Interview With “The Princess Switch 3” Director Mike Rohl

What’s the holiday season without a few (or in this house, a lot) of holiday movies streaming through the halls? Thanks to director Mike Rohl, we’ve got a series on Netflix that’s filled with holiday spirit; The Princess Switch 12, and now 3. But what of the man himself? I took my extremely limited interview abilities to Zoom, and fired some questions at the seasoned pro.

I had to give him props for his most excellent use of The Shining’s Overlook Hotel as his Zoom backdrop, though I had to keep stopping myself from looking at that wonderful still… (Me? No backdrop. Hell, I could barely figure out how to turn on the video. Go team!) He’s a fan of Kubrick, and chatted a bit about how even the best directors have a wonderful team they work with. Something that definitely shows with the gloriously fun look of his Switch films. Both Rohl and screenwriter Robin Bernheim “got a kick out of Fiona”, as did Vanessa Hudgens, who plays all three royals in the series. “If we’ve done some twinning, why not do some tripling?” (I couldn’t agree more.) It seemed fashion-wise that Fiona was closest to Hudgens real-life sartorial vibe, with both sharing a love for gorgeous ensembles with a bit of irreverent kick. Mmm, to be in either one’s closet for an hour…

As the third film of the series, 3 not only went back to the same locations, it had much of the same cast and “all the principal creative team” from the previous film, so “it was like going home” with a “summer camp-ish” feel. More so with the pandemic, as cast and crew were living together because of the COVID protocols, in their own “pandemic bubble”. The producer even brought Canadian-born Rohl some Tim Horton’s goodies – who knew there was a Tims in Edinburgh? Now that’s a bonding moment right there. Many of the cast and crew even took part in a bit of an impromptu real-life Christmas movie, as, while they’d planned on heading home for the holidays, found themselves in lockdown in Edinburgh after the shoot wrapped instead. So, they all ended up celebrating at the hotel they filmed  “…as one big happy family.” 

Rohl mentioned his directorial style will sometimes bleed into how he decorates his own home for the holidays, noting what could/should go where, and when. He waits ‘til Thanksgiving, going “old school” and harking back to holiday moments with his family. And a man after my own heart, he likes to decorate while his wife is away, so she can be surprised by all the festive decor all at once. Who doesn’t love getting one big pop of holidayness…I say as I stare at the empty Christmas tree I put up early this morning. Ahem. Anyway, Rohl says he’s got a classic spirit when it comes to holiday vibes with songs from Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby, along with the song and film White Christmas taking center stage. Though he said he’s been known to hum  “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”, and who can blame him? It slaps. 

And yes, I asked him about his favorite donut. It’s tradition. His is  a honey cruller from Tim Horton’s. Okay, now I’m hungry. 

Don’t forget – all three Princess Switch movies are available for streaming on Netflix right now!

About Denise

Professional nerd. Lover of licorice.
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