Your eyes weren’t tricking you – Spirited director Sean Anders has explained how they pulled off the movie’s funniest cameo.
Spirited follows Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds) and Present (Will Ferrell). The former is a modern-day “unredeemable” Scrooge who relishes online division and controversy, the latter is his Christmas ghost sent to make him see the error of his ways.
As you’d expect from a Christmas Carol adaptation, we get to see Clint’s past, present, and future – but this is a movie more about the ghost himself, and whether he’ll ever be able to live a normal life again. You can check out our review here.
During one of the movie’s best songs, an eye-opening cameo steps across the screen – how did they get them to appear? It was easier than you think, according to the director. Spoilers for Spirited to follow…
In the movie, Clint asks Present to show him his own past, as he doesn’t want to be lectured by someone he barely knows. Then comes the reveal: Present was the original Ebenezer Scrooge.
They head to the pub, where they drink warm ale and talk about how “Good afternoon” was considered the height of rudeness in those days, kicking off a tap-dancing, catchy song.
One of the lyrics is: “Deplore them with decorum like you’re Judi bloody Dench,” sang by the Dame herself in a brief, hilarious cameo.
In an interview with Dexerto, Anders explained: “Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, our songwriters, had written that lyric into the song and as we were building the number around the song, the question came up of whether we should have a Judi Dench lookalike kind of pass through, and have the guys go, ‘Wait, was that Judi Dench?’
“And then our producer David Koplan said: ‘Why don’t we ask the real Judi Dench?’ It always blows my mind that we can do that. We did it and she was interested in doing it and we were able to make that all that happen.
“I was really thrilled at the audience reaction the first time we put that in front of the audience; even from young people, they went crazy when they saw her.”
Spirited will be in UK cinemas and on Apple TV+ from November 18.