Have you read the book Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater? It’s about a man who dreams of going to Antarctica, but never expects that Antarctica will come to him when he inherits a brood of penguins! The movie version starring Jim Carrey is coming out on Friday, June 17 and it looks really cute.
Scholastic News Kid Reporter, Damien Murphy, interviewed Jim Carrey to get the scoop on the movie and what it was like to work with the penguins.
Q: What are some of the things you learned about penguins making this movie?
Jim: First of all, they have all these little teeth inside their beaks that go backwards. So if you were to stick your finger in their mouth and they like bit your finger real hard, you wouldn’t be able to get your finger out. It’s like one of those snake teeth kind of things. It’s scary looking actually if you look at it. But they’re really cool; I really loved them. I had fun.
Q: What kinds of practical jokes did the penguins pull on you?
Jim: Well, you know, they poop a lot. They poop at the worse possible moments. You might be in the middle of a line and suddenly “Pthhh” and . . .”Cut!” And you know, there’s C.G. (computer generated) penguins and there’s robot penguins as well as the live penguins. The robot penguins were hilarious because every time somebody had their cell phone on, they would go crazy. The would go “Nnnnnnnnnn,” and their heads would shake all over the place!
Q: What temperature did you have to maintain on set with the penguins?
Jim: 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold! If the temperature went above 30 degrees, the the penguins would start to overheat. You could tell they were overheating because they would stick their flippers out really high sideways and hold them up. The trainer would say they are getting too hot. You have to be careful of that.
Q: What is the funniest thing about working with the penguins?
Jim: Getting bit a lot. I got bit—a lot. Because I’d get close to them in a scene, I’d have to like feed them fish in a scene or something and you can’t get your fingers out of the way fast enough, so they chomped on me a few times. And everyone had a good laugh about it—except me.
Q: What is the worst thing about living with penguins?
Jim: Well, there’s the poop factor. And they are really loud. They are super loud. They would be on another part of the stage and we would be in a part of a scene without penguins and you’d hear “WHaaaaaaaaaaaa!” They kind of sound like a velociraptor.
Q: If you were to really inherit six animals, what kind of animal would you choose?
Jim: Penguins would be it. On the other hand, then I’d have to have my house be 30 degrees, so let me rethink that. Well, you know, Chinchillas look pretty cool. They are cute little fur balls that fly off the walls and stuff like that. That would be pretty fun.
What do you think? Have you read Mr. Popper’s Penguins? Are you excited about the movie? Let us know in the Comments.