'Flora & Ulysses' brings family fun, and a superhero squirrel, to Disney+

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A superhero squirrel? Yes! 10-year-old Flora Buckman saves the life of a squirrel she names Ulysses and quickly learns there is something special about him.

Disney's "Flora & Ulysses" is based on the Newbery Award-winning book by Kate DiCamillo.

Flora, played by Matilda Lawler, is an avid comic book fan whose parents have recently separated. Flora's dad George, a struggling comic book creator, played by Ben Schwartz, helps her protect Ulysses.

"There's a scene with Matilda where we're in the car and my hand doesn't work," Schwartz explains because his character was shot by tranquilizer darts, "And Tilly and I had so much fun trying to throw my hand like a pancake and all the fun. And to me it's like a very fun Disney moment too, when you watch these Disney family movies that I love you get be, I was like, we're in the middle of it, we're doing it, we're in a scene that's a big Disney scene."

But, her mom Phyllis, a romance novelist, played by Alyson Hannigan, wants her daughter to get her head out of the clouds and doesn't want a squirrel living in her house.

"We're such big fans of the book," Hannigan said. "And it (the movie) was everything I would hope it would be and more."

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Jennifer Matarese interviews Alyson Hannigan about the new Disney+ movie.

Ulysses' superhero powers take her family on adventure that change their lives forever.

Matilda said it was fun to see the movie come together after filming with a computer-generated squirrel.
"A lot of times I was working with like a gray stuffed animal that was pretty ugly and creepy, but I kind of grew to like it," she joked. "Sometimes I wasn't working with anything, sometimes it was just like, air, so that was difficult to follow the eye line when there was nothing there.

One of the funniest, messiest scenes involves a family dinner that Ulysses interrupts.

"There were these mashed potato cannons that squirted everywhere, and we only had one take so that was really crazy," Matilda said.


"Flora & Ulysses" stars Matilda Lawler, Alyson Hannigan, Ben Schwartz, Anna Deavere Smith, Danny Pudi, Benjamin Evans Ainsworth, Janeane Garofolo and Kate McCucci.

Don't miss the premiere of "Flora & Ulysses" Friday, February 19 on Disney+.

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