The actor, 38, stars in Peter Rabbit, a new take on Beatrix Potter’s beloved children’s stories, in theaters on Feb. 9.
What made you want to do a family film?
Having children of my own was a big motivation to do something accessible to them. I was a little girl who had rabbits, who read Beatrix Potter, who had a ceramic rabbit collection. There’s a big part of my childhood that I associate with Beatrix Potter, so I was tickled to be a part of it.
Did you have to channel your inner child?
Absolutely. I think in acting in general you do–but in particular, when you’re talking to a guy in a blue Lycra outfit while he’s holding a rake with a fake rabbit head on it, you’ve really got to suspend your disbelief.
Tell me about the filmmaking collective you co-founded to promote female-driven storytelling.
It’s a bunch of girlfriends of mine from Australia. It’s definitely a learning curve, particularly with the development phase and script work. That’s what we’re trying to do, and it takes time. But we’re dedicated and passionate about it.
Many female actors seem to be turning to producing to create better roles.
Part of the motivation [was] to create roles for myself–for the girls, for everybody–because there is a lack of that. It’s very obvious to everyone. But isn’t it incredible now? It’s really been such a game changer, everything that’s been revealed and exposed. I think things are changing, finally. I hope they are.
How did you feel when your movie I Love You, Daddy was shelved following allegations of sexual misconduct against its director, Louis CK?
I stand in solidarity with the women who came forward. It’s disappointing the film probably won’t ever be seen. But it’s great that they came forward. It must be incredibly scary to do.
This appears in the February 19, 2018 issue of TIME.
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