A doting father of two young daughters and a TV dad in Modern Family, he is starring as an unusual doggie daddy in an irresistible new movie, Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
A well-loved cartoon, best known from being part of the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon, has sprung to life on the big screen. This new animated Dreamworks film, part comedy and part adventure, opens on Friday, March 7.
The adorable new animated film features Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell), the most accomplished dog in the world, and his mischievous boy, Sherman, (Max Charles.). This unusual father-son pair uses their time machine – the WABAC – to go on the most outrageous adventures known to either man or dog.
But when Sherman takes the WABAC out for a joyride to impress his friend, Penny, (Ariel Winter), they accidentally rip a hole in the universe, wreaking havoc on the most important events in world history.
Before they forever alter the past, present and future, Mr. Peabody must come to their rescue, ultimately facing the most daunting challenge of any era: figuring out how to be a parent. Together, the time traveling trio will make their mark on history.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an adventure-comedy featuring science fiction, time travel, outlandish characters and clever dialogue, all of which are bound together by the unexpected relationship between the titular heroes – a dog and his boy.
Burrell, 46, a self-professed late bloomer, said that juggling his home and his acting career is a good balancing act. “Having two kids; it’s really become a bigger question and one that’s important to me and to my wife. So, we’re making more decisions.”
He said that making an animated movie like Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a gift for his entire family. “Doing something like this is such a win/win because it’s something that I can actually watch with my kids and I’m doing something of which I am very proud.”
At its heart, Mr. Peabody & Sherman is the story of the relationship between a father and his son. “Mr. Peabody adopted Sherman and raised him the best way he knows how,” explains the film’s director, Rob Minkoff, whose previous hits include the beloved animated films Stuart Little and The Lion King.
“Like with any family, things become complicated,” Minoff said, “so they both must grow and learn from their experiences and ultimately become an even better family.”
Burrell’s young co-star in Mr. Peabody & Sherman is 10-year-old Max Charles (The Three Stooges and The Amazing Spider-Man), a young boy who has already launched a great acting career.
Ty Burrell, who is best known for his starring role as Phil Dunphy on Modern Family, is enjoying animated movies as a change of pace. He has a major role in The Muppets Most Wanted and portrays Mr. Peabody in the charming new movie that has great heart.
How does playing a parent dovetail with being a real parent?
TY BURELL: My kids are almost two and almost four, so the teenage thing I deal with [on Modern Family] is so foreign to me. This is actually a little bit closer to where I’m at. We adopted, so this adoptive relationship is very meaningful to me and the depth of the bond that Peabody and Sherman have, I really love that.
TB: My fault is being overly sensitive and overly expressive and overly loving where my kids are running from me and I’ll chase after them saying, ‘Please, just one more hug before I leave. And then they’re cornered.’ ”
How do you see this relationship between Mr. Peabody and Sherman?
TB: It starts sort of like mentor protégé. He takes him in, it’s the right thing to do, it’s such an honorable thing, and he really loves kind of mentoring Sherman. But, he goes by Mr. Peabody. You know he says, ‘Call me Mr. Peabody.’
But their relationship evolves – right?
TB: Yes. As it goes on, the fact that their bond grows so much and he really realizes that he loves him, and they really do become father and son, truly father and son. And I love that. I really love being a part of a film that’s going that deeply in terms of the emotional arc of it, because obviously, I feel that way.
Do you relate personally to Mr. Peabody?
TB: We adopted our two children, so I felt a very strong connection to somebody developing a really strong bond with an adopted child from the minute I read the script.
Are you like this character?
TB: I’m least like Peabody in the obvious ways, in terms of intellect and skill sets. But also in that Peabody’s sort of trying to learn how to be a sensitive being, where my fault is being overly sensitive and overly expressive and overly loving where my kids are running from me. I’m like, my kids will be running away and I’ll chase after them saying, one more hug before I leave. Please, just one more hug, just one more, I’ve got one more. An
d then they’re cornered.
You play this extraordinary dog in this movie, so I have so ask are you a dog lover?
TB: Yes I am. But I have two young girls and we travel a lot. My wife won’t allow us to get a dog right now, but we’ve negotiated and we will get one. We just have to be a bit more stationary.
How do you deal with fame?
TB: I would say that the fame part is 99 percent good. I honestly think that whatever your character is, you get that energy reflected back at you to a degree so I’m very lucky.
What are your fans like?
TB: The people who come up to me approached me with a lot of kindness.
Having kids and handling fame is a little bit more of a challenge because I’d like for them to decide on their own if they want to be in the public eye. So that’s one of those things that has taken a little bit more managing.
How does it feel that Modern Family has been such a hit?
TB: I feel so lucky, just to be involved. It’s been incredible. I mean, it’s felt really surreal. It’s felt like a dream, essentially. It’s funny, because I haven’t had a long track record of being on shows that keep going. So this has been an incredible luxury and an incredible learning experience. It’s really funny how much of a family you become. I don’t really know what the word is, but in sports you can’t put a team together on paper, it just somehow happens.
Do you know anyone like Phil Dunphy? Did you base him on anyone?
TB: Yes, a couple of people who will remain nameless. I have since met a lot of people that I like to take from. I’m really happy to find that his personality type exists in the real world. I do know of a few people, and met a few people before Modern Family started who were very positive, very loving, and a little bit unaware of their space in the room, or that certain jokes weren’t landing, but in the way that you can’t help but still like them. It’s not them doing it at somebody else’s expense. The only person coming off horribly is them, and I certainly know some of those people. And I guess probably I should be somewhat circumspect and realize that I’m sure that I’m like that. Some of that has to be based on myself, too.
How quickly did the chemistry come together with you, Julie and the kids?
TB: Very, very quickly. Julie and I hit it off right away. She’s just a good egg, you know? but from the beginning Julie has been an easy person to work with, and that’s an everyday thing, so it does become like a version of a marriage. She’s just a lot of fun, and more than anything, she’s just totally game. The kids are all just great; they are total pros. They’ve been around; they’ve been in the business longer than I have, so it was a very fast, fun situation. When we first started working on the show, we all came together very fast.
TB: It’s a great question, and one that I’ve been asking myself in the last year or so. Having two kids, it’s really become a bigger question and one that’s important to me and to my wife. So, we’re making more decisions. This is a good example of trying to be more selective. Doing something like this is such a win/win because it’s something that I can actually watch with my kids and I’m doing something that I can be proud of, even though when I’m doing more adult, sort of, or even darker material, I am proud of it, but it’s stuff that they wouldn’t watch for, I hope, 20 years.
Did you have a Plan B if acting didn’t work out for you?
TB: Oh that’s kind of funny; I really had no plan B. And I’m not burdened with another skill set. It really is a big part of why I continue to do it. I was really thinking more about stopping the steady flow of rejections. I guess I was forty-one, and the day to day life of auditioning is that sort of Gatling gun of no’s, and you’re really putting yourself out there every day emotionally. For someone as soft as cotton candy, as I am, it takes a toll, and I had been doing it for about 20 years. It was like, gosh, I don’t know if I can handle it anymore. Luckily for me, I literally cannot do a single thing else. So I had no choice. Everywhere I looked it was, ‘I can’t do that. Oh, I can’t do that either.’
So how do you sum this up?
TB: I got lucky. I made the right decision by default. I appreciate every moment of it – both at work and at home.
The post Ty Burrell Loves Being A Patriarch In The Adorable Mr. Peabody & Sherman also appeared on PCM Reviews.