Isla Fisher Interview

Interview: Isla Fisher Talks Back to the Outback’s Celebration of Australia

Back to the Outback is Netflix’s latest animated adventure that is streaming on December 10. The film is a celebration of Australian wildlife and has a star-studded cast featuring Isla Fisher, Tim Minchin, Guy Pearce, Eric Bana, and more.

“Tired of being locked in a reptile house where humans gawk at them like they’re monsters, a ragtag group of Australia’s deadliest creatures plot a daring escape from their zoo to the Outback, a place where they’ll fit in without being judged for their scales and fangs,” says the official synopsis. “Leading the group is Maddie (Isla Fisher), a poisonous snake with a heart of gold, who bands together with a self-assured Thorny Devil lizard Zoe (Miranda Tapsell), a lovelorn hairy spider Frank (Guy Pearce), and a sensitive scorpion Nigel (Angus Imrie). But when their nemesis — Pretty Boy (Tim Minchin), a cute but obnoxious koala — unexpectedly joins their escape, Maddie and the gang have no choice but to take him with them. So begins a hair-raising and hilarious road trip across Australia, as they are pursued by a zookeeper Chaz (Eric Bana) and his adventure-seeking mini-me (Diesel La Torraca).”

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Back to the Outback star Isla Fisher about starring in the animated film, embracing Australia’s wildlife, and more.

Tyler Treese: This is a really fun film and it’s certainly not your usual roe. You probably didn’t think about playing a snake much early in your career, but what kind of preparation did you do to get into the headspace of a taipan snake?

Isla Fisher: Well, I just did a little research on kind of the concrete stuff, like how snakes move and eat, their lifestyle. Obviously, the other creatures, the scorpion and the spider and the koala, I just did your usual kind of brush up on my animal knowledge. Then the rest of it was just kind of creating Maddie’s inner world, which was really fun because she’s someone who’s been conditioned to believe she’s this horrible thing, and she has to learn to accept who she is and not only that, but be empowered by it and lead this kind of gang of animals back to the outback. So, she’s a fantastic character with a complex, emotional life.

I thought it was interesting like dynamic because the taipan snake is the most venomous snake in the world and your character is actually this sensitive soul. She’s quite upset by being called this fearful monster. Can you just speak to that element of the character?

She’s been in captivity since she was an egg and she doesn’t see how she’s perceived by the rest of the world. She feels like she’s completely normal she’s going about her business and it’s not until she reveals her fangs and she realizes she’s kind of being exploited by the zoo and by the man that raised her, Chaz. So she has to has this sort of epiphany where she kind of taps into her inner courage and she leads a gang back to the outback in a way, hoping to connect with her family, and to really journey to self-acceptance. But what she realizes along the way is that her family is really who she’s traveling with, not where she’s headed, and that she’s the only one that needs to accept herself in order to be accepted by anyone else. And she also develops empathy for Pretty Boy, her koala friend who comes along the way, who is at the opposite end of her. He’s someone who’s also judged only from the outside as this beautiful koala, but he’s kind of marginalized for being on the other side of the scale, and together they learn to sort of tolerate and accept each other. I think it’s got a lot of sweet messages for kids.

Yeah. This cast is fantastic with so much Australian talent, even Kylie Minogue does a voice here. What does it mean for you to be in a film that’s really just this celebration of Australia?

It’s so fun. I’m so proud of it. I love Eric Bana. I grew up watching him on a comedy show when I was a kid and Guy Pearce, Keith Urban, Jackie Weave,r, and the incredibly talented Tim Minchin. Yeah, I really hope that audiences take away from the film, not just the adventure and the humor, but also just like kind of a love and appreciation for Australia. I feel like all we’re kind of known for, not all we’re known for, but people mention a lot like, “Oh, you have nine of the ten most dangerous snakes and spiders.” So here we’ve got a story about them on display to help people connect with down under.

How great is it getting due to a film that all of your kids can enjoy? You’re probably not showing them Wedding Crashers and Hot Rod.

[Laughs.] No, I am definitely not showing them those films. Yes, it was a really fun night getting to say, “Let’s sit down and watch this,” and everyone really enjoyed it. So, yeah, it was a win. It was a very proud mommy moment.

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