Peter Rabbit is in theaters February 9 and is rated PG.
Based on the classic children’s novel, Peter Rabbit is a contemporary cinematic take on the character created by Beatrix Potter. The film features voice roles played by James Corden, Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie, and Elizabeth Debicki, with live-action roles played by Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, and Sam Neill.
In the film, the titular rabbit (voiced by Corden) lives a happy idyllic farmland life. That is until he comes across Thomas McGregor (Gleeson), a new farmer who seeks to be rid of Peter Rabbit and his mischievous acts. However, the two find themselves at odds with each other when they compete for Bea’s (Byrne) attention, a kind animal lover.
At the film junket, the cast got to talk a little bit about the film and what it was like to interact with CGI character.
For James, it was never about bringing out his inner rabbit but trying to find a way to respect the character and source material.
“I feel very fortunate that I was able to work with a director and writer like Will [Gluck] who just understood and understands the legacy of that character,” Corden said.
The Academy Award-nominated Robbie said she’s never been a part of the recording process for a film before. In the film, she plays Flopsy, a nervous and awkward rabbit. However, she found it liberating as the role was more about the voice than it was about the physical actions.
Flopsy’s lisp was always in the film, which contributed to her personality. “She can’t actually articulate herself that way she wants to, more than that she’s trying to win the status quo with her sisters,” Robbie said. The fact that she also came from a big family like Flopsy allowed her to relate to her character.
Debecki agreed with Robbie on the recording process. She said, “I had a really lovely time as well. It’s so interesting when you make an animation, you contribute some and you start to see what the characters look like as the animation grows and that might change what you’re doing with your voice a little bit.” Unlike Flopsy, Mopsy is a bit bossier. “I have to say that I love Flopsy so much because of her sweet little lisp. I’m so in love with her,” Debecki said. “Mopsy isn’t as sweet and adorable, she’s bossier. A little more strong-willed.”
Like most recording processes, directors also film their actors just to see their gestures and mannerisms. That way they can put that into the characters of the film. Debecki added, “I love when you’re recording that they film us when I watched the film for the first time, I could see us in the bunnies, it’s a lovely thing to see.”
While the wildlife actors recorded their roles, Bryne and Gleeson did not have that luxury. And to make things a little more challenging, they had to interact with their non-existent co-stars who took the form of tennis balls, a blue stick, and men in blue leotards.
However, it was a challenge the two accepted. “You adjust to it,” Byrne said. “You have to commit.”
“One of the central things of the film is that humans don’t know that animals can talk in the world that we exist in,” Gleeson said. “So it was good in a way that there wasn’t going a lot of back in forth a lot, like conversational scenes, with the rabbits. That probably helped a little.”
Gleeson was asked if there are any similarities between his role as Thomas and previous role as General Hux of Star Wars. He felt that they did have a few things in common, especially when it comes to being thrown into a wall. However, their goals are somewhat different. “The aim generally of this film is to make children happy, to make children laugh,” Gleeson said. “There’s no better sound in the world to hear a group of kids laughing. It just makes you happy as well.”
The main thing that the cast wants children to take away from this movie is that it is okay to make mistakes. Everyone, of any age, gender, and race makes mistakes. They stress that it’s more important how you react to the mistake as well as the person you become after you make it.
On the day of the junket, the Spice Girls also announced that they would be reforming. To commemorate the monumental occasion, James said he would like to get five rabbits and name them: Scary, Baby, Sporty, Posh, and Ginger.