Under Wraps stars Malachi Barton and Phil Wright chat about updating the first Disney Channel Original Movie for 2021 in the new remake.
Disney returns to its roots, remaking its first Disney Channel Original Movie from 1997: Under Wraps. The Halloween tale, premiering on October 1, follows three small-town kids – Marshall, Gilbert and Amy – who find a living mummy in their creepy neighbor’s basement while in the midst of a prank. They must return their new friend, whom they’ve named Harold, to his final resting place before interested parties catch up with them and sell them to the highest bidder.
He is more of a dancer and actor than an actor, but he brings Harold to life with movement and grunts. Malachi Barton (Dora and The Lost City of Gold), emphasizes Marshall’s vulnerability when his home dynamic changes. This causes him to seek solace from his friends.
Barton and Wright spoke to Screen Rant about their own memories of DCOMs and the burgeoning friendship between boy and mummy.
Screen Rant: Did you guys see the original Under Wraps? Or did you just want to draw inspiration from Alex’s direction and the script?
Phil Wright: I was familiar with the older movie, but I had not watched it. When they cast me for the role, I said, “I’ll go ahead and take a look at the movie and do a little homework,” or whatnot.
Approaching our version of it, I made sure to only implement what I could bring to the table. Which was great; I felt comfortable, and [director Alex Zamm] made it achievable as well.
Malachi Barton: I was going back to the original I mean, I’m 14, so I wasn’t really part of that generation. I was born in 2007 and not 1997. Although I did watch the original when I got the audition, I wanted to make it my own.
Because I didn’t want any fans to be mad, I wanted to keep to the storyline of Marshall. But I wanted to add my personal flair.
I love the fine line you crossed between humanizing Harold, and letting his mother out. Alex claims Harold even had his own language in the grunts. Can you talk about how that character was built?
Phil Wright: Alex was very specific on expressing how he was going to relate to these kids, and we actually had to create our own language. Even though I didn’t have any dialogue, we created the emotion that could be recognizable. What about the dancing? Hey, look, I’m a pro.
Marshall’s mom is my hero, as well as his boyfriend. Marshall was not a fan of Marshall’s mother and boyfriend at first. Can you tell us about the changes he experiences in his family dynamic?
Malachi Barton: Throughout the movie, his perspective of his stepdad Ted definitely changes. His mom’s new boyfriend is difficult for him to accept at the beginning. I believe the reason is that there is a new man in his mother’s life. He has only known his mom for most his life. He wants to keep it that, and it’s difficult for him to imagine his mom giving more attention towards his stepdad.
Harold is a great help to him. I have to accept him as he is. Amy and Harold really helped to make Ted acceptable over the course the movie.
What lesson or message did Harold leave you with? What is his journey?
Phil Wright: I think Harold comes off very ferocious in the beginning, and the kids don’t know how in tune Harold is emotionally with everything. It helps the viewer understand that you shouldn’t judge a book based on its cover. Overcoming your fears is another important lesson.
Harold teaches kids that you don’t need to understand your language to understand your feelings. To have fun, I don’t have to do the same as you; we can all have fun together. I think Harold shows that throughout the movie.
Is there another Disney Channel Original Movie that you enjoy besides Under Wraps?
Phil Wright: I thought Zombies was good. That one was a favorite of mine.
Malachi Barton: I would definitely have to say either the Descendants franchise or High School Musical. High School Musical is a classic film, but it’s also not a masterpiece. It’s a great film.
Phil Wright: It’s a modern classic.
More: The 10 Most Unusual Plots In Disney Channel Original Movies
Under Wraps premieres October 1 on Disney Channel and October 8 on Disney+.
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About The Author
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Tatiana Hullender is a writer at Screen Rant, focusing on film and television, as well as a co-host of several podcasts. Screen Rant interviews are conducted by Hullender to discover what drives each creative mind, and how different experiences can influence the same story. Tatiana graduated from Columbia University in New York City with a degree in theater and comparative literary studies. Since being exposed to Jane Austen’s work and the BBC adaptations, Tatiana has been passionate about storytelling in all its forms. But Regency satire of manners isn’t the only genre she loves, as a love of comic books naturally developed into a love of cinematic universes and their superheroes. So long as a story has heart and humor, there’s a chance of finding something to enjoy in the telling of it.
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