Chris Pine Says He Was Nervous to Sing With Ariana DeBose for ‘Wish’

Chris Pine Says He Was Nervous to Sing With Ariana DeBose for ‘Wish’

Chris Pine is adding yet another Disney royal role to his resume. The 43-year-old actor portrayed Nicholas Devereaux in 2004’s The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement and Cinderella’s Prince in the 2014 fantasy musical film Into the Woods. Now he’s taking on an evil king in the upcoming animated film Wish.

“I was a prince in a Disney film, and now I get to play an evil king. It’s a nice balance,” Pine quips to ET’s Denny Directo. 

Pine plays Magnifico, the leader of the kingdom of Rosas, who possesses mystical powers that make him the keeper of his subjects’ deepest wishes — which he wields to selfish ends. This puts him in conflict with Asha, played by Ariana DeBose, a teen girl who wishes on a star to try and save her kingdom from impending darkness.

The film also stars Alan Tudyk, Angelique Cabral, Victor Garber, Natasha Rothwell, Jennifer Kumiyama, Evan Peters, Harvey Guillén, Ramy Youssef, Niko Vargas, Della Saba and Jon Rudnitsky.

Pine gushes that voicing the morally dubious king was “the most fun” he’s had in a while, recalling how he was able to be a “complete lunatic and throw everything at the wall to see if it sticks, you know?”

“I had so much fun doing it, and the directors just let me kind of play ball,” he shares. “What I love [is], you want to love and hate the bad guys. You want to be nice and charming and all that stuff and then blow up and then show multiple sides.”

Although he tells ET that he didn’t exactly draw inspiration from Disney’s classic villains, Pine is enthusiastic about the layered perspective that his Magnifico will bring to the villain Rolodex. While a line in the film warns that people should “never trust a handsome face,” Pine muses that maybe the true warning should be to “never trust vacant charm.”

While Magnifico may be cut from a different cloth than most villains, he does take inspiration from classic Disney villains in a vital way — with a great solo song.

While it’s no surprise that Pine more than holds his own opposite the Oscar-winning DeBose — he displayed his musical chops in Into the Woods, after all — the actor confessed he was a bit intimidated to perform opposite the musical star.

“It’s just not something I do on a daily,” Pine says bashfully. “When you’re singing opposite Ariana… it’s a big deal.”

When ET spoke with DeBose, the actress had nothing but good things to say about her singing partner. 

“He can sing! He can absolutely sing,” she declared when enlightened about her co-star doubting his ability. “When I found out that I was cast in this film, I was like, ‘Oh!’ I mean, did you see him in Into The Woods? …I think Chris is one of those examples of not understanding just how talented he is.”

DeBose teased that fans will be surprised when they hear Pine’s work in Wish, saying, “I love the sound of his voice, the way that he molds words. He is a delicious villain. You know people are going to love to hate him, and I just love watching him work.”

When it comes to her role as Asha, DeBose says she’s eternally grateful for the opportunity. “It’s heartening and almost overwhelming. You know, I’ve seen so many young, beautiful brown girls already dressing up [as Asha] — and just beautiful young people. They’re not all brown.”

“I was like, ‘That’s really cool too.’ Everyone seems to be inspired by this girl, her heart and her wish,” she adds. “And I think what’s so lovely is you’ve got people of all ages singing this song called ‘This Wish’ that literally is, ‘I make this wish to have something more for us.’ That wish is not for her, it’s for everyone else, and I was like, that’s special. And in the age of social media, where it’s a little self-serving, this is speaking to people. That’s epic to me.”

Wish is in theaters Nov. 22.

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