Minor spoilers for Flora & Ulysses can be found in this article, but nothing that would spoil your enjoyment of the family film.
What draws an actor or actress to a particular script or project? The answer to this question certainly varies, but if you were to ask Ben Schwartz why he wanted to play a dad in the new Disney+ film Flora & Ulysses, his answer was simple: Flight. Given he's expressed interest in playing a superhero in the past, this should be no huge shocker, but the story behind what happened when the actor was on set filming the sequence is particularly amusing.
During a visit to the set of Flora & Ulysses CinemaBlend attended prior to the global events of the past year, Ben Schwartz fondly recalled getting the script for the film. One scene in particular really caught his eye as he realized he may not be the superhero in the movie, but his character would get their own superhero moment. That moment?
When I read the script the scene I was most excited about was I fly! A squirrel picks me up, I fall. Danny [Pudi] plays animal control and he’s going after Ulysses trying to get Ulysses because he thinks that Ulysses has rabies. So he has a trank gun, and so he tranks me to get me to stop. I’m on top of a roof trying to run away from him and he tranks me so I’m like, barely moving. I fall off a building and while I’m falling to my doom, Ulysses really shows what a superhero is, flies, catches me. And brings me down. In my head, I’m like, I get to be a superhero this is so exciting.
If you’ve seen the movie in question, the trank gun plots are some of the funniest in the film, but it was the flying scene that really got the actor excited about starring in the movie. However, there’s a Part 2 to this story as well, as Ben Schwartz actually had to film the Flora & Ulysses scene in question, which didn't go as well as anticipated. As many superhero-esque scenes require these days, this one was harness-based, similar to the harnesses the various Avengers have used for flight and other key superhero moments in the Disney films.
Then, when I put the harness on, it was quickly not my favorite scene. It makes you want to throw up and I can’t believe -- I guess I’m not as strong as like Chris Hemsworth. I can’t believe all these superheroes are in these harnesses for like so long. It’s so uncomfortable. They pick you up and all your body weight is like [flopped].
I don’t know if Ben Schwartz is aware of this, but there’s a somewhat famous incident where Schwartz’s Parks and Recreation co-star Chris Pratt was working in a harness and things did not go particularly well either. In fact, Pratt famously was doing a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 stunt where he flew through the air a little too fast and ultimately crash-landed and was knocked unconscious. So, I guess what I’m saying is, maybe Schwartz isn’t as much of a novice as he thinks he is. Harnesses are difficult and things can easily go wrong.
If you and your family have caught Flora & Ulysses on Disney+, you probably already know the scene Schwartz is talking about and I think it turned out well! Despite the fact the Disney+ film doesn’t have quite as hefty of a budget as some of Disney’s Marvel tentpole movies, a lot of the magical, action-oriented and CGI scenes are delightful and play into the overall vision of the film, which is solidly filled with funny pop culture references and Easter eggs. (The doorbell scene is my favorite.)
Ben Schwartz also mentioned to Cinemablend and other outlets that reading the script he was looking for "the magical, Disney-type moments" and it seems like he found plenty--even if they didn't always play out how he anticipated. Give the Disney+ film a try and you will too.