Jennifer Stone & David DeLuise Release a Heartfelt Podcast Recapping Disney’s Beloved Wizards of Waverly Place
Let’s hop in a time machine and head back to 2008 – you just got home from school, mom is making dinner – and best of all, Wizards of Waverly Place is on T.V.. Life was good, and you couldn’t wait to see what Alex, Justin, Max, Harper, and the rest of the Russo family had gotten themselves into that day. It’s safe to say that when the show came to its bittersweet end in 2012, Disney Channel, and the viewers, suffered a great loss.
But as of February 6th, 2023, it appears that the magic has not quite yet fallen away, as the show’s own Jennifer Stone (Harper Finkle) and David DeLuise (Jerry Russo) have come together to release Wizards of Waverly Pod, a brand new podcast where the pair reminisces on their shared experience, their time at Disney, and recaps their favorite memories from each episode, starting with the pilot “10 Minute Sale”.
In what is sure to be a delightful and informative look into what lies behind the Disney Channel allure, the pair is nothing but laughs and smiles as they not only give listeners a glimpse of what life is like behind the scenes, but also a look into what it’s like for any teenager to enter the Disney machine. And as to be expected, there are even a few special secrets revealed along the way.
Wizards was Actually Meant to be The Amazing O’Malley’s
This may not be news to a few of the more hardcore Disney Channel fans, but most of us had no idea that the beloved Russo family and their zany sub shop was actually meant to be a magic shop run by the O’Malley family in the original pilot episode.
At the time, Stone said she had been cast for the part of the best friend as a recurring character on the series, and had filmed one episode alongside the unnamed actor who had originally received DeLuise’s part. While the details of why the series name and cast were changed are a bit murky, Stone makes it abundantly clear that things for the cast had actually worked out for the best, with DeLuise fervently agreeing beside her.
The pair did however discuss some logistics and plot holes that likely contributed to the network’s change in direction. For instance, Justin (David Henrie) and Alex (Selena Gomez) were originally supposed to be twins. While the two agreed that such a dynamic may have been fun in its own right, viewers would have missed out on the intense level of sibling rivalry that ensued between the eldest and middle Russo kids.
Another fun fact: David DeLuise was originally sought after for the part in Amazing O’Malleys and turned it down because he didn’t want to be just another “static Disney T.V. dad”, and only accepted the role after the character of Jerry Russo was incorporated into the series a little more evenly.
Jennifer Stone Originally Auditioned for the Role of Alex Russo
Listeners also had an opportunity to learn a little bit more about Jennifer Stone’s journey through television acting, which started from the time she was a young teenager. Pre-Wizards, Stone had primarily been cast in more serious and dramatic roles, with the Disney sitcom being the first work of physical comedy she had ever done.
Stone mentioned to listeners that at the time, she was living in Texas with her family and paying for each and every acting trip out to sunny Los Angeles on her own. She was nearly out of money when she was offered the role of Harper on Wizards, and rejected the network’s original offer for her to be a recurring guest, fighting for a recurring character role instead – which she eventually got.
But at first, when things were looking bleak, she insisted that she audition for the role of Alex Russo instead. Stone said she “had done all of the prep work for Alex, and afterwards they had her cold read for Harper”, at which point the producers decided the chemistry between Stone and Gomez was palpable.
Of course, for Stone, she had absolutely no complaints when things got rolling with Harper, with the character being built around her insanely vivid and eccentric style. Harper’s famed “marker dress” happened to be one of Stone’s favorites, and she actually wound up being able to keep it – she even mentioned a little secret about the dress in the DCOM Vault, but we’ll let you listen to find out what it is.
For those of us who grew up with the Russos and their beloved subway-themed sub shop, it’s safe to say that everything is not in fact what it seems just as Alex Russo said. But somehow, all these years later it appears that fans will find out about every magical secret that DeLuise and Stone will allow.
Wizards of Waverly Pod (2023) Official Trailer