Byron Howard looked to one of the biggest icons in the entertainment industry when he was working on new animation Tangled. He says Cher’s exotic look cemented his decision to base Mother Gothel on her. The animated feature tells the classic story of Rapunzel who finds herself trapped in a tower by a wicked witch.
“People keep coming back to this, but it’s true!” Byron told Cover Media. “I guess it’s because Cher is kinda gothic and exotic looking and definitely she was one of the people we looked at visually as far as what gives you a striking character.”
The part of Gothel was voiced by American actress Donna Murphy, and Byron admits that everyone struggled to pinpoint particular character traits for the film’s villain. Eventually they settled on a character far removed from Rapunzel, who was voiced by Mandy Moore.
“Donna Murphy also really influenced what Gothel would look like. She was a hard one to crack,” Byron added. “In this version she’s not really a witch or sorceress, she has to be very intelligent, compelling, manipulative character who is very smart and can convince this poor girl she is her mother. So in order to contract her with Rapunzel, who is very petite with blonde hair, we need to go completely in the opposite direction with Gothel.
“She is very all, curvy and voluptuous, and has this very exotic look. We’re trying to say: this is not Razunzel’s mother.”
Tangled is released in the UK on January 28.