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A Trip Through Time

TFK chats with actress Ariel Winter about her new animated film, Mr. Peabody & Sherman

March 03, 2014
© DREAMWORKS ANIMATION

When Mr. Peabody, Penny, and Sherman travel back to ancient Egypt, Penny decides she likes it so much that's she's going to stay forever.

In the new animated film Mr. Peabody & Sherman, actress Ariel Winter takes part in a grand adventure through history. The 3D film, in theaters March 7, is based on characters from the old cartoon show Rocky & Bullwinkle. Peabody is a businessman, an inventor, a scientist, an Olympian, a gourmet chef, and . . . a dog. He decides to add one more title to his resume and become a father. But after he adopts a little boy named Sherman, Peabody finds that may be his most difficult job yet.

Ariel Winter attends the premiere of Mr. Peabody & Sherman in Sydney, Australia.

CAROLINE MCCREDIE—GETTY IMAGES

Ariel, 16, voices Sherman’s rival classmate, Penny Peterson. On the first day of school, Penny and Sherman get into an argument. In an attempt to smooth things over, Sherman shows Penny his dad’s time-traveling machine, called the WABAC. The trouble begins when the kids take it for a joy ride and cause an uproar in some of history’s most important moments.

Ariel talked to TFK before the film’s debut. She says the film is a history lesson in the best way possible.  “It’s a lot of fun and a lot of adventure!” Ariel told TFK.

TFK:

You play Penny in Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Could you tell us a little bit about your character?

ARIEL:

Penny is incredibly sassy. She gets into a lot of things that she probably shouldn’t. She’s a little curious about everything awful in the world. Penny and Sherman get off to a very interesting start because they’re not really fond of each other. Penny is a little intimidated by Sherman taking her place as the smartest kid in school, the one who gets the most attention, so she’s a little jealous. She decides to be mean to Sherman until he impresses her and shows her the WABAC. Then they go on this huge journey through time and get in a lot of trouble. She realizes a lot of things about herself and we see she has a gigantic heart and that she really cares for people.

TFK:

What are some similarities and differences you share with your character?

ARIEL:

For both Penny and me—the sass is real! That’s definitely a similarity. We both get excited about things that will probably get us into trouble. Although, unlike Penny, I would never take someone’s sandwich because that’s not nice. No thank you, sassy Penny.

During their adventure together, Sherman turns from Penny's rival into her best friend into her crush.

© DREAMWORKS ANIMATION
During their adventure together, Sherman turns from Penny's rival into her best friend into her crush.

TFK:

In the movie, Penny is very competitive with Sherman, especially in class. Why do you think that is?

ARIEL:

Penny is very competitive with Sherman because she has a crush on him. They both have a crush on each other but they completely deny it, it’s that whole “I don’t like you… I don’t like you… I totally like you,” which I still do to this day. So it’s that sort of thing between them.

TFK:

You’re known for your nerdy role as Alex Dunphy in Modern Family. Which character was more fun to play—a bookworm or a bully?

ARIEL:

I can’t pick between the characters.        I love them both for different reasons. I wouldn’t say Penny is a bully. I would say Penny acted out but learned from her mistakes.

TFK:

This movie has a lot of history packed into it. Did you learn anything new from the movie?

ARIEL:

I’m a math person, so I was never as good with history. But after I got into 10th grade history, I started liking my history class. Then I saw the movie, and I actually became more interested in it. I saw a lot of things that I already knew, but they were illustrated in a funny way.

TFK:

Did you have a favorite of all the historical moments that the film goes through?

ARIEL:

I loved ancient Egypt and Troy. In Egypt I’m getting engaged to King Tut, which in itself is funny. Then when Sherman joins the Trojan War—it was so adorable.

Sherman takes Penny on a spin on Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine.

© DREAMWORKS ANIMATION
Sherman takes Penny on a spin on Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine.

TFK:

If you had to pick one historical era to visit, what would it be and why?

ARIEL:

The King Henry VIII time period. When I was little, for some reason I read a lot of books on that time period and I just became very interested in it and I still love it.

TFK:

Mr. Peabody and Sherman is based on characters from the old cartoon Rocky and Bullwinkle. Did you or the cast watch any episodes in preparing for the film?

ARIEL:

I had never watched the cartoon itself, but after I was asked to play Penny I watched the cartoon on YouTube. Except Penny wasn’t in it! So I was actually kind of excited that I got to start on a blank canvas with Penny. I got to make her all my own.  But the old cartoon was absolutely amazing so I think we’re just really excited to be a part of this.

TFK:

Why do you think kids will enjoy this movie?

ARIEL:

There’s a lot of time travel and a lot of funny things like Peabody going into one of DaVinci’s paintings—that was really funny. It’s a great film for adults and for kids and I think they’ll get to learn a lot about history and laugh and cry because I laughed and I cried.

 


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