Dreamworks Animations stepped up the ante in the world of animation with its own computer animated feature-length film adaptation of the characters of “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.” But, the question on everyone’s minds is who is Mr. Peabody? And the next would be who is Sherman? Well, Mr. Peabody is a talking dog who was always rejected for adoption and Sherman is an abandoned boy whom Mr. Peabody legally adopted and taught through a time machine called the WABAC. The said characters are based on “Peabody’s Improbable History” segments from “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” animated television series from the 1960s. According to boxoffice.com, “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” is a hit on the big screen, earning $32.5 million on its debut in U.S. theatres on March 7, 2014.
“Mr. Peabody and Sherman” follows the duo’s time-travelling (mis) adventures in solving history’s greatest mysteries with their WABAC machine while getting cozy with the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Cleopatra and Galileo Galilei.
It was a dream “project” come true for Director Rob Minkoff, the man who made it possible for the dog genius and his son to be seen on the big screen. Minkoff shared in an interview with the Huffington Post that he is actually a fan of the television animated series “Rocky and Bullwinkle” where segments of “Peabody’s Improbable History” can be seen.
“Now you have to understand that — because I’m just a little kid — I have absolutely no idea who half of the historic figures that Mr. Peabody and Sherman are interacting with are. So in order to find who all these people were, I open up books, I ask questions of my teachers and my parents. So to my way of thinking, it was Mr. Peabody and Sherman who actually got me interested in history. Which then wound up being my favorite subject in school and is still a huge interest of mine even today,” said Minkoff in the Huffington Post report.
Aside from being a fan of the characters, he also grabbed the chance from DreamWorks Animation because he believes that “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” just might inspire children to be fans of history too, just like what it did for him.
“I’m also hoping that there’ll be a few kids out in the audience that may have never heard of Mona Lisa or don’t know who Leonardo Da Vinci is. And maybe once they get back home from the theater, these kids might still be curious enough that they’d then go online to learn more about these historic figures,” explained Minkroff to Huffington Post.
“Don’t worry, though. The Mr. Peabody & Sherman movie is still very much in the style of their original segment from the old Rocky & Bullwinkle show,” added Minkoff.
The 3D computer-animated comic science fiction film has marked several milestones for Minkoff and DreamWorks Animation. This will be the first animated film for him after directing Disney’s “Lion King” in 1994. The Los Angeles Times reported that it will be the first to feature characters from the Classic Media library since DreamWorks Animation’s 2012 acquisition of the company that previously had the rights for films such as “Casper: The Friendly Ghost” and “Lassie.”
I Am Rogue shared an interview with Director Rob Minkoff where he also talked about finding the right voice of Mr. Peabody.
In the “Peabody’s Improbable History” segments, Bill Scott gave the dog genius his own distinctive voice. Unfortunately, the TV actor who also lent his voice to Bullwinkle, died more than thirty years ago, in 1985.
It was the “Iron Man” franchise’s main man Robert Downey Jr. who was originally cast as the voice of the main protagonist,but he was then replaced by “Modern Family’s” Ty Buller.
“When we started to listen to Ty’s voice as we do in animation obviously before we talk to Ty we steal something of him and put it against the character we found that he embodied all the different aspects we were trying to convey,” the director explained to I Am Rogue.
They reportedly incorporated Ty’s warmth as well as his personality and intellect into Mr. Peabody.
According to a press release from Dreamworks, Buller teamed up with Max Charles (who played the young Spider-Man) as Sherman, another lead role in the film.
Another “Modern Family” star Ariel Winter provided the voice of Penny Peterson, Sherman’s classmate and daughter of the Petersons. Meanwhile Stephen Colbert and Leslie Mann Penny Peterson are the voices of Paul and Patty Peterson, Stephen Tobolowsky voiced Principal Purdy and Dennis Haysbert is the Judge.
Famous historical figures will also be voiced, completing the stellar voice cast, including Mel Brooks as Sigmund Freud, Stanley Tucci as Leonardo da Vinci, Patrick Warburton as King Agamemnon, Lake Bell as Mona Lisa, Zach Callison as King Tut, Lauri Fraser as Marie Antoinette and Guillaume Aretos as Maximilien de Robespierre.
Distributed by 20th Century Fox and produced by Dreamworks Animation, “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” opened in U.S. theatres on March 7, 2013 and has been a hit on the big screen since then.