It’s not any wonder why a Halloween lover like myself, would enjoy the Halloweentown movie series. Marnie’s character is easily relatable, being obsessed with Halloween and all – you come across many people who don’t understand the love for this spooky day. Halloween is strange, ancient and part of a tradition dating back thousands of years. One can easily get lost in the magic of the Halloweentown series and walk away with a warm feeling.
Marnie Cromwell (Kimberly J. Brown) is whole heartedly obsessed with Halloween. Witches, vampires, ghosts – Marnie is attracted to the strange and exciting aspects of Halloween. Like so many others, Marnie longs to feel special and part of something bigger. The problem is, Marnie’s mother Gwen (Judith Hoag) is all too eager to keep her three children far away from Halloween or anything to do with magic.
On the eve of Halloween, their grandmother Aggie (Debbie Reynolds) shows up at their home and clearly has magical powers. Marnie overhears Aggie and her mother speaking about her and discovers a wonderful secret, she is a witch! Marnie, Dylan (Joey Zimmerman), Sophie (Emily Roeske) follow their grandmother on her way home only to find themselves in Halloweentown. Marnie soon discovers there is much more to being a witch than meets the eye. Evil forces are a foot, working to undo the sanctuary that harbors all of Halloweentown’s exotic residences. The Cromwell’s have to work together to help save Halloweentown.
One of Disney channels best and most original holiday movies of all time, Halloweentown. I recently had the pleasure to ask Kimberly J. Brown some questions about the Halloweentown series.
You can also download the exclusive Halloweentown theme ringtone, enjoy!
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Hi Kimberly, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about the Halloweentown series. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find any interviews with any cast members from the Halloweentown series. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to be able to ask some detailed questions not only about the movies, but your experience making the movies as well.
Adam: First – how did you get involved with the Halloweentown series and or the first Halloweentown movie?
Kim: I went through the audition process w/Disney and was very happy to find out I got the role!
Adam: What was it about the Halloweentown script that made you want to do the movie?
Kim: I loved the idea of Halloweentown! Being able to live in a place with magic and characters that were “costumes” in the mortal world, but “real” in Halloweentown-who wouldn’t want to live there! I also was excited to play a witch, because I wished so many times through my childhood that I could have magical powers!
Adam: Did you feel like you could relate to the character of “Marni Cromwell” at all? Was her character easy to “step into?”
Kim: I definitely relate to “Marnie.” I love her sense of independence, courage, and her ability to take charge and be fearless. I also love her sense of humor! I would like to think we are similar in those areas.
Adam: You were certainly young when you did the first movie, did you feel like there was any difference from shooting the first movie to Halloweentown high?
Kim: There definitely was a difference, just because of the material I was working with and getting older as “Marnie” and in real life. Marnie was a Senior in high school, and she got a boyfriend! Haha. I also knew the “Cromwell” family of actors so much better than when we first started, we all became so close with each movie and loved working on set and hanging out off set. The first shoot, we had to have our parents on set, and by HTown High, I was an adult living on location with my own condo and rental car! lol
Adam: There are a couple great lines from Halloweentown; one in particular that sticks out is the bit about vegetables. “Hey look, I’m a potato, are you happy now? Maybe I’ll put down some roots in the carpet. Oh no Marni, it’s too dangerous, there are things about vegetables that you don’t understand.” Do you have any favorite lines or parts from any of the movies?
Kim: There are too many to remember to be honest. I love “Being normal is vastly overrated,” which Aggie says in the first movie. I think that can apply even today. What people define as “Normal” is so different for each person, and we all have things that make us special. Also, anything that “Dylan” and “Marnie” said to each other-J. Paul Zimmerman and I got to come up with our stuff during shooting, which was a blast. Aggie says some pretty clever stuff too!
Adam: One thing about the Halloweentown series is that Marni is so relatable. I think many teenagers can relate to wanting to feel special. I think there is a level of escapism involved in the overall series; one could easily want to step into Halloweentown and suddenly have magic. Do you find this to be true as well when thinking about the overall series?
Kim: Sure, I think everyone would love to have a magical place to “escape” to. Many of us use certain activities: reading, music, dance, yoga, etc. Doing these activities help us to go to a different place where we are calm and happy, and help us get away from our crazy lives! Having magic on top of it would be awesome though!!
Adam: I have been curious as far as the actual book that “Aggie” reads during the bedtime story, called “Halloweentown.” Was that book made as a prop for the movie? I must confess that I wanted a copy of that book.
Kim: Yes, it was a book made especially for the movie. They had an artist draw that picture of me too so it would look a little like me. It really is a beautiful book! But there are only a few copies made for the shoot.
Adam: What was it like working with Debbie Reynolds? She is like the Grandma everyone would like to have in the series.
Kim: She is amazing! We are still good friends to this day! She is warm, sweet, funny and of course, very talented. It’s been a blessing and an honor to be able to get to know her and learn from her, which I know may sound corny, but it is completely true.
Adam: What was it like working with Judith Hoag? I absolutely love her! She sort of has this subtle “quiet humor” in the overall series; I like how she became more relaxed and humorous as the other movies were made.
Kim: Judith is a blast, she cracks me up! I love her sense of humor, there’s never a dull moment around her. We still keep in touch as well, and I love her talent and her spirit.
Adam: What happened to Emily Roeske? I heard she decided to quit acting. She is barely in Halloweentown High.
Kim: I don’t know, I haven’t really kept in touch with her. It was hard for the role of “Sophie” in Halloweentown High because the movie was based in High School, and she was so much younger than us.
Adam: I have always wondered why Disney never put out “special editions” of the movies. There is only a few minute “backstage Disney” with you and no commentary! I imagine there was a lot more footage unused as far as any bloopers or behind the scenes. Do you remember any bloopers or scenes that were not used that you can recall?
Kim: I wish I could have seen our blooper reel! There were plenty of stumbles along the way, both physically and verbally, lol. I had some good wipeouts on set that made me laugh, but I think a lot of my bloopers were funnier because we were on set. If I told them separately they probably wouldn’t make sense. But trust me, we had some goofy days.
Adam: Was “Benny” the skeleton taxi driver an animatronic? I loved how the bones in his face moved as if it was muscles. Was his voice “live” during the scenes? Or was it added in later?
Kim: Yes, he was animatronic, he was maneuvered by a big remote control, and one of the designers made him move and read his lines during the scenes. Afterwards, the voice was recorded by the actors hired to play him in post production.
Adam: So, we have to talk about the fourth Halloweentown movie. Most people don’t seem to know the truth about you and “Return to Halloweentown.” I remember asking you not too long ago about why you were not in the fourth movie. Do you want to set the record straight about that?
Kim: Well, Let me just say that I wanted to do the fourth one and was fully available for the shoot-Nothing makes me happier than playing “Marnie.” Disney decided not to use me for the fourth one, I’m don’t know why. I was definitely disappointed not to do it.
Adam: –If you’re above answer does not involve why Disney chose a different actress. – Why do you think Disney chose to recast Marni? I have to say that it seems Disney has a reputation for recasting actors/actresses after they reach a certain age. I think it’s almost “movie suicide” in the sense that I believe it was a slap in the face to not only the fans, but you as well. It was hard to watch a different actress as Marni, especially after establishing the character and you as the actress for three of the movies. I think most people feel the same in regards to any other series of movies or TV show when a main actor/actress is recast or killed off.
Kim: I’m not sure that I can comment on that. I don’t even begin to try and understand their formula.
Adam: Going from the last question, would you ever want to do another Halloweentown movie? Where do you think the storyline might go?
Kim: I would always be open to considering another Halloweentown movie…I guess you could continue the adventures of Marnie in college, but who knows? There are lots of possibilities!
Adam: Did you know that the Halloweentown movie series is a seasonal favorite of most people? I have a small group of films I watch every September/October and the Halloweentown series is definitely counted among them. Halloween, Scream, the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Hocus Pocus etc.
Kim: Thank you! I love to hear feedback from fans…I think they are fun movies, with great parts for each age group.
Adam: Are you aware that the Halloweentown series has a large fan following, even years later? Did you have any idea making these films, that the series would continue as a favorite long after it was filmed? I have heard so many wonderful and funny comments about the movies over the years.
Kim: No, we had no idea how popular the movies would become, its flattering. I still meet people and get messages throughout the year about them. I’m honored that people keep watching and enjoying them.
Adam: I imagine over the years that you have heard from many Halloweentown fans. Do you remember being asked anything funny or a fan saying something that stuck with you? Or perhaps the continued support has been a surprise to you?
Kim: I always love when the really young kids ask me how I fly on the broom, and I tell them by magic of course. They seem satisfied by the answer and their parents giggle. There are soo many stories that I can’t tell one specifically but I am truly touched by each smile and hug I get from fans.
Adam: Did you get to keep your Witch coat and hat from the series? If so, have you worn it since?
Kim: Yes, I have the costume and some props from the movie. I sometimes wear it on Halloween for fun, and have surprised some fans while wearing it. It’s a gorgeous coat!
Adam: I am curious about something. Do you really like Halloween? Coming from Halloweentown, have people assumed that you are the “go to” girl for Halloween now?
Kim: I love Halloween! I love dressing up and getting in the spirit. I enjoy doing appearances during the Halloween season…kids always say, “Oh my gosh! I just saw you on TV! How did you get here??” lol
Adam: I am sure you have, but have you ever wished you actually had witch powers? I think I would use them a lot, especially with regular life situations (like zapping in Starbucks at will).
Kim: Of course, who wouldn’t?? I could use some for clearing traffic. haha
Adam: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all these questions! I do have one final question. Are you currently working on any new films or have anything in the works? I would love to see you in another magic based role.
Kim: You’re welcome! This was fun. I have a couple things in the works that aren’t really ready to mention yet. I’m also focusing on finishing my college degree-I’m about to graduate! I am very excited. My last two films are on DVD. Sony’s “Friendship,” and Universal’s “Big Bad Wolf.” “Friendship” is a German road trip comedy where I play a not-so-bright cheerleader in Tennessee, and “Big Bad Wolf” is a campy horror flick where I play a tattooed, motorcycle-riding bad girl fighting a talking werewolf! Both films are definitely for older audiences though!
Adam: Also, do you want to post your URLS so your fans can find you online?
Kim: Sure, thanks! My official website is: www.KimberlyJBrown.com
You can also find me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/OfficialKJB and on Twitter, w/a great background designed by you, Adam! :–) follow me @OfficialKJB. I’m also on myspace and occasionally post videos on YouTube, but you can probably find me on FB and Twitter more often.
Adam: Thanks again Kimberly, it’s been a pleasure. I wish you all the best with your career.