After seeing Dove Cameron as Mal in the first Descendants film, and getting teases of her in the second film, we couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the sassy and complex character. Come to find out, Cameron once thought she was going to lose the gig, and we’re SO surprised.
During an interview with Disney Me, Cameron revealed a few secrets about herself and her role in Descendants. The biggest shocker was that the Disney Channel darling actually can’t dance, or rather, it’s not her specialty, and that she was convinced it woul cost her the role of Descendants’ leading lady, Mal (aka Maleficent’s daughter).
“I never thought I’d get to work with someone like Kenny Ortega. He is responsible for the High School Musical movies and he’s also the director of Descendants – but I’m not a dancer at all,” Cameron told Disney Me. “When I heard that he was attached to this movie, I said, ‘Wait, what? Kenny Ortega is attached to Descendants? You guys know I can’t dance, right?’”
Although she wasn’t actually in jeopardy of losing her job, she was terrified to dance in front of such a legendary choreographer.
“I was really scared because I thought he was going to say, ‘Send Dove home. She cannot dance. She cannot be my lead.’ But he was absolutely wonderful,” she explained.
Cameron turned out to be a pretty great student because when you watch Descendants you’d have no clue that she wasn’t a dancer. In fact, she totally kills it in the first film, and much of the credit for that goes to Ortega.
“One of Kenny’s favorite things to do is turn someone who’s not a dancer into a dancer. I worked with him intensively to make sure that I was up to par with the rest of the cast,” she said. “It was a really big education for me, but I loved every minute of it.”
We all knew Cameron could sing — she proved it in Hairspray Live! as well — but we would’ve never guessed that dancing didn’t come as naturally as singing for the actress. Whatever boot camp she did, definitely worked, because she’s a dancer now!
Descendants 2 premieres on July 21, 2017 on Disney Channel, Disney XD, Freeform, ABC and Lifetime.
For the latest pop culture news and voting, make sure to sign up for the People’s Choice newsletter!