The process of starring in an animated project is a much different experience for its actors than being physically on set. It’s the artists’ craft being supported by its voice cast, and Spirit Untamed brought on some incredible talent. Alongside Dora the Explorer’s Isabela Mercad taking the reins as Spirit’s new friend Lucky Prescott, she is joined by award-winning actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Julianne Moore, who play Lucky’s father Jim and aunt Cora, respectively.
When CinemaBlend spoke to the actors about their roles in the film, Jake Gyllenhaal and Julianne Moore shared their experiences with their characters throughout the making of the DreamWorks film. As Lisey’s Story star Julianne Moore shared during the Spirit Untamed interview:
I saw so many iterations of my character, sometimes she was quite old, she was elderly and quite big and sometimes she was just a lovely, alive 23-year-old. And I was like, who is she? I didn’t know where she was. They kept changing their mind about what Aunt Cora would look like. But by the end I’m pretty satisfied.
In contrast to being on a set where once you’ve picked your costumes and setting, you’re ready to roll, DreamWorks had the ability to play around with its character design throughout the process and very much changed things around with Aunt Cora. Moore shared that the age of her character changed quite drastically throughout the production, going from an older woman to a much younger character. Jake Gyllenhaal jumped into the conversation by explaining his own experience with her character and his own funny memories:
Cora in certain iterations she literally had no dress. It was an outline of a dress. She would sort of walk around, it was a bit distracting at times. [Laughing] I did see a picture of him and his hair color changed a lot. He went from brunette to blonde and then he found his way somewhere in between.
It sounds like Spirit Untamed was an odd process for the actors, especially considering each of them had somehow never voiced a role in an animated feature film before. Gyllenhaal also told CinemaBlend that working on the film was a lot about “letting go” with something he usually had control over in a live-action production, and allowing the process to inspire him and the other cast and crew throughout the making of Spirit Untamed.
Spirit Untamed follows Lucky as she meets a new generation of the Spirit horse that began back in 2002 with Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. Unlike the early DreamWorks classic, this new movie will focus on Lucky and her family as she befriends the wild mustang and helps him, despite pushback from them. It’s a big adventure film geared toward young audiences.
Spirit Untamed reviews debuted with overall mixed critical reception and is expected to open this weekend to $5 to $7 million domestically for its exclusive theatrical release. It will open alongside Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It and against Cruella and A Quiet Place Part II’s second weekend in theaters.
Check out CinemaBlend’s interview with the film’s co-director Elaine Bogan about the inclusion of Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” and see Spirit Untamed in theaters now.