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They Found Their Herd: Julianne Moore, Jake Gyllenhaal, Elaine Bogan and More on Making Spirit Untamed | Interviews

Julianne Moore plays Aunt Cora, who brings her niece Lucky out west. 

When you have to create a character using only your voice and don’t even have another actor playing opposite, what do you do?

It’s a lot of trial and error, especially because we did this all during the pandemic. We were locked down and I was in my laundry room with towels stuffed in the cracks of the doors and it’s just a lot of trying to see if different things work. 

Do you adjust a performance if it’s a movie for children and their families?

Definitely not. As the parent of young adults now, I watched my share of animated movies and the ones I appreciated most were the ones that were not pitched to kids, that were pitched to everybody. Children have an appreciation for three-dimensional characters and you just want to make them real and identifiable. That’s what I try to concentrate on.

Cora surprises us near the end of the film. That must have been fun to do.

Oh, yes, absolutely fun. That was something they intended, that they told me at the beginning but also something that I encouraged. Let’s see where Cora goes! She’s someone who has been living everybody else’s life. She’s been living in her father’s house for a long time, she’s been taking care of her brother’s kid, she’s been playing by the rules. Then all of a sudden, she’s in a new environment and she finds herself. That was fun, really fun to do.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lucky’s dad, still mourning the loss of her mother in a horseback riding accident. 

It must have been quite a challenge to do this film after everything shut down.

I’d never done anything quite like it. We were doing it in our homes. You get pieces of scenes, then they change the scene and you get it again. Sometimes I would have no idea where I was in the scene and I was just saying lines. It was wonderfully freeing! We kept coming back to a number of scenes so I must have been pretty bad. But it was really fun to be able to say, “I don’t know what this looks like. I don’t know what it is going to sound like. I don’t know the context.” Sometimes I didn’t know where I was going or where I’d come from, which is the first acting question for all actors. But I found it freeing, not anxiety-provoking. It was really fun.

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