Disclaimer: Disney sent me to Walt Disney World on an all-expenses paid trip, in exchange for my coverage of the #ZootopiaEvent, which included an interview with Ginnifer Goodwin. All opinions are my own. All photos courtesy of Disney.
Last week were we set to interview Ginnifer Goodwin while at Walt Disney World. Thanks to the miracle of technology, though she couldn’t make it in person, we were able to still interview her – this time through a computer screen. I’m so thankful, because as the main character in Disney’s ZOOTOPIA, she had some incredible insight, but ultimately proved to me that she was just SomeBUNNY like us!
SomeBUNNY Like Us
One thing I’ve learned over the past few years, after interviewing many celebrities –> they are real people with real lives and problems – just like us. Celebrity and fame doesn’t change that.
But some celebrities tend to stand out as ones who I could be friends with. I found one of those in Ginnifer Goodwin – she’s SomeBUNNY like us!
Let’s start with the fact that she starts crying the second Cinderella’s castle comes up on the movie screen and says DISNEY.
I DO THAT!
Next, she was casually chatting with us about how she got the role of Judy Hopps in ZOOTOPIA, and happened to mention that she was sitting in MICKEY MOUSE PAJAMAS at the time.
This is my kind of girl! And I think as you read through this you’ll find Ginnifer (who happens to be expecting her 2nd child) so endearing.
Though she’s best known for her roles in BIG LOVE, HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU, and TV’s ONCE UPON A TIME, it was “Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast” where my daughter and I first fell in love with her. She joined the cast as Fawn, the animal-loving fairy friend of Tinker Bell.
Having become part of the Disney family, a lead role in ZOOTOPIA was naturally a great fit.
FUN FACT: Did you know that another favorite in the Disney family, Kristin Bell (Princess ANNA), has a small role in ZOOTOPIA? Yes – the SLOTH!
WANTING THE ROLE
Ginnifer Goodwin so reminds me of someone I know – ME. I can just see her in this moment………
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 and my representatives, who were all on the phone because they knew It’d work out fine, which I did.
My representative said, “Don’t you want to know anything about the character or the script?” and I said, “Well, of course. I mean, I want to, but just accept the job first and then call me back.”
And though she didn’t say it, I also imagine her jumping up and down in those Mickey Mouse pajamas after they called her back. Maybe added a squeal or two.
ON PREPARING FOR THE ROLE OF JUDY HOPPS
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, which was new for me because I think control is something for which actors are always fighting and creating and protecting characters. But this is a new world for me, animation, and, I really understand that everything physical, everything making up everything that you see, with as much as they might have filmed me with cameras in the recording booth, 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 and said my lines and tried different things and wore sneakers so I could jump around and that’s about it.
“I mean, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. I mean, no one should get paid to have this much fun. Except me. I’ll totally take it.”
A REAL BUTT KICKER
I’m not talking about Ginnifer, though I do think she could hold her own! I’m talking about how Ginnifer describes her character, bunny Judy Hopps.
It’s like I provided them a million different pieces and then they made her, and what I was ecstatic to find is 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 she didn’t have to become jaded to be strong. I think that those are qualities that we assume have to go together and they don’t. I love that she 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 gotten to contribute to the pieces that made her.
Ginnifer was asked, “Have you overcome any stereotypes in your life the way the two characters have in the movie?”
Her answer made her that much more real and authentic to me as I’d never thought about all the rejection that must go hand in hand with auditioning for roles.
I think becoming an actress, 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 like stereotypical, classic package of a Hollywood actress. I was certainly told 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, you know, lead a film at some point?
I think that maybe just 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.
ANYONE CAN BE ANYTHING
There are so many themes in this film, but there’s one in particular Ginnifer loves most. This is one my parents instilled in me and I hope to instill in my daughter.
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’s in keeping with the answer to the question about defying other peoples’ expectations and in stereotyping me and how I am received. I do believe anyone can be anything. 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. Actresses are fellow actress haters and are extremely competitive and I mean, not any more so than men. I’m just using actresses because I’m an actress, but I’m sure it’s the same in many, many different fields. But I’ve always felt like 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 and so that’s the thing that I would hope on the surface that I hope my kids take away from seeing Zootopia.
And then there are some incredible underlying and very timely and timeless themes just about the human condition and the state of our world that I think are powerful, you know. It may take a little more maturity and social interaction for them to understand them, but I can’t wait for my kids to be old enough to really, to really talk about it.
SPEAKING OF KIDS….
You might be surprised at this! Her son will not see ZOOTOPIA. She explains why.
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 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. And 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 don’t, 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, but he, of course, 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.
And I don’t want to shatter any of his illusions. 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. And so I’m going to keep that from him as long as possible. I want to push him to be imaginative.
But Ginnifer has seen the movie, though just the finished product a few weeks ago. What I love is that she gets lost in the movies just like we do. She said, “I do thank goodness, when I’m watching the movie, forget that it is me and I can get completely lost in it which is something that I can’t unfortunately do when I’m watching something live action because when I’m watching something live action, I’m just going, uh, I need to lose five pounds and I hate the way I said that line.”
ZOOTOPIA makes Ginnifer Goodwin laugh. It makes her cry too.
Just like any of the great Disney movies.
ZOOTOPIA opens in theatres everywhere on March 4th!
Be sure to check out my other posts from the ZOOTOPIA Event:
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