As Judy Hopps, Ginnifer Goodwin wanted to portray a character that was kind and generous, different from the darker characters she has played in the past.
But what Ginnifer saw in her character was much more than that. What she created with Judy Hopps was a girly, butt-kicker who, quite frankly, found her strength in being fiercely optimistic even at the darkest of times. You'll fall in love with Judy Hopps and her encouraging message for kids and adult alike, of finding strength in kindness.
Disney’s Zootopia opens in theatres March 4th, 2016.
Ginnifer Goodwin Talks About Creating a Positive Role Model with Judy Hopps
Q : What made you want the role?
Ginnifer Goodwin: To be honest, there was one word that convinced me that I needed to take this role and that was Disney. I was sitting in Mickey Mouse pajamas in my kitchen. I was pregnant. I was in Vancouver shooting Once Upon a Time and I got a phone call that I was being offered this job. I had never heard of Zootopia and I took it immediately.
Q: How did you prepare for your role as Judy Hopps?
Ginnifer Goodwin: I really just relinquished all control which was new for me, because I think control is something for which actors are always fighting and creating. This is a new world for me, animation, and I understand that everything physical, everything making up everything that you see, with as much as they might have filmed me with cameras in the recording booth, everything was really in the hands of the animators.
This is not an actor’s medium. I would show up and try to be completely emotionally available, and say my lines, and try different things. I wore sneakers so I could jump around and that’s about it. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had. No one should get paid to have this much fun. Except me. I’ll totally take it.
Q: What did you think when you first saw Judy Hopps with your voice?
Ginnifer Goodwin: It was a dream. I didn’t see anything until I saw what became the first trailer, the block DMV scene in the edited trailer form at D23. I saw it while standing backstage with a monitor at the same time that all of the thousands of fans did.
They would always decorate the sound booth in artwork which was incredibly inspiring, and anything new would go up for me to see. I was really blown away. I still can’t get over it. I do thank goodness that when I’m watching the movie I forget that it is me, and I can get completely lost in it which is something that I can’t unfortunately do when I’m watching something live action.
Q: What was the best thing about playing Judy Hopps?
Ginnifer Goodwin: It’s less about playing her and more about her effect on me as an audience member. I was really surprised when I saw the final product because I had given the directors a million different versions of everything. They crafted her performance. It’s not like when we’re doing live action and we feel we’re in control of creating a through line.
I provided them a million different pieces and then they made her, and what I was ecstatic to find is that they created an action hero and a real butt kicker who is kind, and generous, and girly, and uncompromising, and frankly, I didn’t have to have any of what we associate with masculine qualities in order to be that action hero. I don’t remember the last time I saw any character in any kind of film that was what I would call, feminine.
Which is actually more like being a beingist because it’s not about her femininity. I love that she didn’t have to become jaded to be strong. I think that those are qualities that we assume have to go together and they don’t. I love that she was forever kind and I don’t think that kindness is something that we always associate with strength, so I found her extremely refreshing. I was really proud to have been able to contribute to the pieces that made her.
Q: What qualities do you find in yourself that you see in Judy Hopps?
Ginnifer Goodwin: We’re both fiercely optimistic. We’re both idealistic. I think we’re both a bit self-righteous which can then get into the flawed territory which I also love. I don’t like playing characters who don’t have some flaws and I think that our flaws are similar. I love that she believes that before one can make the world a better place, one has to make one’s self better.
There’s nothing more responsible than that. I would love to be that responsible. I also wish I were as fearless as she is because I’m a tryer like she is, but when I try things I’m often secretly a bit scared and I feel like she didn’t get the scared gene somehow.
Q: Do you have a favorite scene in the movie?
Ginnifer Goodwin: Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I love the scene in which Judy takes responsibility for what she has not only done in the world of Zootopia but what she has done to Nick, and goes back and apologizes, but also calls him to action. That scene under the bridge. That was one of the most fun to film because it required me to be the most emotionally available and as an actress, I love to go to that place.
Q: Has becoming a parent affected what kind of roles you take on?
Ginnifer Goodwin: Absolutely. I would say, nesting and wanting to become a parent affected the roles I wanted to start taking, because when I hit about thirty I suddenly realized this is something that I want.
I hadn’t really made much of anything that a kid of mine would be able to see at a young age, and I know that affected my decision to take Once Upon a Time, which then led to Tinkerbelle with Disney Home Movie, my first real experience doing an extensive amount of voice work for animation. Then Zootopia was a no brainer. It changed the kind of entertainment that I want love, and that’s not to say that I don’t want to back, because I do want to explore darker things again.
Q: As a mom, what would you like kids to take away from the film?
Ginnifer Goodwin: There’s so many incredible themes in this movie. The one that I gravitate towards the most is the one my character articulated, that anyone can be anything, and I absolutely believe that. I believe that there are infinite amounts of opportunities for everyone.
I’ve never understood this idea that there’s so many pieces of the pie. I’ve always felt like why can’t we just look at it as there’s an infinite number of pies? There’s enough to go around and there’s enough for everyone to carve their niche in life. That’s the thing that I would hope on the surface that my kids take away from seeing Zootopia.
Then there are some incredible underlying and very timely and timeless themes about human condition and the state of our world that I think are powerful. It may take a little more maturity and social interaction for them to understand them, but I can’t wait for my kids to be old enough to really talk about it.
The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything.
But when rookie Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery.
Portions of this material and expenses for this trip have been provided by Walt Disney Studios.