An Interview with Carla Gugino

Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ Carla Gugino talks about Jim Carrey, freezing her behind off on set and how to break it to your parents that you want to be an actress.
Role Mommy west coast contributor Kristin Flannery got a chance to sit down with Carla Gugino, who plays divorced mom Amanda, opposite Jim Carrey in Mr. Popper’s Penguins opening on June 17th.
Everyone wants to know what it was like to work with Jim Carrey. Was he crazy? Carla let us in on his technique, “Well, Jim is amazing because every take he tries something new, and that’s always really fun to work with, or at least for me. It’s great because he’s just experimenting all the time. ”
Carla grew up in Florida, so most of the shooting was not as warm as she would have hoped, “It was hysterical because the penguins don’t function very well over 40 degrees. So, literally our set was 40 degrees and we shot in the winter in New York. We started sort of when it was still warm out, and then we were freezing on set. And then, finally the outside caught up to the inside. But, I’m not good in the cold at all.”
Carla talked about what it was like to work with penguins, ” And they are so sweet. I mean, they’re not hugely trainable, so it’s not like they can do extraordinary tricks or something. But, you cannot not smile when you are in a room with penguins. They’re just the cutest things ever.”
Carla had a chance to see the penguins unique style of swimming , “It was funny because I have a goddaughter who came to visit, and I brought her into the penguins. And it was true that they do this crazy thing where they’re swimming around in their little pool, and then kind of in a crazy Spiderman kind of way they jump up in one and it’s really shocking and really exciting. And it feels like it’s something like film in reverse or something. It’s so crazy how it happens, but they all did it. So, they’re just in the water and then all of a sudden it’s like, boom, boom, boom, you know, and they’re jumping up.”
Playing a divorced mom was a role that Carla feels a lot of kids and moms can relate to, “I mean, it’s interesting because I think that there used to be such a thing about you need to be married to have children. There have been so many sort of unspoken rules. I have two stepchildren and they’re big now. It really does kind of come down to each family making their own decisions and about the child being loved and having some sense of security being the most important thing. I know so many divorced parents and couples and kids who have been raised with that. So, I do think that it’s become something that’s sort of the fabric of our society.”
You may not know this but Carla was valedictorian of her high school class. When she broke the news to them that she wanted to be an actor, they were behind her 100 percent, “They said, “Really? You want to act?” I just love it, too, because you could say you want to be a rocket scientist or anything, and they say, “Great! Yes!” And then, you tell them you want to be an actress, and they think, “Really?” But, no, they were very supportive is the truth, probably because I was such a serious student, that for me to then say that I wanted to do this, they knew it wasn’t kind of a whim.”
Mr. Popper’s Penguins opens in theaters this Friday, June 17th.