Disney Dream Portraits by Annie Leibovitz

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Don't you ever want to go back to a time where anything seems possible and all worries are a million miles away? That is the magic of Disney... it seems to be able to bring out the inner child in all of us, doesn't it? Disney Parks recently released three more images as part of their ongoing "Year of a Million Dreams" campaign that continues the series of Disney Dream portraits featuring famous celebrities as Disney characters.

(click to see larger images)

Olivia Wilde as the Evil Queen and Alec Baldwin as the Spirit of the Magic Mirror from ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’. The caption reads, “Where magic speaks, even when you’re not the fairest of them all.”

Queen Latifah as Ursula from ‘The Little Mermaid’, which is captioned, “Where memories take hold and never let go.”

(But in case you would like to know) it all began in 2007 at the request (and paycheck) of Disney. You don't even have to be a fan of photography to have heard of THE Annie Leibovitz, a brilliant portrait photographer who has held chief of photography positions at Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. She was also the last person to professionally photograph John Lennon - as he was killed just five hours after she shot the infamous Rolling Stones cover with a naked Lennon curled around and kissing Yoko Ono in 1980 (which still remains one of the most famous magazine covers of all time).

Each image of the Disney Dream series features a scene with the featured celebrities transformed into the role of a fabled Disney character, expressing their own dreams and imagination. Two of the first images released were inspired by 'Cinderella' and 'Alice in Wonderland.'

As Cinderella, Scarlett Johansson is seen running down a flight of stairs as the clock strikes midnight with her glass slipper unknowingly left behind. The tagline reads, “Where every Cinderella story comes true.”

Beyonce appears as 'Alice in Wonderland,' twirling in a teacup, accompanied by Oliver Platt as the Mad Hatter and Lyle Lovett as the March Hare. The tagline reads, “Where Wonderland is your destiny.”

“It’s two great imaginations coming together — Disney and Annie Leibovitz,” said Lovett. “To be along for the ride really is quite something, just knowing that you’re going to be part of a great Disney character. And then when you step into the imagination of Annie Leibovitz, you know you’re in another world.”

Above Jessica Biel is portrayed as Pocahontas in a photo illustration titled “Where Dreams Run Free.”

For "Fantasea" inspired by 'The Little Mermaid,' Leibovitz worked her mastery on soundstages on both coasts. Fitted in his silvery fishtail, Michael Phelps was lowered into a backlot tank in Los Angeles used for underwater movie scenes. Leibovitz was on the outside, snapping away, communicating her instructions to Phelps via members of her crew. “One of the most complicated shots I have ever done,” said Leibovitz. “I didn’t know if it was going to work, what to expect. I have to tell you, he was beautiful. Michael put on that tail and … he just became like a modern dancer. He just took to it and enjoyed himself and swam through this tank. I was blown away.”

“It was kind of weird to be able to put on a tail and swim around in a tank,” Phelps admitted. “To work with Annie and try these crazy sorts of ideas is really an honor and something I won’t forget.”

At a New York soundstage, Leibovitz perched the fishtailed Julianne Moore on a rock as the starry-eyed Ariel. “There’s a moment in the shoot where Julianne is sitting on a rock in her mermaid tail and her young daughter comes in, and there is not a dry eye in the house,” Leibovitz recalled. “She sat in her mother’s lap. Her jaw just dropped. She could not believe her mother was Ariel..." and THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the primary reason I felt compelled to devote a post to this project.

These are just a few of my personal favorites from the series. If you would like to see more (including Julie Andrews as a Fairy and Roger Federer as King Arthur), plus some great behind-the-scenes photos, check them out here.


Queen A said...


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