Bridgit Mendler is “Arrietty”
By: Lynn Barker
Bridgit Mendler of Disney’s “Good Luck Charlie” is the voice of lead “borrower” Arrietty in the beautifully-animated film The Secret World of Arrietty now out on Blu-Ray and DVD. “The Borrowers”, on which the story is based, is a classic kids’ novel about a family of 4-inch people who hide from we big folks and “borrow” items from us to survive.
Arrietty is a 14-year-old borrower out for her first adventure into the big people world on a quest for supplies. When she meets “big” teen visitor Shawn, he is sympathetic and they have several adventures together.
We got Bridgit on the cell to tell us all about doing the voice role and also spill the latest on her music and TV show.
Kidzworld: Had you read the book “The Borrowers” on which this is based?
- Bridgit: I hadn’t but my grandpa had so I thought that was pretty neat that the story is able to span multiple generations like that. I got the project then we wound up telling him and he was really excited and told us he was very familiar with the story.
Kidzworld: How did they pick your voice for the film?
- Bridgit: They approached me for the role and it was very flattering. It was a Studio Ghibli movie and I watched it and was really amazed by the Japanese version that they already had so it seemed like a great project to do and I didn’t hesitate to say “yes”.
Kidzworld: You wrote the song “Summertime” and the producers of the movie heard it and thought it matched the theme of their story?
- Bridgit: Yeah, that’s basically how it happened. It was a story that I made up. It’s not based on personal experience but I think the whole summertime, kind of cheerful, innocent thing was relatable for the movie and something they liked. The movie is about imagery and there are some good images in that song.
Kidzworld: You got to pretend things were there for the special effects in the video to make you “tiny” in a big world. Had you ever worked against a green screen? Weird or fun?
- Bridgit: I’d done that here and there a little bit but not for a music video so that was really neat. It was fun and was all in my imagination but the director was helpful in telling me things like “you’re tiny and you are floating on a leaf” so that was good.
Kidzworld: What would you do if you were actually 4 inches tall like Arrietty? What adventures would you go on?
- Bridgit: I’d love to ride a bird I think. It would be such an adventure to ride on the back of a bird so long as they didn’t eat me.
Kidzworld: For sure. Do you have any favorite films that were originally done for Japanese animation? I like My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away.
- Bridgit: I like Spirited Away and Keke’s Delivery Service about the little girl. That’s one of my favorite movies.
Kidzworld: Did your voice have to match already recorded Japanese dialogue because what you say has to match the animated character’s moving mouths and they are talking in Japanese.
- Bridgit: That’s the tricky part of what they do. They were able to kind of fit what I said to what had already been animated so that’s a careful process of timing and pronunciation. If the character is wide-eyed and really excited about something, you have to match that attitude. They were very conscious of the words that they used. Sometimes throughout the recording process they would say “Okay, we need to add a syllable here” or “We need to add a pause there”. It was a delicate balance but it was really, really fun.
Kidzworld: Did you ever get to record in the same room with David Henrie (who voices Shawn) or Carol Burnett?
- Bridgit: No. I was totally alone. It’s kind of interesting how they are able to put it together. You read through the scene before doing the different pieces. It’s very bit-by- bit the way it’s recorded. Sometimes you would only do one line at a time because it had to be very exact. They give you three beats and then you launch into what you are saying.
Survival Guide Featurette
Kidzworld: Didn’t you provide the voice for Appoline the French poodle in Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2? How was that a very different experience than doing this one?
- Bridgit: They did already film the dog. It was pretty well-finished by the time I came on. The different part for me was I had to work with a (French) accent. That was a new thing and a little bit scary.
Kidzworld: What cool lesson does The Secret World of Arrietty have to teach us all....in an entertaining way?
- Bridgit: It seems like it’s a coming of age story to me where Arrietty is getting independence and learning about the world and something she learns is that family is really important and she has to be brave. She makes some mistakes throughout the movie and has to pay the price for that but she meets a great friend along the way and has to be strong for him. Bravery is a cool lesson that they tie into her getting older.
Kidzworld: Let’s talk about your music. Is your single “Ready or Not” out yet?
- Bridgit: No. It’s not out yet. It’ll be out at the end of June. The album will be out later in the year.
Summertime – Music Video (Bonus)
Kidzworld: What is “Ready or Not” about?
- Bridgit: It’s a fun song about a girl who is feeling like she has been the wallflower her whole life and she wants to go out there and take charge. It has the romantic element of her going for the guy rather than waiting for the world to come to her. I wrote it with some great writers and producers. We wrote most of the album together.
Kidzworld: What is new that fans haven’t seen yet on “Good Luck Charlie”?
- Bridgit: They haven’t seen the episode where the new baby is born so that’s something up and coming. It’s a big moment. It changes the family dynamics in a really fun way I think.
Kidzworld: Will there be another “Lemonade Mouth” TV movie?
- Bridgit: There won’t be. It was very difficult to work out schedule-wise with all the different actors and, additionally, we were feeling like the story was told to completion in the first movie. I don’t have a hard time with that. I really enjoyed the experience and I think it’s not one of those stories where it ends and a next movie can start. I loved working with all those people and would love to again but we’re all doing our individual stuff now.