By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—Ginnifer Goodwin reveals that she loves visiting Disneyland with her husband, actor Josh Dallas and young son. However, unlike most park guests, the actress and her husband have to go in disguise. They also have to bring along bodyguards.
Because she plays Snow White and he plays Prince Charming on the popular ABC fantasy series “Once Upon a Time.”
“I don’t have bodyguards because anyone is going to do anything bad,” explains the actress, who looks pixie-like with closely cropped hairdo. “It’s that Disney, as a company, wants its parkgoers to enjoy the park for the park. I shouldn’t be a distraction.”
The 36-year-old Memphis, Tenn. native will have further reason to venture out incognito as she now voices the character of feisty fairy Fawn in the new Disney animated feature “Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast.” The wholesome adventure tale is available in a Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand Tuesday, March 3.
As Fawn, Goodwin is a thoughtful and adventurous fairy, willing to help a strange giant creature that she discovers injured one day while flitting through bucolic Pixie Hollow. The scout fairies, led by NYX (voiced by Rosario Dawson) are determined to capture the mysterious beast, fearing it will destroy their home, but Fawn, who sees a tender hearth beneath the hairy creature’s gruff exterior, must convince Tinker Bell (voiced by Mae Whitman) and her fairy friends to risk everything to rescue him before it is too late.
The Blu-ray and DVD editions of “Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast,”
the latest in the successful Tinker Bell franchise, are loaded with extras. The Blu-ray, for example, includes deleted scenes, and director Steve Loter takes viewers on a personal journey of how his young daughter taught him life lessons that became basis for the story. It was her love for big dogs that sparked the idea. On the DVD only version, viewers have a guide to the five essential ingredients that went into the making of “Gruff” and more.
Goodwin recently discussed her new role at Disney’s animation studios in Glendale, Calif.
Q: Was voicing Fawn a stretch for you?
Goodwin: It’s not that she was a stretch so much as learning how to express her was a whole new experience for me. I’d done a little bit of animation acting in the past but nothing substantial. Initially, I approached Fawn the way I would approach any live-action character. I didn’t realize that the results would be so different. I hated what I heard of my voice after the first couple of passes we made in the recording booth. I saw a version of the movie and asked if I could throw away everything I had done and reinterpret the character entirely. Not changing her words in any way but tackling her from a different angle because what I was doing was not working and I would have fired me if I were them. But they were nicer than I was and gave me another chance and I think we found her. Voice-over acting is a whole different experience from live action acting.
Q: Did you take inspiration from Snow White’s compassionate, impulsive character on your TV series for playing Fawn?
Goodwin: I didn’t think of it that way at the time but, now, I’ve thought about the fact that coming from a fantasy world where anything is possible, where the rules of the universe are incredibly different than the rules of the universe in which we live. It certainly helped me liberate myself for Fawn’s world. As far as her qualities go, I think that all my characters really share a lot of the same characteristics. That just comes with my being cast to play certain aspects of myself over and over again, which I really enjoy.
Q: How did you have to channel your physicality and emotionality as well as voice for playing Fawn?
Goodwin: That was the thing I didn’t understand. I had no idea that I was such a self-conscious actor and that I was so controlled when I’m doing live action work and I saw that with positivity. Those are tools, skills. Control is something one must have in doing live action work. I didn’t realize I was relying so much on the blink of an eye or the raising of an eyebrow or the tension of my mouth to express something. I had never thought of things in those elemental ways.
I found that my voice when isolated was not nearly as animated as I thought it was. I naturally was a living animated character my whole life. I’ve been told that but it ends up that when you just take my voice, it doesn’t have the musicality that’s needed. It doesn’t necessarily express the emotion that’s being felt that you might be able to see in my eyes for instance on screen. So, I had to find a way to let go of all inhibition and express myself in as large a way as possible while staying connected and that’s really, really difficult for me. But, it was a challenge that ended up being great fun.
Q: What is it like working on such popular Disney franchise?
Goodwin: It’s an honor. To me, working for Disney is the pinnacle. I don’t think there is better storytelling than the storytelling at Disney. I don’t think anyone has been able to tell stories with so much heart and such evolved messages and have those stories appeal to such wide audiences and take such flawed characters and make them so admirable and relatable at the same time as Disney has and they’ve done this trough history beginning with Walt and continuing the work with (Disney creative chief) John Lasseter. But, this was the pinnacle for me. Since 2003 when I moved to L.A. I’ve auditioned for all of Disney’s animated work and begged for jobs. I guess it took 10 years but the begging paid off.
Q: You play Snow White on TV and now Fawn in this Tinker Bell movie. What other Disney (or fairy tale) character would you want to play?
Goodwin: Oh any of them. I don’t care. I will happily peep as a mouse in the corner in something. I’ve told them repeatedly if they will continue to hire me I would happily do nothing else ever again. I far prefer this life to any other. I think it’s a lot more fulfilling than live action now that I feel I’ve got more of a handle on it, I’d like to do more.
Q: Did you also do Fawn’s singing voice?
Goodwin: Yes, that was me.
Q: Is that even another form of acting when you are singing?
Goodwin: Oh yes. That’s the terrifying form of acting. I’ve also been singing for Disney repeatedly. I’ve auditioned for all their animated features, the musicals as well. I’m not a great singer but my father was a professional musician and had a recording studio so, as he also engineered I know very well that there is a button on a console that makes you sound better. I tell them in auditions that I know there is that button that puts you a little more on key and they will find me willing to use it. I sang for the short and also sang for “Sophia the First” for Disney Junior which was great fun. As long as there is that button available, I’m available too.
Q: Fairies age differently than humans but, in your mind, how old is Fawn?
Goodwin: Oh gosh, probably like 400 years old. I think of all of them as completely ageless. On “Once Upon a Time,” we’ve tried to figure out how old Snow White is. It’s impossible. As for Fawn, I can’t say she’s a teenager. If she were a teenager, we could forgive her foibles a little more. I think she’s irresponsible in some ways. That indicates she must know better. So, late 20’s, maybe. There’s still some wiggle room.
Q: As a new mom, at what age do you think kids can see this because it makes you cry at the end.
Goodwin: My kid is being kept away from all media, all digital entertainment; iPads, TV screens until he is school age, until he’s going to kindergarten. Thus far, that’s been really easy for us in our lifestyle. He’s the most imaginative 9-month-old on the planet and reads books like you would not believe. I don’t know in what order that one introduces technology like this form of storytelling to a child but I’m not going to broach figuring that out for many years.
Q: He doesn’t know what you do then for a living?
Goodwin: I do for a living what I do in real life which is roll around on the floor and make animal noises. I don’t think it’ll come as a shock. I don’t think my work is good unless I’m being a fool and my parenting is probably not good unless I’m being a fool.
Q: Do you have a lot of Tinker Bell merchandise at your house?
Goodwin: I have a lot of all Disney merchandise at my house. I guess I’ll have to get that a little bit under control. I go to Disneyland about once a month. It’s easier if I go in disguises, which I won’t describe or I’ll be busted.
Q: Did you like the fact that in this film it’s a very matriarchal society? Women are in charge. There are guys around but it’s generally a peaceful place and well run so is that appealing to you?
Goodwin: Oh my gosh, it appeals to me more because I have a son. I think almost every project I’ve ever had has been a bit feminist even if it’s depicting women living in a society that’s more oppressed, all my projects have ultimately been about the strength of women. I love that my son, once he’s exposed to media, would be influenced by worlds where women are strong. I hope it teaches him to greatly respect women.
Q: Can you say anything about what’s coming up on “Once Upon a Time?”
Goodwin: It will be one of our darker half seasons which I’m excited about because I went back to work full time post baby for the second half of the season so I’ve gotten to be far more a part of this second half storyline. It’s ruled by the Queens of Darkness, the Trio of Terror. We call them all kinds of things and working opposite Maleficent and Ursula and Cruella de Vil has been really ******.