Amy Poehler plays a turkey in Relativity Media and Reel FX’s animated film Free Birds. She voices Jenny who is a strong, brave and straight-edged female character who eventually becomes the leader of her flock. Free Birds also stars Owen Wilson as Reggie and Woody Harrelson as Jake. Reggie and Jake set out on a mission to change the course of Thanksgiving dinner and fate of turkeys. The pair meet up with Jenny after their time travel lands them to the year 1961. Reggie is absolutely smitten over Jenny upon meeting her and he is even willing to look over her nervous ticks. Jenny does like Reggie but her flock’s safety is her first priority.
I sat with Amy along with other bloggers, as we discussed her character and her own “flock”. It’s interesting to talk to the former SNL star about her family. She is a proud mom of two boys, she loves to read to her children and thinks that Thanksgiving is a big deal. Amy was down to earth and I felt like we were all friends discussing mommy moments!
In this movie, you’re more of a strong character, and sometimes, you’ve done zany characters. Did you feel like you had to bring it in a little bit?
Amy Poehler: Yes, well, she’s kind of the straight turkey in the movie. And animation’s so fun because you get to take really big jumps but you do sometimes need a force that’s grounding everything together, which I think the character Jenny
is. And I didn’t really do so much of a voice in this because they really kind of wanted it to be kind of natural. But, I’ve played all different kinds of spectrum of that. So, it’s cool to actually play someone that feels like a somewhat normal animated character, if that makes sense. But, she’s also a turkey. It’s cool. It’s fun to play a strong female character, natural leader, a girl who’s kind of following in her powerful father’s footsteps. It’s nice.
Do your kids recognize your voice if they hear it?
Amy Poehler: Sometimes they do. They’re not that impressed. They hear my voice every day, so they’ll be very impressed with Owen’s voice because they’re in love with the movie Cars. My kids didn’t get to meet Owen but I think it would make their heads explode to meet Lightning McQueen.
How was it working with Owen and Woody because they seem very chummy? What was it like to be the only female in between them.
Amy Poehler: Well, we never were in the studio together! In fact, the most amount of time the three of us have spent together has been today, really.
Are you going to add pizza to your Thanksgiving meal this year?
I feel that holidays are becoming really lose in a good way. Everybody’s deciding on how they want it to be. Especially when you have your own family, you kind of get to decide how you want to spend your holiday. I was at my parents’ house for Thanksgiving and I’m a New Englander, so Thanksgiving’s a really big deal.
Have you made some of your own Thanksgiving traditions?
Amy Poehler: Yes. I like watching movies with my kids on Thanksgiving night. That’s always a really fun thing, especially showing them a movie they’ve never seen is always really fun. Last year, we watched Willie Wonka, which was a big deal. The boys love all the Pixar stuff, although some of it is kind of still scary for them. For some reason, we just can’t make it through Ratatouille. Ratatouille’s just one of them where he’s like, “No, too scary”. The reason why they like Willie Wonka, for example, is they like stories right now about kids acting badly. They’re really into that.
What was your most embarrassing mom fail?
Amy Poehler: Sometimes, I forget where I’m driving the kids to. Yes, how are we in this car, and who am I dropping off and where are we going? That happens a lot. It’s just a lot of forgetful stuff that every mother has to deal with. I think I’ve sent my older guy to school with an empty lunch box.
What is your favorite children’s book?
Amy Poehler: My favorite kids book is called Mr. Pines’ Purple House. I read it to Archie, and it’s a book about a guy who paints his house purple, and everybody else copies him in the neighborhood, and he gets all mad about it. I think I just liked it for personal reasons. But, we read all the time. They love books. It’s really important, as you know, to read books. It’s fun to read them. Especially when you’re a working mother, it feels like a really good way to connect at the end of the night, to talk to them without forcing them to talk to you.
Do you read blogs?
Amy Poehler: I don’t. I try to stay off the internet – kind of gets me stressed out, to be honest with you. It’s a dangerous place sometimes. But, look, there is this lonely feeling that, especially for a new mother that you can feel like it’s you against the world or you’re just very lonely. And I think all the sites you guys work on make people feel less lonely, which is really good, and especially in the world we live in today, which is like kind of isolating. You have to find a community, you have to really reach out and find it, and the way to find it is online for most people. So, I think most people take comfort and solace in finding people that are going through the same thing.
How do you balance being a working mother?
Amy Poehler: I think moms figure out what works for them. What works for you is what works. Everybody’s thing is different. And especially as you go on, you learn what things are important to you, what things fall away, and that you shouldn’t listen to anybody’s advice, and don’t worry about what anybody says. Do your thing. Whatever works for you and your family is the right thing.You’ve got to be a little easy on yourself during a lot of it, too. I think you have to kind of give yourself a break because there are many things you can do in one day. Today is a Saturday, and it’s spent here. It’s not spent at home. So, that’s what happens. That’s work.
Old fashioned names are now very popular. And your kids have very old fashioned names. What’s behind that?
Amy Poehler: Well, I just loved the name Archie for a long time. It just was a name I really liked. It’s not a family name. And then, when the little, the second guy came by, Abel, we just liked the idea of a double A name. I refer to my boys as my double A batteries. And they certainly are. They keep me going and wear me out. But, we wanted to give him alphabetical superiority over his older brother.
Amy was a delight to get to know. I think we all try to figure out what works for them and it’s nice to know that we’re not the only one forgetting to pack our kids lunches.
See Amy Poehler and her feathered friends in Free Birds. This comedy is fun for kids and parents will enjoy Steve Take playing the voice of S.T.E.V.E. the coolest time machine ever.
– That’s IT Mommy Tee
Tee attended a junket and screened the movie for review purposes.