Holly Hunter loves that Incredibles 2 is unapologetically a story about women and mothers
Sure, Incredibles 2 might open Father’s Day weekend 2018, but guess what? It’s actually a movie about motherhood.
In a beautiful and perfect role reversal, for this second outing with the Parr Family, it’s Helen (aka, Mrs. Incredible and Elastagirl) who sets out to save the world from impending doom. This means that Bob (Mr. Incredible) has to stay at home and watch the kids — and Violet is going through some intense mood swings, Dash is trying to master math, and who knows what TF is going on with Jack-Jack.
But the movie’s about even more than just a woman taking charge of saving the day and the family. The movie’s also deeply about women supporting women, as the *four* main female leads — Helen, Violet, new superhero Voyd, and tech wizard Evelyn — talk about their lives, what they want out of life, and what they are doing to achieve it. Even though director Brad Bird might not think so, Incredibles 2 is one of the most progressively feminist movies of the year.
Ahead of the movie’s release, HelloGiggles sat down with the Incredibles matriarch herself, Holly Hunter, to talk about returning to the role 14 years later — and how she knows to keep quiet in public so little kids don’t recognize her.
HelloGiggles: I was talking to the production team behind Bao, and we were talking about how it was perfect that Bao was paired with Incredibles because they’re both very much stories about mothers.
Holly Hunter: Well, I thought [Bao’s] portrait of adolescence and the growing away from parents is something that is happening in [Incredibles] as well. The rage of Violet and [how] she’s separating from the family unit, and at the same time that’s what’s also so eternally reassuring about this family— another reason why I think people love The Incredibles is because, yes, that happens. The adolescents, they leave, but the family is still rotating. It revolves around one another. It remains. There’s something…there’s a balance there. There’s a stability that they get confidence from one another and then they can face out to the world and deal with the world. It was interesting that that movie would be paired with [Bao] because that movie says something very similar at the end.
HelloGiggles: The movie is very much about women supporting women. I look at Voyd and Elastigirl, and I look at Elastigirl and Violet, and then at the very end Violet and Voyd. There are all these beautiful partnerships. Was that something you were really excited to see in this new movie?
HH: Yes, totally. I think it’s necessary for us to see these things. It’s necessary to see those reflections of who we are in film, in stories, in art and fiction. I don’t think that that’s specifically…I don’t think that’s what Brad was going to express subtly.
HelloGiggles: I don’t think it was either, but it just happened.
HH: It happens because he has the desire to portray people as fully as he can. He wants to describe the revelations of Mrs. Incredible, the revelations of Jack-Jack, [and how] Mr. Incredible thinks that he can’t and doesn’t want to do this job, and then he can and he can prevail, he can succeed. It’s all these revelations of all these different characters [that work]. I think that it’s essential and obviously we need it for women, for people to go, “Oh yeah, women should be paid the same amount as guys. They can do a lot of the same jobs, most of the same jobs as guys.” It’s kind of an imperative that we hear it, because we’re not acting on it. Women are still not getting the same amount of money as men. Minorities still don’t have the same opportunities. There is not inequality. I think it’s evidently we need to see it, and it will be great for boys and girls to see it, just like it was great for people to see that Barack Obama could be elected president. It’s a validation that’s necessary.
HelloGiggles: I wasn’t really crying until the end of the movie, but every time just Elastigirl did something, like the first time she got on her bike, I got chills. It was an immediate reaction. I was like, “Oh my gosh. She’s going off to save the day.”
HH: That is cool. It is also fun because in a way this movie is about adolescence. I kept feeling that while I was watching it, because of Violet, but then you see this young Elastigirl. When she gets on the bike when she says, “I had a mohawk.” It’s like, you go, “Oh yeah.”
HelloGiggles: I would love to see that prequel. You’ve been playing this character for such a long time. It’s 14 years from the first one to this one, but it picks up immediately after the last one ended. Have you changed Elastigirl and Helen over the years? What did you really want to bring to this new portrayal of her?
HH: Well, I think the movie is really an exchange between Brad and each one of us. It’s Brad and Sam Jackson with a microphone in between, and Brad and Craig T., Brad and Sarah Vowell, Brad and me. It’s not like anything else I’ve ever done in my career, not remotely. There is nothing remotely like the relationship that I have with Brad. In a way, the movie resides between us, the character. I relied on his ear and his instincts completely. He guided me.
HelloGiggles: Would you just keep voicing this character forever if Brad kept asking? Is there ever a point where you’d be like, “I’m done” and pack up the super suit and going home?
HH: No. I don’t think so. But like I said, I’m in this situation where I’m part of bringing a movie out and talking to you or you know…it was such a pleasure, an unmitigated pleasure and a relief to get to talk about a movie that I love, to talk about a movie that I feel that I can use the word ‘dazzled’ [for], that I find it kind of dazzling to have seen it. That’s where I learn over the years to be in the moment, because to anticipate the success or failure of anything is like…it is out of my hands. This is the fun part.
HelloGiggles: Over the years, have any kids heard your voice and been like, “Oh,” and come running to you? Do you have any stories about that?
HH: Well, I have said this, but it is true, if I want to remain anonymous in a given situation I don’t speak. It’s because my voice will totally give me away.
HelloGiggles: What do you hope, especially the little kids who go in and see this movie, what do you hope the little girls take away from this?
HH; Well, the little boys, I hope the little boys take away the bona fide power that all of us possess, men, women, boys, girls, this infant is an unknowable creature. This infant has infinite possibilities and in some ways all of these characters are some manifestation of Jack-Jack. Each character is discovering a new thing about he or she is capable of .