‘Descendants 2’ Director Reveals Big Similarity With ‘High School Musical’

(Photo by Disney Channel/David Bukach)
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Descendants is basically the new High School Musical, and we are so here for it. While the two franchises appear to be very different, according to Kenny Ortega, the director of both Disney Channel hits, they have a lot more in common than you might think.

During an interview with People’s Choice earlier this week, Ortega revealed what he believes are the similarities between the Descendants and HSM franchises. It turns out, the biggest commonality comes from the cast.

“I think that there are a lot of similarities, and that’s why there’s deep connections for both projects. I think both projects, the actors that we’ve selected to play these roles, have a deep connection with each other, they are family, there is a chemistry that they share and I think that comes across,” Oretga told us ahead of the Descendants 2 premiere. “It’s something that lives underneath the dialog, underneath the music, underneath the dancing. You feel something when you look at these people together on a screen and I think that our fans connect with that. I think there’s where the similarities are.”

Over the years fans have been loyal to the HSM franchise and its amazing cast, which includes, Zac EfronVanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale. The Descendants cast — made up of Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, BooBoo Stewart, Cameron Boyce, and now China Anne McClain — has an equally as loyal following. That’s why it’s no surprise that Ortega attributes the special love for these movies to the actors in them.

“I also think the similarities also exist in the casting choices that we made. That Zac and Vanessa and Ashley [Tisdale] and Corbin [Bleu] and Monique [Coleman] and Olesya [Rulin], and KayCee [Stroh], and all of the other actors that we cast in High School Musical share something in common with the cast of Descendants and Descendants 2 and that is their sincerity, their enthusiasm, and their desire to be there and to make it special.”

Ortega even shared a story about HSM’s leading man, Efron, who played Troy Bolton, to show how dedicated his stars are to their roles.

“When we first began over 10 years ago, on the first day of rehearsal, Zac said to me on our very first break, he said, ‘Kenny, we all chose to be here, let’s do something that when we’re finished we can walk away from it and be proud.’ I think that is what, there’s a commonness that all of our actors share,” he said. “It’s that they show up on the day wanting to be there, and ready and excepting of kind of a responsibility. So, those are the similarities.”

Don’t be fooled by all of Ortega’s gushing over his awesome casts, which we love almost as much as he does, these two franchises have their differences. The best part is, however, that despite the separate storylines, the casts are the heart and soul of the movies, and that makes a BIG difference.

“The stories obviously are different — one takes place at a contemporary high school, the other is kind of a ‘once upon a now’ fairytale,” Ortega admitted. “I think that what makes them both work is smart casting of young, intelligent, and invested young people.”

We definitely agree with these similarities, the casting has been the key to success for both High School Musical and Descendants. In fact, we think this calls for a few HSM actors to make some cameos if Descendants 3 becomes a reality! What about you?

Descendants 2 airs on July 21, 2017 at 8 p.m. on Disney Channel, ABC, Freeform, Disney XD and Lifetime.

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