Back to Mr. Popper's life

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines -  After displaying her kaleidoscopic depth in movies Watchmen and Sucker Punch, Carla Gugino again steps into a memorable family comedy opposite Jim Carrey in Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

Gugino plays Amanda, ex-wife of Carrey’s Thom Popper in the movie whom he still loves but has neglected because of his escalating real estate career. An inherently good guy, Mr. Popper has become consumed with work and is remarkably self-centered. But everything changes when he inherits six Gentoo penguins from his estranged father. Initially horrified, he gradually befriends the beautiful Antarctic birds as he is compelled to care for them. The penguins waste no time in creating total havoc and in the process, turn his life upside down as they slowly turn his pristine and swanky New York apartment into a chilly winter wonderland. Inevitably, as the pesky penguins require his constant attention, Popper finds life both at work and at home rapidly unraveling as he also begins to learn the value of family.

Popper is pleased that the penguins help him reconnect with his children — and with his ex-wife Amanda. To play Amanda, the filmmakers cast Carla Gugino, known for her roles in the Spy Kids films, the HBO series Entourage and the feature Watchmen. For the actress, deciding to take the role of Amanda was easy. “I just read the script, and I thought, ‘I’d see this movie in a second,’” she tells it. “It’s so funny, but it’s also so human.”

While warming to Popper and his new pals, Amanda is wary of his grand promises to the kids. “Carla grounds our story, and makes the reality of his former family life feel credible and real,” explains executive producer Jessica Tuchinsky.

While the crew worked in big jackets, gloves and hats on the 40-degree set, the penguins always brought a warm feeling to anyone they were in contact with. “You cannot stand next to them and not smile,” says Carla. “They’re just such little forces of joy. And they work for fish!” 

“Carla Gugino is fantastic, she is an amazing actress, she brings a really solid vulnerable, beautiful quality to the character. Carla brings so much to the film,” says Jim on working with Carla.

Director Mark Waters states that the movie is for audiences of all ages. “I certainly have been aspiring to make a big comedy that has big emotion,” he says. “If we did our work right here, the movie will work on all those levels of entertainment.” And Mr. Popper himself — Jim — offers his hopes for the film: “It puts you in touch with what’s important in life, such as the value of love, family and friendship. At the same time, I think audiences will be surprised by how funny and edgy it is. The film has humor that adults will enjoy. It’s completely innocent, joyful and uplifting.”

Mr. Popper’s Penguins opens tomorrow, June 17 in theaters from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

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