The live-action reboot of “Kim Possible” airs Friday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, on the Disney Channel and DisneyNOW. With a list that read like a Who’s Who at the Radio Disney Music Awards, actors, musicians, comedians and more, came out to celebrate the Feb. 12 premiere at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles. Stars of the Disney Channel Original Movie were on site for the special event, as were many familiar faces who came (with family in tow) to lend support.
The animated series (which aired from 2002-2007) follows the crime-fighting teenager Kim Possible (voiced by Christy Carlson Romano) along with her best friend Ron Stoppable (Will Friedle), and his pet: a naked mole rat named Rufus (voiced by Nancy Cartwright). The 2019 edition brings the series’ beloved characters to life in a new comedy action/adventure movie. The film stars Sadie Stanley (Kim Possible), Sean Giambrone (Ron Stoppable), Ciara Riley Wilson (Athena), Todd Stashwick (Drakken), Taylor Ortega (Shego), Issac Ryan Brown (Wade Load), Alyson Hannigan (Dr. Ann Possible), Connie Ray (Nana Possible), Erika Tham (Bonnie Rockwaller), Patton Oswalt (Professor Dementor), Christy Carlson Romano (Poppy Blu), and Nancy Cartwright (as the voice of Rufus).
Romano, who was nominated for an Emmy as the voice of the iconic title character, makes her return to the world of “Kim Possible,” this time, as Poppy Blu. At the premiere, the actress/singer discussed her new role and even joked about the idea of a Poppy Blu spin-off. “It was already a really large universe,” Romano told AXS. “We had so many different, amazing villains, that it would be so cool to see more villains and see what we can do with that. And, who can become a villain? Like Poppy Blu, she could become a villain,” Romano said when pondering where the future of “Kim Possible” might lead.
Nancy Cartwright also returns to the “Kim Possible” universe, reprising the character of Rufus. Cartwright, who is best-known as the voice of Bart Simpson, adds her unique style of comedy to the story. “I love the fact that it’s live-action and Rufus is the only animated aspect in the film,” Cartwright told AXS. “I think it’s a great message with today’s culture,” she pointed out about the movie. “We need heroes. We need young women that are doing great things and guys that support that. I think kids will really like this movie and hopefully, they'll be inspired by that.”
Cartwright isn’t the only one who brings levity to the film. The Second City alumnus Todd Stashwick, and comedy partner in crime, Taylor Ortega, relied heavily on their improvisation skills to deliver performances that their castmates continue to laud. The pair recently performed at an improv show in New York City, where their “Kim Possible” co-stars showed up to cheer them on.
“I get to play a lot of villains on television but never one like this,” Stashwick shared with AXS. “To make Drakken something that combines menace and buffoonery, was a dream come true because my roots are in improv and comedy. Drakken got to weave my villainy with my comedy, and it was a perfect match." Stashwick and Ortega both have a history doing improv and got to ad-lib a lot during the filming of “Kim Possible.” Most of which is said to have made the final cut.
Directors/co-producers Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein helped usher this new incarnation into existence. “We went through every episode, every movie, every song trying to figure out how to bring it to life in the real world,” Lipovsky tells AXS. Once the duo worked out what to update and what to keep, they relied on Drakken and Shego (Stashwick and Ortega), as the comedians of the bunch, to add extra humor to the mix. While filming, Lipovsky and Stein do something called a “kung fu take,” where the actors get to improvise whatever they want. They estimated that much of what came out of that found its way into the movie.
Sadie Stanley, Sean Giambrone, and Ciara Riley Wilson all agree that the “kung fu take” was one of their favorite things about making “Kim Possible.” The trio says their off-the-cuff shenanigans even included some impromptu singing performances; everything from “Frozen,” to “Call Me, Beep Me!” (the ‘Kim Possible’ song), to Shakira.
Giambrone spoke more on improvisation when it came to working with comedian Patton Oswalt, who plays Professor Dementor in both “Kim Possible” the animated series, and the live-action movie. The two are familiar with each other from their time on “The Goldbergs.” The group went on to praise the comic for the tips he gave while they were on set. “He’s an improv master,” Stanley said of Oswalt. “So, it was really fun to play off of him.” Giambrone has now dubbed the stand-up “a kung fu master.”
Additional talent on hand at the “Kim Possible” premiere included Raven-Symoné, Auli'i Cravalho, Daniel DiMaggio from the ABC sitcom “American Housewife,” actress/singer Meg Donnelly, Johnny Knoxville, Lou Diamond Phillips, Tahj Mowry, cast members from Disney’s “Andi Mack,” “Fast Layne,” “Coop & Cami,” “Raven’s Home,” and the scripted/improvised comedy series “Just Roll With It.” Also on site was “Just Add Magic” star and “Crossing My Heart” singer Aubrey Miller, musical artist Ruby Jay, and singer Baby Ariel.
The live-action original movie, "Kim Possible," will premiere Friday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, on Disney Channel and DisneyNOW.
“Kim Possible” creators/executive producers, Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, agree that with the live-action reboot, Disney has found magic. It has everyone wondering, “What’s the sitch” for the future?