As was the case with the 1960s cartoon, wackiness abounds as the genius dog, voiced by Ty Burrell, and his adopted boy Sherman (voiced by Max Charles) journey back to the Pharaoh era in Egypt and the Renaissance era of Leonardo da Vinci to fix history — after Sherman and his classmate Penny misuse the WABAC time machine.
It’s been 20 years since helmer Rob Minkoff’s animated Disney feature, “The Lion King” was released. Since then, Minkoff said, a lot of changes have been made in the field.
“When we did “Lion King” it was all drawn and now we use computers to do the work,” Minkoff said. “There were still as many artists working on ‘Mr. Peabody and Sherman’ as there were on “Lion King,” in fact maybe even more. But the fact that we are building these three dimensional worlds within the computer and getting to film them almost like a regular movie is the biggest difference between now and two decades ago.”
Despite being set in Manhattan, pic made its world premiere in Blighty earlier in the month.
“There was a school holiday in London that they wanted to make the film available for,” Minkoff explained before the Regal Battery Park screening.
Helmer, who has been working on the project for 12 years, was excited to finally see it play in front of an audience.
“The first conversation I had about the film was in 2002,” Minkoff explained. “Then I brought it to Dreamworks in 2005 and greenlit it in 2011. Once that happened we worked on it everyday for about three years.”
As for taking on the iconic voice of Mr. Peabody, Burrell said it made him anxious.
“I was concerned with paying proper respect to the original “Mr. Peabody” because it was so smart,” thesp said at the Conrad Hotel after party. “Also Bill Scott’s (the original voice of Mr. Peabody) work was so good. I was more nervous about making sure that I got some elements of his voice in there so that people felt like it was being paid its proper homage.”
In terms of working on his first animated feature, Burrell wasn’t confused about his role in the process.
“The animators are the stars. I’m not saying that (the voices) are completely unimportant, but the animators are definitely the most important part of this process.”