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‘One of the joys of playing Ashley was that she had faith,’ she says.‘People’s relationship with God can be very complicated.But in Adams’s hands she is disarming, her journey from a 2D animated character in the film’s first minutes to one who feels three-dimensional emotions – anger, attraction – is genuinely engaging. ‘I just love playing characters who are unabashedly, persistently cheerful,’ Adams says, sounding a little Giselle herself.‘It’s so much fun.’ Adams’s growing reputation is built on her skill at playing endearing innocents.‘I’m glad I didn’t become crazy-successful on moving to LA. I would have been too self-conscious.’ Without seeming disingenuous, Adams says that she was even glad not to have won the Oscar for Junebug.‘I wasn’t prepared for the kind of attention that would have brought.‘I can’t speak for everybody,’ she says of her religious upbringing, ‘but I know it instilled in me a value system I still hold true.The basic “Do unto others…” – that was what was hammered into me.
‘There was not enough money to put all the kids through school,’ she says.(She even ended up adopting Ashley’s red hair colour after the film, despite being a natural blonde.) Adams turned 30 that year; her two sisters were pregnant, while Adams was wearing her nine-months-gone prosthetic belly.She brought a lot of what she calls her ‘real life lived’ to her startling performance.Adams plays Giselle with winning enthusiasm and guileless charm. And when I think what I was like in my early twenties!The kind of girl who breaks into a song about the nature of true love in the middle of Central Park, and tells a toothless tramp, ‘You have a lovely smile’, Giselle could so easily be irritating (especially to anyone over the age of 10 in the audience), a cutesy caricature in too much sparkly tulle. “Hihowyoudoin’…” This burst of conversation would come at you.’ ‘She’s filled with joy – I didn’t have to do any work to direct her,’ Enchanted’s director Kevin Lima has commented of his leading lady, who also performs the effervescent Menken and Schwartz songs throughout the film.