Jane Fonda Did More Than Required For 'Luck' Role According to Director

One could assume that actors could do the bare minimum for an animated role, but there was no coasting by the cast on Luck, according to its director Peggy Holmes.

Streaming now on Apple TV+, the family film features the voice talents of Jane Fonda, Simon Pegg, Whoopi Goldberg, Lil Rel Howery and Eva Noblezada in the leading role.

Luck follows an unlucky girl who enters a magical world where everyone's luck is decided.

Ahead of its launch, choreographer-turned-movie-director Holmes spoke to Newsweek about her voice actors, while Pegg discussed his own career luck, and why the Scottish accent (which he adopts in Luck) is so emotive.

From Dancing to Directing

Bob and Sam Greenfield (L) in a scene from "Luck" alongside director Peggy Holmes.Frazer Harrison/Apple TV+ / Getty Images

Peggy Holmes has an impressive resume when it comes to movies and TV shows. Across the '80s and '90s this former dancer choreographed routines for a number of big screen movies like Wayne's World, Hocus Pocus (where she helped the actors "fly") and Rock Star.

In the 2000s she moved over to Disney where she started choreographing animated characters instead, and even directed and wrote a couple of Disney direct-to-video features.

With Luck, a Skydance animation, Holmes is leading an impressive cast on a big budget movie. Her background as a choreographer has come in incredibly handy though, especially in a movie where a character has extraordinarily terrible luck.

"People love a physical comedy right?" She told Newsweek. "And because of my background in dance, myself and the story team came up with all of these amazing ideas.

"I grew up watching Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin," and a lot of their physical comedic influences can be seen in Luck. "Sam (Noblezada) is alone in the world. She doesn't have a sidekick but we needed to show that she's the unluckiest girl in the world, and we had to learn about her in silence. We did it through physical comedy."

Holmes continued: "It was the amazing tireless work of the story team to just try gag after gag after gag until we found the funny ones. And the choreography of it I think comes in the rhythm of the sequence. 'How many times does she you know, jiggle the handle? How does she get from the bed to the bathroom?' 'Oh, she jumps over something and has a little slide,' it's little things like that."

Voice Actors Using Their Body

Holmes had a talented voice cast at her disposal for Luck.

She credits each of them for going above and beyond what they were required to do, especially 84-year-old Jane Fonda.

Fonda voices a dragon, an exuberant CEO of a magical world in Luck. Despite all of the voice actors contributing their voices over Zoom, as it was recorded during the height of the pandemic, but that didn't stop the cast from over-contributing.

"We actually brought her into story meetings and the story artists pitched the sequences of dragon for her so she could see what are the first poses that we're thinking about to this character? How is she moving through the world?

"And you could see Jane start to take on the physical persona of this 40-foot dragon like right there in the meeting."

Holmes continued: "Then Jane had these great ideas. Jane was like, 'Oh my God, look at that tail in that drawing, I should take my tail, and I should wrap it around my body like a boa'. She had these really wonderful ideas that we incorporated into the movie. So that was just super fun."

Director Peggy Holmes (inset) told Newsweek how Jane Fonda went above and beyond for her role in "Luck" on Apple TV+.Gregg DeGuire/Apple TV+ / Getty Images

Pegg's character Bob, a lucky black cat from Scotland, features on much of the promotional material for Luck. He's showcased his Scottish accent before in the Star Trek franchise as Scotty, and he was thrilled to utilize his ability again here.

"There's something very cool about Scotland, and I'm not just saying that because it makes my wife happy if she reads this interview," Pegg told Newsweek.

"Scottish is very lyrical, the same as Irish. There's some sort of intricate cadence and lyricism, and the Scottish are incredibly good at laughing at themselves. Nobody finds the Scottish more funny than the Scottish, it's an incredibly endearing trait they have."

When faced with so many voice actors to work with, Holmes credits Pegg with needing the least amount of notes, thanks to his previous work in animation within the Ice Age franchise.

As for the others, Holmes revealed what one note she used for the rest of the cast time and time again.

Simon Pegg posing next to his animated character Bob the black cat, from his upcoming animated movie "Luck" coming to Apple TV+ on August 5, 2022.Apple TV+

"Overall the actors have to take all the energy they'd normally put into their body and in their facial expressions on camera, and they have to put all of that into just their vocal performance. So I think I would give a polite reminder to give a little more energy. 'We need more energy.'

"Simon understood right out of the gate where the energy had to be but sometimes I just needed more but while keeping their heads still at the microphone.

"I'd never even met Peggy Holmes," Pegg admitted, due to the pandemic. "I did all my voice recordings from the studio in the roof of my house. I'd give her like five or six readings of each line, and then Peggy would choose her favorite one and then put that into a jigsaw puzzle of the audio track, with Eva and Jane's dialogue."

Pegg's Career Luck

While Luck is a movie centered around the whole concept of, you guessed it, luck, Pegg believes the notion of luck isn't something that is totally out of our control.

He says he's had moments of luck "preppered throughout my entire career."

"After leaving university I worked as a stand-up comedian for a few years just to have some sort of autonomy over my career, so I wasn't waiting for people to call," he said.

Pegg continued: "The writers of Father Ted [a UK sitcom] came along to a show of mine in Chiswick, London, and invited me to be in the pilot of a sketch show called Big Train [a sketch show] in 1998.

"I hesitate to single out a moment of bad luck because even bad stuff that happened led me to this moment."

Bringing it back around to Luck, "that's the thing about in the movie, the whole idea of if you do get bad luck, you pivot, and you try and turn whatever crisis you have into an opportunity, and then you try and make the most of that opportunity. So I would struggle to think of a moment of bad luck because inevitably, whatever it was led to something good."

Luck is available to watch on Apple TV+ now and is also available to watch in select theaters.