Why Emily Mortimer Is About to Be Your Kids' Favorite Actress

You’ve been admiring Emily Mortimer for some time, and now she’s got your kids revving their engines, too.

The actress’ lilting British accent stars as Holly Shiftwell, the skillful secret agent who mistakes small town tow truck Mater for a master spy, in Pixar's “Cars 2,” which hits DVD and Blu-ray today. Aftee that, the actress reunites with her “Shutter Island” director Martin Scorsese for the family-friendly 3D extravaganza “Hugo” November 23rd. She tells PopcornBiz those parts have been great for scoring brownie points with her eight-year-old son Sam (Moritmer and husband Alessandro Nivola are also parents to daughter May Rose, neary two), but she’s also got some more grownup work ahead, thanks to word-meister Aaron Sorkin.

On adding her voice to the Pixar chorus:

“It's just so gratifying. Kids are such an amazing audience, and there's nothing more gratifying and pleasurable as a performer than feeling that you've held their attention and that something you've been a part of has grabbed their imagination or inspired them in some ways. And I've really felt that with this film. It's such a great revelation being in something that is entertaining for young audiences – It's an amazing feeling, as an actor. And I'm really excited about the prospect of having it again because I'm in this other big family movie called 'Hugo,' which Martin Scorsese made, which is coming out towards the end of the year. And I now know what it feels like to have captured this younger audience and to feel part of something that they've really taken to their hearts. It's wonderful.”

On kids’ reactions when they realize she’s Holly Shiftwell:

“It's funny: I've found a lot of friends of mine have gone along to the movies with their kids and didn't realize that I had done the voice. And it's their KIDS that tell them. That's happened two or three times where they said, 'Hey Mom, that's Emily. Isn't that Emily?' And they're like, 'No, no. Don't be ridiculous.' And then, of course, they realize that it is. And I think that that's been more the way around, where the kids have known absolutely from the second that they've heard me speak exactly who it is, and seem much more tuned in to what's going on than their out of it] parents! Maybe that's just a bad reflection on most of my friends who are sort of half-asleep most of the time.”

On being the mom with the coolest jobs EVER:

“I've got so many incredible memories and photographs of Sam at Pixar: there's one incredible photo of him just standing looking up at the storyboard for 'Toy Story 3.' I made him dress up all fancy because we went to some cocktail party at Pixar. And he's standing there, this tiny little figure, with this fancy jacket on looking up at this big storyboard of one of his favorite movies – and it's just very sweet. It sort of says it all. He's just totally captivated by all of it, and he's adorably sort of proud and felt like he was part of the whole thing. He was one of the first kids to ever even see a cut of ‘Cars 2’, because me and Larry the Cable Guy had to go and watch the very, very early version of it before we did some press for Pixar. Sam was with me, so he got to see a real, real sneak preview, and he was totally delighted. I think that 'Cars 2' just hit at exactly the right moment, because he was old enough to really appreciate it as it all was, and not too old to be sort of jaded and kind of too cool about the whole thing.”

On reteaming with Scorsese for "Hugo":

“Oh it was just incredible. I've worked with Martin Scorsese twice now, and both times have been experiences I will treasure forever. Again, I made sure Sam was a part of that business and filming experience, too, because I could just tell there was just something about the whole project that to me felt like it could go down in history in some way. That here was Martin Scorsese –one of the great cinema and moviemakers of all time, if not THE greatest – making a film in 3-D using the latest absolutely up to date technology. And making a film about the history of movies, the very first movies that were special effect movies that were made at the turn of the 20th century, and recreating it on film but using this incredibly innovative technique. It just felt important for me, and I made sure Sam came and stood on that set which was incredibly impressive. It was absolutely thrilling and I can't wait to see it. And he went into the little tent one day and Marty showed him some of the footage and gave him his 3-D glasses to wear. And he's still got them, these little plastic 3-D glasses that Marty gave him. It was just so cool.”

On being part of the ensemble of Sorkin’s new HBO series “More As This Story Develops,” set in the world of broadcast news:

“I'm just about to start shooting the series. It starts at the end of November, just after Thanksgiving, and I'm going to see i[the pilot] for the first time tomorrow - and I'm very excited! But it went really well and everybody in it is brilliant. I mean, incredible actors, and obviously it goes without saying the most amazing script I think I've ever had the pleasure of getting to perform.”


"Cars 2" is out on DVD and Blu-ray November 1st. "Hugo" opens everywhere in 3D November 23rd.

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