"The stars of this really are the director and the animators," Burrell told reporters in New York recently. "The voices are important, but they are really [supporting] roles to a big, super-magical thing that I'd never been a part of. Right up until the thrilling reveal of actually seeing the movie itself, which I saw a few weeks ago and loved. It's by far the most -- as far as process goes -- the most thrilling thing I've ever done because I had no idea what I was going to see. You're in a room [when you record your lines] and it's kind of impossible to see all the imagery when you're making it. So, one of the most fun times I ever had was seeing the movie."
Directed by Rob Minkoff and featuring the voices of Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Patrick Warburton and Allison Janney, the movie is about the world's smartest, talking, time-traveling dog and the human boy he adopts. The movie is based on animated shorts that ran during the "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" in the 1960s.
"I wasn't quite old enough for it when it originally aired, but my brother was about seven years older than me and I remember him laughing," Burrell said. "Reruns. I have warm memories because he was always laughing and I didn't know why because it was a little bit above my head. So, when it came along I was very excited to audition for it. ... Very luckily, I got the part and it became kind of a group process of trying to figure out the voice that would pay respect to Bill Scott, who was the genius voice actor who did the original part and other [animated] parts that you would recognize from the time period."
The 46-year-old actor noted the longer format of the film offered them the chance to explore Mr. Peabody and Sherman's father-son relationship.
"The originals are 5-minute shorts and they are very witty, but they don't have enough time to get into Peabody and Sherman's relationship, so the first part of the process was figuring out how much of this would be an homage to Bill Scott and also how much of this needs to be more rounded, so we can have conversations and then it became this whole process, which was a 2-year thing and it's an incredibly malleable process where the story is being perfected and the animation is being perfected."
"Mr. Peabody & Sherman" opens nationwide Friday.