In an improv-heavy environment such as Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, performance notes are the guide rails that keep everything on the straight and narrow. Sometimes running gags come out of such collaborations, especially when a rude review of James Corden’s voice allows for such inspiration. And then there are other scenarios, like that of Elizabeth Debicki’s performance in Peter Rabbit 2, where it inspires some rather hysterical notes.
Much like James Corden and the rest of the Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway cast, Elizabeth Debicki was given pretty free rein when it came to really getting into her character of Mopsy Rabbit. Continuing her sibling rivalry with Flopsy, voiced by Margot Robbie, the competitive energy between these rabbits in particular feels like a good space to get playful. Though during our press day interview, I did find out that yes, the improv energy was there in force. This led to Debicki recalling the following notes from director Will Gluck:
I probably was just drawing on my own personal experience of being an incredibly bossy big sister. I have two siblings, and I’m so bossy. And Will probably had to be like, ‘Could you just be a little less? It’s a children’s film.’
All at once, that joke in the first Peter Rabbit film where Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail argued over who was the eldest in the family makes a lot more sense. Even if the years soften your approach to the role of the firstborn in any family unit, there are going to be moments where it all comes back out. Fast and furious heist action, as well as pretending to be a rabbit in a sparkling water dare fight with your sibling, certainly sound like the conditions that bring Elizabeth Debicki back to that frame of mind.
Throughout all of the Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway interviews I conducted, there was a huge connective thread that everyone had in common. That singularity came from the cast’s love for co-writer/director Will Gluck’s collaborative energy. Though Elizabeth Debicki was given notes to tone down the bossy nature of Mopsy Rabbit, it was all part of the process that honed the finished product into the delightful family film that all can enjoy. Even with the delay in release, and a couple years removed from the original recording sessions, Debicki easily described the experience as follows:
We made this a little while ago now, but I feel like there were. There were a few little bits and pieces, and that’s part of the joy of working with Will. He’s always interested in how you can make it just slightly funnier, so if you suggest something that may be slightly better, he’ll always jump on it and throw it into the movie.
Between personal touches from the actors and the sharp template set by the original film, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway followed an established formula for success. Just as Will Gluck knows when to draw the line in a stern sibling’s tone, Elizabeth Debicki and the rest of the cast can come in with the fresh ideas that help elevate what’s on the page into something truly cinematic. It’s the stuff that sequels thrive on, and it’s what you can currently see in theaters as a result.
Should you or your family want to partake in Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, the time is right as it’s just started its theatrical run. That’s only the start of the family-friendly fun you’ll see at the movies, and you can find all of the fun and games on the 2021 release schedule! Just be sure you don’t let the oldest child in your group try to rule the decision making process when it comes to selecting your next adventure.