A Chat with Madeline Carroll

The young actress stars with Jim Carrey in Mr. Popper's Penguins, now playing

Jun 17, 2011 | By Vickie An
BARRY WETCHER—TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

 

When Tom Popper suddenly inherits six penguins, his home literally goes to the birds! Mr. Popper's Penguins is a retelling of the classic storybook by Richard and Florence Atwater. The movie follows Popper, a workaholic businessman played by funny man Jim Carrey, as his professional life is turned upside down by the arrival of the flightless waterfowl. But as it turns out, having the penguins around isn't such a bad thing after all. The black-and-white birds bring Popper and his family closer together.

Actress Madeline Carroll, 15, plays Popper's daughter, Janie. She gave TFK the scoop on what it was like working with Carrey and with her waddling costars.

TFK:

Were you a fan of the book before you did the movie?

MADELINE CARROLL:

I read the original story when I was in the fourth grade, and I loved it. I thought it was such a great book. When they sent me the script for the movie, I was so excited.

TFK:

How would you describe Janie's personality?

MADELINE:

She's sort of like every teenage girl. She doesn't get a lot of attention from her dad because he's so focused on work; they don't have a good relationship. [She pretends like it doesn't bother her,] but she wants to be close to her dad. She wants her little brother to be close to their dad too.

Janie (played by Madeline Carroll) meets her father's new feathered friends.
COURTESY TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
Janie (played by Madeline Carroll) meets her father's new feathered friends.

TFK:

Is Jim Carrey as funny in real life as he is on camera?

MADELINE:

Yes, he's always on. One day when we were filming on the sound stages, we came in and he was spray painting the wall. He wrote something, and everyone was trying to guess what it meant. No one ever found out! He was so funny during filming too. He did something new for every take. It was hard not to laugh and ruin the takes.

TFK:

What was it like having Carrey as your dad?

MADELINE:

It was so awesome getting to work with him and to watch him play a father figure. He's so much fun. He'd be the kind of goofy dad that you'd be really embarrassed by, because he would probably try to purposely embarrass you at school, just to be funny.

TFK:

How does Popper's life change when the penguins arrive?

MADELINE:

The penguins bring a lighter mood to his life. He's always been so serious. So when the penguins start messing things up, Tom realizes that the things he's been worrying about aren't as important as they seem. He realizes he wants to spend more time with his kids.

TFK:

How did you like working with the penguins?

MADELINE:

They are so cute. It was so much fun, but it was freezing on set. It was so cold! Jim would try to play with the penguins, and they would always bite him. He got bitten a lot. Sometimes, we'd be doing a take and the penguins would go to the bathroom right there and we'd have to restart.

TFK:

What would you do if you inherited six penguins?

MADELINE:

I would probably invite all of my friends over and take them and the penguins to the pool to hang out.



 

Click here to read a Q&A with Madeline's wild costars.