China Anne McClain was my favorite interview of the Descendants set. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved them all, but she said my hair was cool, so she wins. Aside from that, she was a super cool, strong woman and I’m so glad that she took time out to let us interview her.
China Ann McClain
Ursula is one of her favorite movie villains ever, and to prep for playing the role of her daughter, she watched The Little Mermaid a whole bunch of times.
She has so much attitude. In preparation, I watched “The Little Mermaid” about 20 times before I went to Vancouver to shoot. I was looking at her mannerisms, how she talked and everything that she said, and that helped me a lot on set.
She enjoyed playing a villain because we all have those things we want to unleash.
It’s cool to play a villain. This is my very first time playing one I think. We all have those feelings inside that we just want to unleash on people sometimes, and that’s the definition of Uma’s character. She has always bottled up feelings that she randomly unleashes on people and is not sorry for it at all. So, it was fun playing that and it was really cool.
Uma’s hair in the movie is just a few braids braided into the perimeter of her hair and then the rest is a clip in wig.
They braided the perimeter of my head in the back and the rest of it was a wig. They braided all of this with teal extensions and I walked around for the length of shooting with these braids. It was really cool and it was quick every day. You would think it would take a really long time, but they just slipped the wig on and put the hat on.
China Ann McClain turned 18 on set and the cast picked on her for it.
A lot of them just picked on me. They said, “It’s your birthday! We’re going to go out and you’re going to have fun! You’re not doing anything on your birthday!” So it was really fun being around them because they’re such a cool cast. They’re like a family and they included me immediately. I was away from my family and my sister was off shooting “Empire” and I couldn’t be there with them, so it was like having another family that I could spend it with and it was fun. They made it really fun.
Working in the costumes wasn’t, at first, an easy feat.
It was difficult working in the costumes because I had a skirt and heels on, not to mention the heavy braids and the leather jacket I could barely move my arms in. I had to do a dance number in all of that, and part of the process is just getting adjusted to the costume. We did three weeks of rehearsing before we started shooting, and part of the rehearsal was that I had the wig on. I thought, “I’m going to wear this so I can get used to doing the dance numbers in it.” So, after I got adjusted to it, it was pretty much cake.
China Ann’s most difficult task during filming was trying to make Uma relatable.
I think the biggest challenge playing Uma was probably making her relatable and trying to make her likable because you can’t mess with the VKs. The fans love the VKs and I see why because in the first film they are really, really good and they connected with a lot of kids. So, just making kids not dislike her and helping them be able to understand her was probably the biggest challenge.
She has known Cameron Boyce since she was nine!
I’ve known Cameron Boyce, fun fact, since he was nine. We’re always picking on each other and playing pranks on each other. He and Booboo Stewart have the coolest relationship ever. They’re really close, and a lot of the original cast and the new cast got close so quickly. It was like there was no difference between us. It felt like we’d worked on the first film, too. That’s how comfortable they made us feel. So that was really cool.
She became so close with some of the actors on set, they got matching tattoos!
This little tattoo that I have right here, Thomas (Harry Hook) has one back here and Dylan (Gil) does too. So we got really close on set. Hopefully you can see that on screen because that was one of the last things we shot, another fun fact. We had all gotten to know each other and had all become really close by the end of the film.
CATCH CHINA ANN MCCLAIN AND THE REST OF THE VILLAIN KIDS WHEN “DESCENDANTS 2” PREMIERES FRIDAY, JULY 21 (8:00 P.M. ET/PT) ON FIVE NETWORKS – DISNEY CHANNEL, ABC, FREEFORM, DISNEY XD AND LIFETIME!