Photo from Summit EntertainmentWant a movie you can watch with the kids? So did Brooke Shields and Brendan Fraser. That's why they decided to take on Furry Vengeance, a kid-friendly comedy about an Oregon real estate developer and his wife, who move into their new house only to discover that the development is being protested by the area's local inhabitants -- an angry gang of wild animals.
We caught up with Brooke and Brendan to chat about going green, working with wild things, and making each other laugh.
Your costars in the movie were a bunch of wild things. What was it like working with the animals?
Brooke: We didn't actually work with animals. We didn't have to work with animals and the children were ...
Brendan: More well-behaved than we were.
Brooke: I think if we did have to work with animals, we'd still be filming this movie. Because they were filming them 24/7. And then they'd wait and the little raccoon, Scooby, would do one thing. And they'd be like, "Yes!"
Brendan: Composites! Composites!
There was a very strong green message to the film.
Brendan: I'm glad that came through. We should reuse, recycle, return. It's great fun for kids to see this movie. Because it's fun. But at the same time, they're actually quite indignant -- how dare we wipe out their forests? The kids are rooting for the furry guys all the way through. It's a rule, you just don't mess with nature. And if you do, there are consequences.
Brooke: But also, we're parents. What's great about what also happens, which I've noticed first-hand with my kids, is that it initiates a conversation. So you're dealing with respecting your kids as well. My kids came away from it with questions. "Well, why did they block the beaver dam? And where are they going to go now?" And all of the sudden, we have an open door to talk about something. They want to feel like they're empowered. I mean, my daughter will say, "You've got to turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth, mom." She'll come in and if I've left it on while I'm actually brushing my teeth, she'll turn it off. She feels that she's teaching me something; she feels that she's empowered.
Brendan: But let's not deviate from the fact that it's funny. Relax, it's just a movie.
There were a lot of gags in the film -- the porta-potty scene comes to mind.
Brendan: With our director, Roger Kumble (Just Friends, The Sweetest Thing), it was almost like a game of Truth or Dare every day, in a way. Will you? Will you? What you got? Fine, fine, stick me in a porta-potty, turn it upside down. I'll do it twice. I'll do extra takes. I'll do it. And I'm not a comedian. We were surrounded by proper comedians. And [Brooke] is a very funny woman. But I guess it's just about owning what you've got.
Brooke: I sort of had the hard job of reigning it in and being the thru line and allowing the crazy to happen all around me. So [Kumble] would throw me a bone -- "Don't worry, I'll throw meat in your face and you'll be happy." We sort of took the piss out of ourselves. We wanted to kind of make fun of ourselves.
Brendan: Before anybody else does. Because it hurts your feelings. I'm fragile. I'm so fragile.
You guys had great chemistry in the film -- did you know each other before?
Brooke: We knew each other a little bit, through mutual friends. We used to take these long train rides together from New York up to Boston, where we were shooting. And I'd spend the whole time thinking, How can I make him laugh? If I can make him laugh, it's a good day for me.
Brendan: You would!
Brooke: And also, we're the right size for each other.
Brendan: That's true.
Brooke: That says a lot. It's like, I'm standing in a trench so I don't tower.
Brendan: And they have to put actresses on a staircase next to me. Or a box. Or I give myself shoulder problems stooping.
Brooke: Plus, I'm age-appropriate. Let's call it like it is. You don't get that a lot, where you actually get to play your age rather than a 20-something who just looks really old. And there's sort of like a good-cop, bad-cop thing we found that just works. We have a sensibility that's similar. He lets other people be funny and good. That's a rare thing, it's not competition. It's like a circus -- you catch the guy when you need to, you fall when you need to.
So basically this is a kids movie.
Brooke: Yes, but I don't think you'll hate life sitting there watching it. I've seen it now with kids, and they laugh throughout the movie.
Brendan: As a parent, I just use the gag reel as reward. You eat your vegetables and you can watch the gag reel. It totally works.