Disney Princesses Hit Back With 'Me Too: Once Upon A Times Up'
On International Women’s Day 2018, a new punk princess girl band burst onto the scene. The Furytales, a group comprising of Belle, Aurora, Jasmin, Snow White, Ariel and Rapunzel released their first single and music video ‘Me Too: Once Upon A Time’s Up’. It’s a riotous reimagining of Blur’s ‘Song 2’ and sees the princesses calling out their less-that-ideal experiences with their so-called Prince Charmings. They’re sick of being kissed by strangers when they’re sleeping, having men show them around their own kingdoms, and being asked if they’ll let their supposed white knights ‘come up their hair.’ Enough is very clearly enough.
When I asked co-producer Kitty Wordsworth (aka Belle of The Furytales) what inspired the creation of the video, she told me that “it was born out of a conversation I was having with the lyricist Maud Dromgoole (after a Damsel Productions show) about the toxicity of the fairytales we grew up with. In this post-Weinstein age of 'Times Up' and the growth of the #MeToo movement (which started in 2006!), conversations about sexual abuse and harassment are entering into the mainstream and popular culture in a way they haven't before. And it's now crucial to reassess those problematic stories and narratives we have been fed from a young age and consider how they have contributed to the way men and women behave.”
International Women’s Day was the ideal moment to release the video, but it wasn’t the first time The Furytales had got together to spread their feminist message. Back in December actors Ciara Aaron, Angharad George-Carey, Georgina Hellier, Matilda Sturridge, Kitty Wordsworth and Amani Zardoe (joined forces at the Portobello Panto to perform Maud’s song in a scene produced by Kitty and co-producer Molly Eagles. It was beginning of a tale of women-led collaboration, says Kitty - “we all ran off stage feeling pumped up after our scene and Georgina Hellier (Sleeping Beauty) said, "Kitty we've gotta make this into a music video.” And so over the course of the last couple of months, they did, alongside Denna Cartamkhoob (director), India Pulbrook (co-producer), Angharad George-Carey (aka Ariel, also co-producer) and Matilda Sturbridge (co-producer). On how they developed the scene into a music video, director Denna said, "We decided to build a narrative around a recording studio as this was where we’d record the track. We shot the recording live and Louis and Asha from the band Sorry, and Will Doyle from Palma Violets, came early on the shoot day to record the backing track."
It wouldn’t have been possible, Kitty and Denna both stress, without the generosity of literally everyone involved. In order to make ‘Me Too: Once Upon A Time’s Up’ happen, all the cast and crew donated their time, and they were lent all their film, sound gear, and costumes. Even the local pizza place Mulberry Street Pizza jumped in to make sure everyone was fed on the day.
So what will the next chapter of the Furytales story hold? “We’re definitely talking about writing another song, which will include some important omitted Princesses (namely Mulan, Pocahontas and Cinderella!)” says Kitty. “There is so much more to be said about all of the princesses' histories. And yes we're organising an open screening of the film, and potentially a few performances, but you'll have to watch this space via our Instagram and our Twitter."
1st Assistant Director: Reuben Hamlyn
Assistant to the Producers: Callum Dearden and Leo Temple
1st Camera Assistant: Christopher Emin Atilgan
Gaffer: Edel Gardner Kit
Provider: Lee Pulbrook
Sound Recordist: Martin Adams
Production Designers: Allegra FitzHerbert and Rola Daniels
Costume: Mollie Moon-Carr and Costume Boutique
Hair and Makeup: Alex Reader
Photography: Emily Garthwaite
Drums by Will Doyle
Guitar by Louis O'Bryen
Bass by Asha Lorens
Fed by Mulberry Street Pizza
The producers give special thanks to: Fresh Audio, Angel Studios, Arri Rental, ProLight, Susie Roberson and Thelma Holt.