MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN
The Petersons, Miss Grunion and Principal Purdy
While Peabody, Sherman and Penny are off gallivanting around the space-time
continuum, Penny's parents, Paul and Patty, remain ensconced in Peabody's swanky
apartment. They have no idea what their daughter and her new friends are up to,
because Peabody has ensured that time stands still for the clueless couple.
(Peabody had invited the Petersons over for dinner to smooth over a rocky first
encounter between the kids at school.)
Mr. Peabody certainly has his work cut out for him: Paul's work and hobbies
distract him from his responsibilities at home and elsewhere, which frustrates
Patty. Moreover, he is slow to warm to strangers, especially Mr. Peabody. But
Mr. Peabody's insight and irresistible skills as a host gets Paul to lower his
guard and join the party.
Stephen Colbert, the Emmy-winning anchor of the acclaimed faux news show "The
Colbert Report," portrays Paul, and Leslie Mann ("Rio," "Knocked Up") voices
For Colbert, giving voice to Paul was rewarding on several levels, not the least
of which is the actor's insistence that "Paul Peterson is really the hero of the
movie. I think it's his love for his daughter Penny that precipitates the entire
plot, because if he wasn't so angry that Sherman and Penny were feuding, there'd
be no movie!"
The actor says that the film's time travel elements were a particular attraction
for him, and led to his own dreams of making it big via journeys across time.
"If I had a time machine I would go back and invent the zipper and become
incredibly wealthy," he deadpans.
Colbert notes that working on MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN brought happy memories of
clandestine viewings of the "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" television shorts, when he
was a child. "It was on later than my bedtime, and I remember sneaking in to
watch it and hiding between my brothers to lie in front of the TV with a bolster
pillow behind me, so my parents couldn't see me."
Director Rob Minkoff was thrilled to be working with Colbert and with comedy
actress Leslie Mann, who voices Paul's better half, his wife Patty "Leslie has
incredible charm and a great and unexpected attitude in her voice," he says.
While Paul and Patty enjoy an evening at Peabody's home, and while unbeknownst
to them, their daughter is breaking, and then trying to repair the space-time
continuum, the film's villain, Mrs. Grunion hatches a plot with even more dire
Miss Grunion works for the Bureau of Child Safety and Protection, and her bark
is as painful as her bite. While Grunion insists she cares only for the welfare
of youngsters, she is actually a rules-obsessed bureaucrat who believes that
most parents, especially Peabody, lack the necessary sternness to raise their
own children. Her narrow-minded world view is inflamed when she learns that
Peabody - a dog! - has been permitted to adopt Sherman.
"Miss Grunion believes a canine, no matter what his I.Q., is an unsuitable
parent for a young boy. She believes she's doing the right thing in trying to
take Sherman away from Peabody, which of course is the most insidious kind of
villainy," says Alex Schwartz.
"Miss Grunion doesn't like Peabody," adds Rob Minkoff. "She doesn't like what he
stands for and most of all, doesn't like the fact that a dog would adopt a boy."
The character is voiced by Allison Janney, a multiple Emmy-winner for her work
as White House press secretary C.J. Cregg on the landmark series "The West
Wing." Janney relished the opportunity to portray her first villainous
character. "Miss Grunion is deliciously evil," she says. "She is bigger than
life and a tough lady who doesn't suffer fools. Like any great villain, she's
someone you love to hate."
Minkoff appreciated Janney's full-throttle commitment to expressing Grunion's
less appealing aspects. "Allison can put a villainous spin on anything," he
notes. "She really gets under the skin of this nasty character."
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