There are some things that are just universal, no matter how old you get, and one of those things is Disney Channel Original Movies. These TV films, affectionately called DCOMs, are still fun to tune into even when, like me, you're well into the '20s. With Halloween only a few days away, the one getting the most chatter is, of course, Disney Channel's Halloweentown series. You know, even though they change Marnie's actress in Halloweentown. The movies followed the adventures of a young girl named Marnie Piper, who finds out that she's from the Cromwell family of witches, but, if you watch all four movies back to back, you soon remember that Marnie is played by a different actress in Return to Halloweentown. So, why did they change her actress?
If you're expecting some kind of salacious behind-the-scenes drama that resulted in Kimberly J. Brown, Marnie's original actress, storming off the set with a refusal to ever work with Disney again, you'll be sorely disappointed. As it turns out, Brown was filming Big Bad Wolf, another horror film, at the time and the alleged scheduling conflicts between the production of that film and the production of Return to Halloweentown led her to be unable to reprise her role as Marnie.
However, Brown later claimed in an interview that, "Well, Let me just say that I wanted to do the fourth one and was fully available for the shoot — Nothing makes me happier than playing Marnie. Disney decided not to use me for the fourth one, I’m don’t know why. I was definitely disappointed not to do it." Perhaps that means that Brown was willing to do the movie after Big Bad Wolf, but production couldn't wait?
Replacement star Paxton was also asked in an interview about the switch, and she was as in the dark as anyone. "They asked me if I was interested in playing Marnie and I said I was. It sounded like a lot of fun...," she said to Hollywood.com. "I don’t know [what happened to Kimberly J. Brown]! I just know they called me and said, ‘Do you want to play Marnie?’ and I said, ‘Yeah!’"
The one thing that everyone can agree on is that playing Marnie was an amazing experience for both women, who both had nothing but positive things to say about the role and the character. And why wouldn't they? The Halloween-loving, witch-turned-savior learning to bear the Cromwell name as proudly as she bore the Piper name in all the years leading up to the revelation of her true heritage was a hero to us all. Brown herself put it best in an interview with MTV:
I love Marnie and everything that she stood for, so I’m really happy when people tell me how much she meant to them. Marnie always knew there was something different about her, and when she did find out about her magic, she wanted to know everything she could and really fully live in that and be herself. She was just always really cool in that way. I admired her determination and her sense of humor and her willingness to take on her family legacy. Who wouldn’t want fly a broom and make things magically appear?... I loved that we got to see her figure out how to be a teenager but also how to be a witch at the same time.
Image: Disney Channel