Children may not recognise Mae Whitman’s face but chances are her voice will ring a bell, a Tinker Bell
REMEMBER the cute-asa-button kid who played the President’s daughter in Independence Day? Well, you would probably recognise the now 26-yearold Mae Whitman from TV series such as Arrested Development and Parenthood, or movies including Perks of Being a Wallflower and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
For kids though, it’s her voice that will ring a bell. A Tinker Bell actually.
Since she was 18, Whitman has voiced the fairy from Peter Pan in a series of spin-off movies, with Tinker Bell & the Pirate Fairy marking the fifth in the animated franchise.
Even now, the thought that she’s playing a character she used to watch as a kid is daunting.
“(Especially) if I think about it too hard,” she says.
“But I have so much support from the team at Disney.
“I mean, if anything it just makes me want to not back off and really make sure we’re honouring Tinker Bell and who she is.”
Also joining the voice cast for this latest film are Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks and The Avengers villain Tom Hiddleston. Hendricks plays fairy Zarina, who steals Pixie Hollow’s Blue Pixie Dust and joins forces with a pirate crew, including the cabin boy, a young James Hook (played by Hiddleston).
Whitman felt a lot of nostalgia with this film because of the Peter Pan links. .
“We’ve had small references here and there before, but I think this is really one of the first times you get to see so much of Neverland and you get to see another straight-up character from there like Captain Hook and the pirates,” Whitman says.
Also, for those who love Peter Pan, it’s amazing to see a younger version of Hook and find out what he was like.
“That’s another of my favourite things. Peter Pan is my favourite Disney movie so to be able to be a part of that world... is really, really exciting.”
Whitman, who also voices April O’Neil in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series, says working in animation means she can tackle more diverse characters.
“You get to really try different things and be different people because you’re not limited to how you look,” she says.
“And my favourite part about it is that you can wear sweatpants.
“My favourite part of any day is if I can wear sweatpants. It’s really the best.”
Tinker Bell & the Pirate Fairy is out now