I adore Ginnifer Goodwin. She plays Snow White in the popular ABC hit show Once Upon a Time and she kicks butt when she has to, especially when it comes to protecting her family. Goodwin now stars as Disney Zootopia’s protagonist Juddy Hopps. Judy is eternally optimistic, determined to be the first bunny cop in Zootopia and fights for what she believes in. We learn early on that she never knows when to give up! In Zootopia, Goodwin breathes emotion, perseverance and refreshing optimism into her animated “cute” bunny.
During our recent press trip to Walt Disney World, Goodwin spoke to us about her love for Disney, what this film means to her and why her son won’t see Zootpia (yet). She’s about to be a mom to two and I appreciate the time she spent with us! I left our interview happy and inspired. Just like I did when I screened Zootopia!
There was some serious Girl Power moments during her interview. Here are highlights:
How did you prepare for your role as Judy Hopps?
Ginnifer Goodwin: I would like to say that I have a lot of artistic integrity and lived on a rabbit farm for a month, but I really just relinquished all control. Everything was really in the hands of the animators. This is not an actor’s medium so all I did was show up and try to be completely emotionally available, said my lines and tried different things. I wore sneakers so I could jump around! I mean, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. No one should get paid to have this much fun. Except me. I’ll totally take it.
Why did you want the role?
To be honest, there was one word that convinced me that I needed to take this role and that was Disney. That’s the truth. I was sitting in Mickey Mouse pajamas in my kitchen. I was pregnant. I was in Vancouver shooting Once Upon a Time and I got a phone call that I was being offered this job and I had never heard of Zootopia and I took it immediately. After reading the script, I was really taken with, of course, not only the scenes, but the fact that, like every great Disney film, it could make me laugh. It could make me cry at the same points every time I read it.
Did you relate to your character?
I related very much to the character. I understand why I was cast. I was typecast a bit and I’m proud of it but there was no question that I was going to take it the second I knew that it existed.
Has your son seen the movie and does he know that’s your voice?
He hasn’t seen it and we only recently decided that we’re not going to let him see it for a long time, but not for reasons that we was expected of ourselves. We kept him from all entertainment, all technology based entertainment until this point. He’s about to turn two. He just had the flu and we let him watch Winnie the Pooh for the first time. Up until this point, he’s been a reader. He’s extremely physically active. He’s a player and we really encouraged him to let that be his forms of entertainment.
I thought that we were going to let him see Zootopia and then we saw Zootopia and it’s almost out of our love for it that we’re going to keep animated things of which we are a part as parents, away from them because we realized, Oliver thinks that Winnie the Pooh is real and we would never want to shatter the illusion that he’s not and not only does he think that the animated Winnie the Pooh is real, because he’s almost two, thinks that the Winnie the Pooh that he met at Disneyland last month is the same exact Winnie the Pooh that was onscreen when he had the flu.
I’m just terrified that he would see Zootopia and he’s a smart kid, and he would say, that sounds an awful lot like Mommy, so I’m going to keep that from him as long as, as possible. I want to push him to be imaginative.
Have you overcome any stereotypes in your life in terms of how you’re received.
In the way that I’ve become an actress was overcoming other perceptions because I am proud of the fact that I am not some stereotypical, classic package of a Hollywood actress. I was certain early on I would never be a leading lady, and I thought that was ridiculous because there are all kinds of ladies and all stories need to be told, so why wouldn’t my kind of lady, lead a film at some point?
I think that being an actress in general, takes an exceptionally thick skin in that we’re rejected on a daily basis for a number of reasons and I think I’ve always been pretty good at letting it all roll of my back.
As a mom, what would you want for kids to take away from your character.
There’s so many incredible themes in this movie. The one that I gravitate towards the most because it’s the one my character articulated was that anyone can be anything and I absolutely believe that. I believe that there are infinite amounts of opportunities for everyone.
I’ve never understood this idea that there’s so many pieces of the pie. Why can’t we just look at it as there’s an infinite number of pies? There’s, enough to go around and there’s enough for everyone to carve their niche in life, so that’s the thing that I would hope on the surface that my kids take away from seeing Zootopia.
And then there are some incredible underlying and very timely and timeless themes, about the human condition and the state of our world that I think are powerful. It may take a little more maturity and social interaction for children to understand them, but I can’t wait for my kids to be old enough to really talk about it.
Do you have a favorite scene in the movie?
I mean, as an actress, I would say that because I’m a glutton for punishment that I love the scene in which Judy takes responsibility for what she has not only done in the world of Zootopia, but what she has done to Nick and goes back and apologizes, but also calls him to action. There scene under the bridge was one of the most fun to film because it required me to be the most emotionally available and as an actress, I love to go to places.
What was the best thing about playing Judy Hopps?
It’s less about playing her, more about her affect on me as an audience member. I was really surprised when I saw the final product because I had given the directors just a million different versions of everything. They crafted her performance. I was ecstatic to find that they created an action hero and a real butt kicker who is kind and generous and girly and uncompromising and frankly, didn’t have to have any of what we associate with masculine qualities in order to be that action hero. I don’t remember the last time I saw any character in any kind of film that was that, what I would call, feminine.
I love that Judy was forever kind and I don’t think that kindness is something that we always associate with strength and so I found her extremely refreshing and I was really proud to have contributed to the pieces that made her.
What qualities do you find in yourself that you see in Judy Hopps?
We’re both fiercely optimistic. We’re both idealistic. I think we’re both a bit self-righteous which can then get into the flawed territory which I also love. I don’t like playing characters who don’t have some flaws and I think that that our flaws are similar. I love that she believes that before one can of course, make the world a better place, one has to make one’s self better. There’s nothing more responsible than that. I would love to be that responsible. I also wish I were as fearless as she is because I’m a tryer like she is, but when I try things, I’m often secretly a bit scared and I feel like she didn’t get the scared gene somehow.