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Ginnifer Goodwin Voices Fawn in New Tinker Bell Movie

March 03, 2015

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By: Lynn Barker

Perky actress Ginnifer Goodwin (Gwen on “Sophia the First”, Snow White on “Once Upon a Time”) had rarely done a voice role for animation, at least not a lead role like animal fairy Fawn in the new Tink movie Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast now out on Blu-ray and DVD and she told reporters just how difficult it was for her to grasp the fact that she needed to act with her whole body, not just her voice in order to make feisty Fawn a reality. She hated the results at first and re-recorded her part!

Fawn tries to tell Tink about the NeverbeastFawn tries to tell Tink about the NeverbeastCourtesy of Disney

Is Fawn anything like Snow White or is she like Ginnifer herself? Was singing for an extra on the Blu-ray difficult for her? How exciting was voicing this role for this actress whose house is “full of Disney merchandise”? Check out the answers.

Q: Fawn is an interesting character. Was she a stretch for you?

  • Ginnifer: I think as a character, it’s not that she was a stretch so much as learning how to express her was a whole new experience for me. I’d done a little bit of animation acting in the past but nothing substantial. I, at first, approached Fawn the way I would approach any live-action character and did not realize that the results would be so different.
  • I hated what I heard of my voice after the first couple of passes we made on the whole film. I saw a version of the movie and asked if I could throw away everything I had done and reinterpret the character entirely. Not changing her words in any way but tackling her from a different angle because what I was doing was not working and I would have fired me but they were nicer than I was and gave me another chance and I think we found her. But it is a whole different experience, voice-over acting and live action acting.

Ginnifer Goodwin voices FawnGinnifer Goodwin voices FawnCourtesy of Disney

Q: Did you take inspiration from Snow White’s compassionate, impulsive character for playing Fawn?

  • Ginnifer: I didn’t think of it that way at the time but, today, I’ve thought about the fact that coming from a fantasy world where anything is possible, where the rules of the universe are incredibly different than the rules of the universe where we live certainly helped me liberate myself for Fawn’s world. As far as her qualities go, I think that all my characters really share a lot of the same characteristics. That just comes with my being cast to play certain aspects of myself over and over again which I really enjoy.

Ginnifer as Snow White on Once Upon a TimeGinnifer as Snow White on Once Upon a TimeCourtesy of ABC

Q: How did you have to channel your physicality and emotionality as well as voice for playing Fawn? Disney sometimes uses your facial movements but…

  • Ginnifer: That was the thing I didn’t understand. I had no idea that I was such a self-conscious actor and that I was so controlled when I’m doing live action work and I say that with positivity. Those are tools, skills; control is something one must have in doing live action work. I didn’t realize I was relying so much on the blink of an eye or the raising of an eyebrow or the tension of my mouth to express something. I had never thought of things in those elemental ways.
  • I found that my voice when isolated was not nearly as animated as I thought it was. When you just take my voice, it doesn’t have the musicality that’s needed. It doesn’t necessarily express the emotion that’s being felt that you might be able to see in my eyes for instance on screen. So, I had to find a way to let go of all inhibition and express myself in as large a way as possible while staying connected and that’s really, really difficult for me. But, it was a challenge that ended up being great fun.

Q: Did it kind of feel at times like overacting?

  • Ginnifer: Oh yeah. I think that if you don’t feel ridiculous, it’s probably bad work (she laughs). I wasn’t satisfied with the product until I felt like a fool in the booth for sure.

Tink and Fawn (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin)Tink and Fawn (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin)

Q: You talked about not being pleased with your work at first. During those days what did you do to pull yourself back up?

  • Ginnifer: My friend Lee Arenberg who plays Grumpy on “Once Upon a Time” asked me why I was struggling and I said “I just feel like my work is lousy. This is what it sounds like and these are my obstacles.” He said “Okay. Walk me through what the process is for you.” I said “Well, I sit in the chair” and he said “Well, that’s your first problem. Why are you sitting in a chair? You really need to get it in your body.” He said “Jump in. Physically jump in” and it helped immensely.

Q: What is it like working on this Disney Tinker Bell film?

  • Ginnifer: It’s an honor. To me, working for Disney is the pinnacle. I don’t think anyone has been able to tell stories with so much heart and such evolved messages and have those stories appeal to such wide audiences and take such flawed characters and make them so admirable and relatable at the same time as Disney has and they’ve done this trough history beginning with Walt and continuing the work with John Lasseter. Since 2003 when I moved to L.A., I’ve auditioned for all of Disney’s animated work and begged for jobs. I guess it took ten years but the begging played off.

Fawn and fairy pals frolic with the NeverbeastFawn and fairy pals frolic with the NeverbeastCourtesy of Disney

Q: You are Snow White and now Fawn. What other Disney (or fairy tale) character would you want to play?

  • Ginnifer: Oh any of them. I don’t care. I will happily peep as a mouse in the corner in something. I’ve told them repeatedly if they will continue to hire me I would happily do nothing else ever again. I far prefer this life to any other. I think it’s a lot more fulfilling than live action now that I feel I’ve got more of a handle on it, I’d like to do more.

Q: Did you also do Fawn’s singing voice on a DVD extra feature?

  • Ginnifer: That was me.

Fawn with her animal friendsFawn with her animal friendsCourtesy of Disney

Q: Is that even another form of acting when you are singing?

  • Ginnifer: Oh yes. That’s the terrifying form of acting. I’ve also been singing for Disney repeatedly. I’ve auditioned for all their animated features, the musicals as well. I’m not a great singer but my father was a professional musician and had a recording studio so, as he also engineered I know very well that there is a button on a console that makes you sound better (she laughs). I tell them in auditions that I know there is that button that puts you a little more on key and they will find me willing to use it. I sang for the short and also sang for “Sophia the First” for Disney Junior which was great fun. As long as there is that button available, I’m available too.

Q: You are the mom of a very young son. Does he know what you do for a living?

  • Ginnifer: I do for a living what I do in real life which is roll around on the floor and make animal noises. I don’t think it’ll come as a shock. I don’t think my work is good unless I’m being a fool and my parenting is probably not good unless I’m being a fool.

Q: Have you gotten any reactions from children when they learn you’re a Disney fairy or Snow White?  

  • Ginnifer: I’m hoping that children will believe that the Fawn they see on screen is an actual being and they there’s not someone else playing her but that’s not stopped me from being Snow White on a daily basis which is very rewarding. Of all the “getting recognized” stories ever, my favorite is that I was in a parade in Kentucky several years ago in my husband’s home town and this little girl, she must have been like four years old, came up to me and put her hands on her hips and was staring at me really close. I said “Hi” and she says “Are you Snow White?” “I am Snow White”. “I knew it. I met you at Disney World last year” (laughter).

Ginnifer with NeverBeast director Steve LoderGinnifer with NeverBeast director Steve Loder

Q: Were you familiar with the Tinker Bell and Fawn stories before?

  • Ginnifer: I was. For a while I wasn’t sure if I was obligated to honor the actresses that had played her before and if I needed to mimic what they had done in a way but I talked to the filmmakers and they said “No, no, no. Throw it all away. What is consistent about her will be consistent in the writing so I just did what I did and they told me later that they ended up animating her differently than the other fairies due to my ridiculous moving around in the sound booth. They brought that into her physical being which I thought was a great compliment.

Q: Do you have a lot of Tinker Bell merchandise at your house?

  • Ginnifer: I have a lot of all Disney merchandise at my house. I guess I’ll have to get that a little bit under control. I go to Disneyland about once a month. It’s easier if I go in disguises which I won’t describe or I’ll be busted but sometimes we have to go with some bodyguards because Disneyland is clearly my audience. Disney, as a company, wants the parkgoers to enjoy the park for the park and they don’t need us clogging up the lines drawing attention when these kids need to be paying attention to Mickey Mouse walking around. So, when we have these bodyguards, it’s really in an effort to make everybody’s experience better. I shouldn’t be a distraction.

Fawn the animal fairyFawn the animal fairy

Q: What’s your favorite ride?

  • Ginnifer: Haunted Mansion ever since I was a little girl.

Q: Did you like the fact that in this film it’s a very matriarchal society? Women are in charge. There are guys around but it’s generally a peaceful place and well run so is that appealing to you.

  • Ginnifer: Oh my gosh, it appeals to me more because I have a son. I think almost every project I’ve ever had has been a bit feminist even if it’s depicting women living in a society that’s more oppressed, all my projects have ultimately been about the strength of women. I love that my son would be influenced by worlds where women are strong. I hope it teaches him to greatly respect women.

Q: Can you tease anything about “Once Upon a Time” when it comes back?

  • Ginnifer: I think it will be one of our darker half seasons which I’m excited about because I went back to work full time post baby for the second half of the season so I’ve gotten to be far more a part of this second half storyline. It’s ruled by the Queens of Darkness, the Trio of Terror. We call them all kinds of things and working opposite Maleficent and Ursula and Cruella de Vil has been really bad**s.

Ginnifer's character Gwen on Sophia the FirstGinnifer's character Gwen on Sophia the First

Q: Why do you think that the Tinker Bell films are so successful?

  • Ginnifer: I think the Tinker Bell movies are just as evolved, just as heartstring tugging as the feature films. I would think they would appeal to any age and this particular movie to either gender. I think they have a way of teaching morals to especially young people in a way that isn’t preachy, that isn’t self-conscious making. You want to live in these worlds with these characters and you want to be like them and be friends with them. They’re so creative. They really take your imagination to its limit. What’s not to like about that?

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast Blu-ray CoverTinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast Blu-ray CoverCourtesy of Disney

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast is now available on Blu-ray + DVD!