With its timeless adventure story and big themes, Mosley attracted some truly terrific voice talent to its cast. We're talking acting heavyweights Lucy Lawless, Temuera Morrison and acting legend John Rhys-Davies. Headlining this formidable cast is the effervescent actor, comedian and author Rhys Darby, who plays Mosley's travelling companion, Deaver.
How did you get involved with Mosley?
Kirby [Atkins], the creator of Mosley, contacted me through my agent. I looked at the script and got excited. For one, I got to come back to New Zealand and be involved in a New Zealand animated feature, which the last time that was done, I think, was Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale. A brilliant film. Very close to my heart. I remember being a kid at the time and seeing it and being full of joy at seeing our own stuff on the screen. That resonated with me.
How did you feel coming into a project that you knew was Kirby's passion project that he'd been working on for more than two decades?
I was chuffed he wanted me to be part of it. Obviously, he wanted Lucy and I and John Rhys-Davies and Tem, these heavy-hitting names, to lead this story though. You could tell that this had been in his mind for years.
Straight away you could feel the heart of where this thing could go. There was a connection that was very real and you could feel that, and you can feel that in the movie right off the bat; that heart and that pathos is there. You can tell that it's been a process that's gone on for a long time. It's a unique story and world. It really reminds me of a classic Disney movie, which fills me with joy. Pressure-wise we didn't want to screw it up for him.
I agree, it does have that classic feel to it.
Yeah, it didn't have the multi-layer, fart-joke system of modern animated films. That classic feel did appeal to me. It feels wholesome. There are a few kids' movies these days that heavily rely on those cheap gags. They'll get you through and there'll be some good comedy happening but, overall, when you leave at the end they're forgettable. They just bang these things out. Having kids I've seen a fair amount. I feel like that heart of movie-making, which Disney did so well back in the day and I believe still does, is that you make something that sticks with you. Mosley has that through the longevity of how long it's taken for the story to come to life.
Have you shown it to your kids?
Yeah, we watched it a few weeks ago with both my boys and they really enjoyed it. I think because it is slightly different from those fast-paced gag ones. At the end, I was tearing up and I don't usually do that. I don't know why. I think because it's a journey and you really want this family to get out. It's super cool.
It gets tense in some places but it's good for kids to be a bit scared isn't it?
Yeah, I think so. The scares only come through the slight danger element. I love the darkness of Tem's character, Warfield the hunter. He's a frightening guy because he never gives up. He's got all that gear. He's a bit like The Terminator, one of those situations where you can never kill the guy and he's still coming after you. There's a little bit of that element. I hope no kids get nightmares from that guy.