On affectation in Kimberly J. Brown’s abode is a affected letter from the backward Debbie Reynolds.
The “Halloweentown” extra thinks about her on-screen grandmother “all the time” — abnormally during the ages of October, aback she and Reynolds acclimated to breach out their old witches’ apparel to accompany smiles to fans’ faces on the 31st. Now, aback she needs a acumen to smile, Brown rereads the words Reynolds wrote for her aloft wrapping their final blur together.
“[I] approved to absorb up as abundant time with her as I could because she became addition grandmother to me,” she told The Times during a buzz alarm aftermost week. “So abundant of their accord on awning mirrored what our accord was in absolute life, so I’m beholden for that time I got with her.”
Brown, 35, starred adverse the awning figure in the hit “Halloweentown” TV movies as Marnie, a active and bent adolescent witch-in-training who joins armament with her grandmother, Aggie Cromwell (Reynolds), to save the cosmos from angry beings who appetite to accumulate the bitter and bewitched worlds divided.
Since the aboriginal in the alternation premiered on the Disney Approach in 1998 , the ancestors films accept maintained a band following, dispatch anniversary fan contest abounding by Brown and added aboriginal casting associates in anniversary of the saga’s appellation holiday. Because of the pandemic, this year’s anniversary are activity basic with GalaxyCon’s “Halloweentown” Q&A and meet-and-greet featuring Brown and her onscreen mother, Judith Hoag, on All Hallows’ Eve.
“[GalaxyCon] approached us to do article on Halloween, and I thought, ‘What a fun idea,’ because I do I biking about a lot usually accomplishing altered appearances at altered cons,” Brown said. “I adulation affair admirers and … accepting to affix with them alone too. And so I was abject that that has been not absolutely as abundant of an advantage this year.”
Also accommodating in the cyber console with Brown is her admirer and “Halloweentown II” costar, Daniel Kountz, who played her nemesis, the antagonistic son of the abandoned archimage Kalabar. (Spoiler alert: Marnie and her adolescent Cromwell witches defeat Kalabar in the aboriginal film. Hence the sequel’s subtitle, “Kalabar’s Revenge.”)
The full-circle irony of Brown and Kountz’s off-screen accord is not absent on them or their loyal “Halloweentown II” fans. Aloft advertent they’re dating in absolute life, abounding are quick to admonish the brace of chat from the alpha of the movie, which sees a smooth-talking, clandestine Kal (Kountz) coquette his way into Marnie’s acceptable graces.
“People consistently adulation the … ‘If witches were all as appealing as you, they’d accept a bigger reputation,'” Brown said, reciting one of Kal’s auto lines. “And again there’s, ‘Meeting you was aggregate I hoped it would be,’ and that affectionate of thing. … Before I ascertain that he’s evil, obviously.”
Kountz, 42, has abundantly retired from acting and now works as a Realtor. But that hasn’t chock-full advertent Disney Approach aficionados from trolling his listings with comments such as, “Don’t assurance him. He’ll about-face your abode gray” — a advertence to the aphotic spell Kal casts on Halloweentown, transforming the active anchorage for allegorical creatures into a monochromatic wasteland.
“A lot of [fans] say, ‘I can’t accept you’re with Marnie now. Didn’t she apprentice from her accomplished mistakes?’ Funny things like that, which affectionate of able me up,” Kountz said.
“I accept a applicant that I’m gonna be alive with abutting month, and she was a big ‘Halloweentown’ fan … and she’s like, ‘Hey, I got a abode I appetite to sell, and who bigger to advertise it than Kal?’ And I’m like, ‘OK, that’s great. My name is Daniel, but, yeah, sure, you can alarm me Kal if you want.'”
The alcove attraction with the chilling alternation is annihilation new to Kountz and Brown, who began dating a few years ago afterwards reconnecting on a “Halloweentown”-themed activity for Brown’s YouTube approach that adapted admirers on what Kal has been accomplishing aback Marnie baffled him in the afterpiece of “Kalabar’s Revenge.”
Across her YouTube and amusing media pages, Brown frequently rewards hundreds of bags of followers attractive for homesickness in the anatomy of behind-the-scenes photos, casting alliance videos and adorning commodity featuring accepted quotes from the films, such as Grandma Aggie’s aggressive motto, “Being accustomed is awfully overrated.”
“I’ve gotten endless addendum from bodies adage that they lived by that book and by that activity growing up,” Brown said. “They didn’t feel as ‘normal’ in school, or article like that, and it fabricated them feel like it was OK to be that way. And that consistently touches me so deeply.”
With the “Halloweentown” flicks now accessible to beck on Disney , Brown and Kountz accept noticed added assurance with the them. Brown has alike been able to clue the alive platform’s all-embracing rollout based on which countries she receives letters from at any accustomed moment. The latest Disney barrage armpit she’s logged? Norway.
“I get the sweetest addendum from bodies … that were teenagers aback the cine came out,” Brown said. “And again some bodies who acquaint me all about how they aloof alien it to their 3- or 4-year-old. And again a altered bearing of bodies that watched it with their parents or grandparents and bethink it actuality on [TV], and bodies that are aloof advertent it now because of Disney . … It’s surreal. We had no abstraction aback authoritative them that they would abide to alive on like this.”
“Over the accomplished brace years, the acknowledgment has gone up so much,” Kountz added. “Especially with [Disney ], you can readily watch it any time you appetite … alike aback it’s not Halloween time. In March, bodies are like, ‘Oh, we aloof watched … “Halloweentown II.” I’m introducing it to my kids.'”
The best accepted acknowledgment Brown gets are questions about — and artifice suggestions for — a abeyant authorization reboot from “Halloweentown” lovers who appetite to see Marnie’s kids advance their admiral or Kal acknowledgment for a rematch with the Cromwells. And although annihilation is clearly in the works, Brown has a acceptable activity “there would be an admirers for it.”
“I accept consistently anticipation that Marnie would maybe be, like, active for mayor” of Halloweentown, she said.
For now, the bequest of “Halloweentown” survives through October programming on Disney Approach and Freeform, additional year-round alive on Disney and, best recently, Brown’s TikTok account, which has admiring a lot of absorption this ages for accessible reasons. One viral video of the extra aggravating on her amethyst witch’s cloak, hat and dress from “Halloweentown II,” for example, has accumulated added than 12 actor angle on the Gen Z-facing platform.
“I acknowledge that they still appetite to see Marnie’s costume,” Brown said of her newfound TikTok fame. “It amazes me that being like that gets apparent so abounding times. … It’s been a awe-inspiring year, so if I can do article that helps bodies bethink that bewitched activity or article that they acquainted aback they were younger, I’m all for it.”
According to Brown, the attitude of bathrobe as her Disney Approach sorceress for Halloween was started years ago by none added than Reynolds, who acclimated to abruptness trick-or-treaters in apparel as Grandma Aggie. Inspired by her costar, Brown did the aforementioned — that is, until strangers began assuming up at her aperture consistently in chase of “Marnie’s house.”
“We had to cull aback a little bit on that, but, yeah, she gave me that idea, and it was so fun,” Brown said. “What a adventure for kids — and parents, who apparently apperceive [Reynolds] from so abounding things over the years because she was a freaking legend.”
Whether via Instagram throwbacks, TikTok stunts or COVID-safe basic conventions, Marnie will consistently be actuality to acceptable association home to Halloweentown — partly because of Reynolds, who consistently fabricated time for the admirers who already came out in droves “to see if they could bolt a glimpse of her” on the set of “Halloweentown.”
“That was article that was consistently actual important to her,” Brown said. “She absolutely accomplished me what a allowance it is to be in that position to be able to accomplish bodies happy. … That consistently has ashore with me.”
This adventure originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
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