This Little Piggy Went to Hollywood: My Interview with Piglet
Brian: Your new movie The Burning Bridge is a real stretch from your Winnie the Pooh days.
Piglet: Well, I thought it was very important for me to sort of get away from that whole "woodland creature" thing. I mean, I'm grateful for it, but I just don't want to play that [character] all my life.
B: In the film you play a man who is desperate to feel anything.
P: Yeah. Stanley is a guy who is in his 60s and really just not understanding why he's still hanging around anymore. Sex doesn't do it for him anymore. Drugs, alcohol... nothing.
B: In the 2018 post-modern world, that seems to be a very relatable problem.
P: Exactly. I really loved it for that reason. Everything is at our fingertips now. Amazon and iTunes and internet porn and whatever. Netflix. It makes it harder for anything to feel worth anything because we no longer have to strive for anything. Well, that's a very privileged thing to say, of course. In the modern upper- and middle-class of America, it's a bit of a post-scarcity thing. But, Stanley is able to have anything. The best drugs, the best drink, the best women. But, with being able to have anything, it makes everything feel like nothing.
B: So, that message and being able to relate with the character was why you chose to take the role?
P: I had a lot of scripts. Most of them were just me being a cute, little sidekick and whatever. I took this role because of what it was saying, but also to show people, hey, I'm an actor.
B: You do a lot of nude scenes in this film. How was that?
P: I have no problem with nudity. I was raised on a farm where we were always nude. But also, when I do a nude scene, it's— it's the character's body. I'm just inside of it. As pretentious as that sounds.
B: Some people aren't ready for a grown up Piglet.
P: Trust me, I'm aware of that. My hope for this movie is that people will forget all about Piglet within the first few minutes and start thinking of me as Stanley.
B: You recently sold a script to Hulu.
P: Yeah. I'm, excited about that.
B: How long had you been working on it?
P: Off and on for a few years. I actually started out as a writer. I always thought that’s what I would be. I was this small piglet with a speech impediment, I mean, Hollywood wasn’t going to be beating down my door to star in their latest pictures. So I would just write. I loved it. Even when I hate it. When nothing is coming and it feels like torture trying to find the right way to say exactly what you want to say. It’s all wonderful.
B: The press release says that it’s a science fiction show.
P: It— I can't give too many details about it, even though I'm dying to. But, it's exciting.
B: It's science fiction?
P: There's a science fiction edge to it, yes, but it's very much grounded in our reality. I wish I could say more.
B: Will you be starring in it?
P: I will have some role in it, hopefully. The lead character is a young girl, so I won't be that, obviously, but I am planning to be in it.
B: Do you still talk to anyone from Winnie?
P: Oh yeah. Eeyore was just over for dinner with his wife and daughter last week. I talk to Owl now and then. Tigger lives in France now, so I don't get a chance to see him all that much.
B: Christopher Robin?
P: I haven't seen Chris since Rabbit's funeral. But, Chris and I were never very close outside of work.
P: I saw Kanga in Vegas last year. She does a show with Roo. She's great. We all loved Kanga. She was always the peace-keeper of the group. Just a gentle, beautiful soul.
B: What about the ongoing court battle with Winnie over copyright royalties?
P: Well, this has been dragged through the media so much now it's silly. I took my kids to Disney World, and I saw all this merchandise with my face on it that I'm not getting a dime for. Winnie holds all the rights, and I just think it's only fair that I get some money for use of my face and likeness. The reason it's popular is because of my hard work.
B: Do you have any part in the new Christopher Robin movie coming out this year?
P: No. Nothing. From what I know, it’s a “re-imagining.” I mean, I’m not an idiot. I know that they will almost certainly get someone to mimic my voice and stammering. That’s all stuff I brought to the character, but Disney owns it. So, that’s that. I actually hope it’s a great movie. I love the trailer for it. It seems to hit the right notes. I mean, Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Mark Gatiss, Peter Capaldi. If the movie fails it will not be due to the lack of talent onscreen. And the guy who wrote it also wrote two films I loved recently, Queen Of Earth with Elisabeth Moss and Listen Up Phillip with Jason Schwartzman and Krysten Ritter. Jessica Jones herself! Alex Ross Perry. He's a great writer. I will definitely take my kids to it.
B: In 2016 you campaigned for Jill Stein.
B: Have you always been political?
P: Oh yes. I mean, I came up in the '60s. Blustery Day came out in '68. It was made during the Summer of Love. All of us were part of the hippie movement. Haight-Ashbury and all. We really thought we would change the world.
B: Why Stein over Bernie?
P: Stein really got me with the anti-war and environmentalist stuff. Bernie didn't seem to care much about the environment. Don't get me wrong, Bernie is someone I deeply respect. But, Stein had more policies I lined up with.
B: What advice do you have to aspiring actors?
P: Remember it is a business. It's "show business." It's not show "friends" or show "family." There are more downs than ups. When the ups do happen, always keep in mind, that you can only stay there for so long. I've lost a lot of people. Friends, associates, family. I've lost a lot of people to this business. Just do the work and don't get lured into the bullshit and the trappings. Bill Murray I think said something like, "When you get famous you have about two years to be an asshole, but then you have to get your shit together." Fame is crazy and there's no guidebook on how to handle people staring at you all the time in restaurants or, like, always having to make sure that you watch what you say because now your words carry weight. You can't just mouth off. People look to you and expect you to sort of have answers or wisdom. It's weird when you are just the same idiot you were before a movie you were in was a hit or whatever. But, that's what it is. It is what it is. You just have to figure out who you are and what you can do to make yourself happy.
B: Are you happy?
P: (pauses) Right now, I would say that I am better than I have ever been. Take that as you will.
The Burning Bridge opens in select cities August 24.