You know when there’s an animal control officer in a kids movie, that character is definitely the villain. But maybe Danny Pudi was destined to play one.
“After college I did summer stock theatre in Northern Wisconsin, and I woke up one day with a squirrel in my bed,” the Chicago-born Community alum tells Yahoo Entertainment in an interview for his Disney+ family comedy Flora & Ulysses, where he was joined by costars Alyson Hannigan and Ben Schwartz (watch above). “It was terrifying. It’s still the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”
“That day I decided to start building squirrel traps around our dwelling, which was in the woods,” Pudi explains. “So that’s what my research was for this role.”
Based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo, adapted by Brad Copeland and directed by Lena Khan, Flora & Ulysses follows a comic book-loving preteen (Matilda Lawler) of separated parents (Hannigan and Schwartz) who learns that the injured squirrel she’s taken in possesses superhero-like qualities.
It’s the first superhero squirrel movie for its cast members, as far as they can remember.
“On camera, yes,” cracks Pudi.
“I did a superhero-type hedgehog movie, but this is a little bit different,” admits Schwartz (Parks and Recreation, Standing Up, Falling Down), referencing 2020’s early-year box office hit Sonic the Hedgehog.
“Now I’m looking for Ulysses out in the world,” says Hannigan (American Pie, How I Met Your Mother). “Every squirrel I see, I’m like, ‘Ulysses?’ I am hoping one day he’s going to show up to my house.”
Beyond his squirrelly nightmare fuel and defense of animal control officers, Pudi also discussed an interview clip from an appearance he made on Larry King Now that suddenly went viral over the holidays, just weeks before the famed talk show host died Jan. 23 at age 87. In the clip, Larry King is egging on Pudi to name luxuries he enjoys, “like a private plane,” when Pudi replies dryly, “Larry, I’m on Ducktales.”
“First of all, my thoughts [are] with Larry’s family, [my] condolences,” he says. “I’ve had a few interviews with Larry and each time he has been so welcoming. There’s never any direction planned, and it’s always such a lovely, spontaneous conversation every time with him.
“It was funny to see. I got a flood of texts that morning, I think Ben was one of them. And I was worried, ‘cause I was like, ‘What is happening here? I haven’t done anything in a little while. I’m worried.’ And then I saw that clip from the interview went out. So it was just nice to be able to share something funny with the world in this time, and I’m just thankful for that.”
Flora & Ulysses is now streaming on Disney+.
Watch the trailer:
— Video produced by Jon San and edited by Jason Fitzpatrick
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