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The newest DCOM ‘Upside-Down Magic’ makes its highly-anticipated debut on July 31. HollywoodLife has an EXCLUSIVE behind-the-scenes look at how the magical world came to be.

“So when we set out to make the movie, we knew that Sage Academy had to be really special,” director Joe Nussbaum says in our EXCLUSIVE video. “And what we embraced was the elemental, organic nature of so much of this magic. Turning into animals, talking to animals, creating fire, flying through the air all have to do with nature and elements.”

Upside-Down Magic follows best friends Nory and Reina as they begin their journey at Sage Academy for Magical Studies. Reina’s ability to harness the power of fire lands her at the top of her class of Flares, but Nory’s wonky magic and proclivity for turning into herself into a “Dritten” — a half-kitten, half-dragon — lands her in a class for those with upside-down magic.

Siena Agudong Izabela Rose
Nory and Reina head to Sage Academy in ‘Upside-Down Magic.’ (Disney Channel)

Production designer Bill Boes revealed what influenced the design of the school. “We started off saying these are the rules. There’s no stainless steel. There’s only natural things like bark and wood. We wanted to say nature influenced the design of the school,” he said.

From just the trailers alone, Upside-Down Magic is truly embracing magic and nature. “I think that kids and familiars are going to go bananas for the magic aspect of this film because the effects are insane,” Vicki Lewis, who plays Headmaster Knightslinger, said. 

Kyle Howard
Kyle Howard as Budd Skriff in a scene from the DCOM. (Disney Channel)

The cast and crew went above and beyond with the special effects. Siena Agudong, who plays Reina, dished about how one particular aspect of Reina’s powers was created. “I had to have like a sparkle fireball, and so they put wires through my jacket and then they taped it to my hands,” Siena revealed. “Having to look down and pretend like there was something growing in your hand was incredible.”

Bill has received two Art Directors Guild Awards for Excellence in Production Design for his work on A Series of Unfortunate Events and Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow. His other production design credits include The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, and more. Joe has directed feature films like Sleepover, Sydney White, and Disney’s Prom. He also serves as the executive producer of Disney Channel’s Gabby Duran & The Unsittables.

Siena Agudong
Siena Agudong on the set of ‘Upside-Down Magic.’ (Disney Channel)

Upside-Down Magic also stars Izabela Rose as Nory Boxwood Horace, Kyle Howard as Budd Skriff, Max Torina as Andres Padillo, Elie Samouhi as Elliot Cohen, and Alison Fernandez as Pepper Paloma. The Disney Channel Original Movie will premiere July 31 at 8 p.m. ET.

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