Best known for her role as Ellen Parsons in TV’s Damages, which earned her one Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations, Rose Byrne now stars in Sony Pictures Animation’s Peter Rabbit, the new family comedy based on Beatrix Potter’s beloved characters.
In Peter Rabbit, the mischievous and adventurous hero who has captivated generations of readers now takes on the starring role of his own contemporary comedy. In the film, Peter’s feud with Mr. Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) escalates to greater heights than ever before as their fight to gain control of McGregor’s coveted vegetable garden and the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover, Bea, who lives next door (Rose Byrne) extends to the Lake District and London.
McGregor’s next-door neighbor, Bea, has given up the city life to move to a small cottage to attempt to prove herself as a painter. She feels isolated, save for a set of diminutive, furry friends: the rabbits. Peter is her favorite, and she is his.
Rose Byrne talks about the role. “Bea is stubborn and determined, but she’s also torn. Her talent lies with her animal paintings, not her human portraits, but she doesn’t take that form seriously and hence doesn’t feel like a true artist,” she says. “The animals are her friends and her family, a bit like Snow White meets Jane Goodall.”
“Director Will Gluck’s ambition was a very modern take on a classic tale, which is hard to do,” Byrne continues. “It’s so beloved so you have to be really tender, but I thought it was genuinely very funny.”
“Rose is luminous,” says producer Jodi Hildebrand. “She is that person who everyone loves, which was so necessary for our film because Peter loves her, the triplets love her, Benjamin loves her and Thomas McGregor falls in love with her. The audience had to believe the strength of that love, and with Rose they can.”
The challenge for Byrne would come in acting in a film against a lead character that would be animated after photography. “You have to harness your imaginative powers as much as you can in those scenes,” she explains. “It’s incredibly technical, so besides the director, there are so many heads of departments who need to be watching your every movement — visual effects, special effects, camera department, art department. There are so many complicated steps to creating a successful portrayal of the character and her interaction with her screen partners, a lot of moving parts.”
In Philippine cinemas February 28, Peter Rabbit is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.