Back to the Outback is a new animated film now streaming on Netflix. We sat down with Isla Fisher, who voices Maddie the Taipan snake, and Tim Minchin, who voices Pretty Boy the koala, to chat about their new film.
Check out the interview with Isla Fisher Below
Maddie and Pretty Boy learn something new about themselves during this journey Back to the Outback. Are there characteristics that you find that you relate with your character?
Isla Fisher – Having gone through adolescence, in the same way that Maddie does on screen where she has to come to terms with the fact that, it’s the stage when you have braces or you’re not quite comfortable in your skin yet. I was a teenager too, so I could identify with her journey into self-acceptance.
Maddie sings a sweet song in this movie. Was that always going to be part of the plan that you would sing?
Isla Fisher – It was absolutely not mentioned to me when I took the role. I am not known for my singing well, maybe I am known for my singing but in a kind of humorous. ‘Isn’t she awful? Not really. Let’s hear her sing.’ And ironically, I got very nervous when Tim Minchin and Harry Cripps and Claire Knight, our directors mentioned that I would be singing this song. I had to record it by myself in my closet during lockdown. And just playing my voice back would really crack me up because it sounded so tumors. But when I saw it in the movie, I felt quite proud of Maddie.
What drew you to Maddie and what made you want to be part of the film?
I loved the story of someone who’s kind of unaware of the fact they’re being exploited in the zoo scenario, and then sort of made to feel ashamed for something she can’t control her fangs and this venom that she was born with. And I just love the fact that in her search for self-identity, she learns that kind of her family or the people that she’s journeying with, rather than who she was born with, and there’s something about, I think just that journey for her that I found really charming.
Check out the interview with Tim Minchin
Do you have a favorite scene that you did in this film?
Tim Minchin – Oh, to be honest, I love all his ridiculous posturing and calling for his masseuse and all that. But even as a voice actor, it’s always most satisfying to try and do the truthful bits. And when I finally got to see the film, I found those bits the most effecting as when Maddie and Pretty Boy kind of connect, and I love Harry’s writing.
What character do you relate to most at all of them and why?
I suppose if I’m honest, I feel more like Nigel. Because in my industry, I’m an actor and a performer, and I don’t look human. I’m not a leading man. That’s fine now because I get to do whatever the hell I want. But when I was starting out, I definitely felt, ‘I’m not gonna get the roles in the things because I don’t look, I’m not tall, dark, and handsome. I don’t have a chiseled jaw.’ I think I feel more like one of those uglies. I also have had a bit of the Pretty Boy experience. I have had a career where I’ve just come off tour in the UK where all day every day, I’ve just got 29 crew, and people looking after me and all their jobs is just to get me on stage every night. You have to be incredibly self-aware and mature to not let that experience turn you into a jerk, you know? So I got a bit of all of them in me. Also, I’m incredibly pretty.
Pretty Boy has got a lot to learn in Back to the Outback. What are some of the messages you’d like for kids to take away from the film?
It’s such an old message that beauty is only skin deep and that you don’t judge a book by its cover and that you have to see people for who they are. Yet, it doesn’t seem to be a message we’re very good at, we’re very inclined humans to assess people based on a small amount of information, and the way we all communicate these days online and stuff just makes it even harder to see a person. We read a three-line tweet, or we see a two-dimensional image of someone. And it is in our nature to make a bunch of assumptions. And this movie just says the only way you ever really know anything about a person is if you spend time with them. Not just empathize with them theoretically, but empathize with them by sharing experiences with them and finding out more about them, and without a doubt, Pretty Boy has a lot to learn because he has to learn not to judge people by the fact that they’re so-called ugly, even though they’re obviously beautiful, with their big animated eyes. But also, Maddie and the others have to learn that Pretty Boy is the way he is because of what he’s gone through. His experiences, despite all his entitlement, made him who he is, and everyone has to learn to see each other at a deeper level.