From director Anna Mastro and based on an original story by Alex Litvak, Andrew Green and Austin Winsberg, the Disney+ original film Secret Society of Second-Born Royals follows Sam (Peyton Elizabeth Lee), a rebellious teenager whose royal lineage makes her second-born status something of an afterthought to her family. But when she learns that she has superpowers because of a genetic trait attributed only to those that are like her, it’s up to her to find her inner superhero and create her own legacy.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, filmmaker Anna Mastro talked about how she got attached to direct this project, blending the royal family genre with the superhero genre, the elements of the story that most spoke to her, the journey she’s taken as a director, how much the script changes over the course of making the movie, assembling this team of young actors, setting up a possible new franchise, and what she’d like to do next.
Collider: How did this project and script come your way? Was it a random opportunity or were you looking for something like this?
ANNA MASTRO: Well, I’m always looking for inventive coming of age stories and I am always looking for things that involve action and teenage girls, especially. I had been looking for something to do with Disney for awhile and an exec who works there had been my boss’ assistant at an agency, probably 19 years ago, and every job she goes to, she sends me a project. This project, I thought was great. I thought it had so much potential. I thought it was pretty interesting. I loved the idea of doing original IP, especially for Disney. And so, it seemed like this really cool opportunity.
It’s cool because it’s this original thing, but then it also blends the royal family genre with the superhero genre, in a way that seems really new.
MASTRO: Thank you. That was definitely the goal. I just wanted to elevate what’s been in this space before but doing it in a different way and with a really diverse cast. I think that was exciting.
Were there elements about the story itself or the specific characters that most appealed to you and that you thought were most interesting?
MASTRO: Yeah, I love that idea of a kid in that coming of age genre, who’s looking for their place and they feel like they don’t fit in, within their family, within their world, and within their friend group. They just feel different and it makes them feel like something’s wrong with them. I think a major theme about this movie is that when you figure out really what makes you different or unique, that’s what makes you special and you’ll figure out what you can do with that. That theme was the one that really stuck out to me.
You directed a movie early on in your career, but then did a