to speak to Stashwick (12 Monkeys) and Ortega (Succession) about the new Kim Possible live-action movie and its potential appeal to a new generation of Disney Channel viewers.
Were you familiar with the animated Kim Possible series prior to starting this project?
Taylor Ortega: I grew up watching Kim Possible -- I was the demographic that Disney was targeting in the first place when the series debuted, so I was super familiar with it. When I found out at the auditions that I was reading for Shego I said I’m perfect for this.
Did you have any concerns about the Kim Possible franchise making the transition from a popular animated series to a live-action movie?
Todd Stashwick: There was so much care and attention put in making the transition from animated series to live-action feature, and you’ll see that on the screen. The vibe is there -- it feels like Kim Possible, the costumes the look -- and even Rufus (a naked mole rat and pet friend of Ron Stoppable) is there (laughter). The characters of Drakken and Shego loomed large on the channel before we ever got there, so the fact that we’re taking it into the future is really a thrill, and Disney has been super amazing towards us.
Was it a challenge to play the villains in the movie?
TO: No. I was very familiar with the first incarnation of Shego, and having a background in comedy made it easy to take the fantastic script that we had and do some improvisation to make the character come alive.
Does the Kim Possible brand and message translate to this new generation of Disney viewers?
TS: I actually think it could not be a better time to bring Kim as a heroine to live action. My (11-year old) daughter is lucky to grow up in an era with Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, Rey in Star Wars, and now Kim Possible marching alongside all of them. My daughter doesn’t blink when she sees strong, female heroes on TV or in the movies. When Kim came out back in the day she was a pioneer. What’s also great about the movie is that it isn’t just for girls, its for boys and families as well.
TO: I’m so proud to be able to inspire young girls who want to be evil (laughter).
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.
By Jens Koerner