Ten Things You May Not Know About Rapunzel
1. Rapunzel’s origins go back much farther than Tangled of course, all the way back to 1812 in fact. That’s when the Brothers Grimm included her story as part of a collection called Children’s and Household Tales, or Grimm’s Fairy Tales as they are commonly known today. This collection of stories also included Cinderella, Little Briar-Rose (Sleeping Beauty), and Little Snow White. The Grimm Brothers’ story was actually an adaptation of a much early tale, Persinette, written by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force, published in 1698.
2. In the original tale, Rapunzel is named for a plant in a forbidden garden that Rapunzel’s mother desired to eat when she was pregnant. The fairy of the garden, upon discovering that the father was stealing the plants, allowed him to take them to his wife on the condition that the child be given to her. The exact identity of the flower that the Grimm Brothers were referring to has been debated over the years, with likely candidates being corn salad and rampion (both similar to lettuce or spinach).
3. Adjusted for inflation, upon its release Tangled was the second most expensive film ever made, trailing only Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. The total cost of production is estimated at $260 million, with the film taking six years to make. That may sound like a lot (and it is!), but the movie ended up earning more than twice that at the box office, making it a resounding success.
4. Though much of the budget was devoted to the extensive use of computer animation, producer Glen Keane was careful to ensure that the film retained the look and feel of classic Disney hand-drawn animation. To that end he organized a special seminar for the artists and animators called “The Best of Both Worlds,” emphasizing that the animation should retain the fluidity of the hand-drawn art seen in older Disney classics, while simultaneously taking advantage of the latest advances in technology.
5. In a nod to classical styling, the film was modeled to convey the look of traditional oil on canvas. One of the main inspirations for the look of the movie was a painting called The Swing, by French artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The painting was described by Keane as “romantic and lush,” and was a great aid in allowing the artists to create a painterly look for the film.
6. The painterly inspirations of Tangled should come as no surprise; Rapunzel herself is very talented when it comes to painting, music, baking, and astronomy. She even turned the walls of her tower into a grand mural.
7. Even with Keane’s emphasis on traditional styles, Tangled still presented a number of technological challenges. Chief among them was Rapunzel’s hair. It took six years of programming and refinement to finally get Rapunzel’s hair to behave as the directors’ intended. The program used to animate Rapunzel’s hair was called Dynamic Wires, and used differential mathematics to handle the complexities involved in bringing her hair to life.
8. How much hair? Well, Rapunzel’s hair is 70 feet long, but that’s just the beginning. Her hair consisted of nearly 100,000 individual strands, which in real life would weigh over ten pounds. It’s a good thing that computer imagery was used, could you imagine drawing all of that hair over and over again?
9. Speaking of CGI, Tangled is the first Disney princess film to be animated via computer imagery. Tangled was also the first princess film to receive a PG rating by the MPAA.
10. Rapunzel became an official Disney Princess on October 2, 2011, nearly a year after the release of Tangled .