Veggie Tales is coming out with a new DVD on October 14. Along with its regular cast, it features the vocal and acting talents of Kellie Pickler.
While I can’t say I particularly enjoy eating veggies, I sure loved speaking last week to Veggie Tales co-creator and producer, Mike Nawrocki, about working with Nashville’s sweetest star.
Pickler stars as Mirabelle, a southern Sweet Potato. Nawrocki, the voice of Larry, gushes that she was absolutely as sweet as her vegetable namesake.
Note: Before we get started, let me get a few things clear.
1. Nawrocki did not talk to me in his high pitched pickle voice. He is indeed a 48 year old man who is as witty and talkative as the pickle himself.
2. “Larry is not a pickle, he’s a cucumber,” Nawrocki reminded me. Note taken. With that that in mind, here are a few questions I had for him.
Was there anything cu-cumbersome about this new movie?
(Laughs) “Working with Pickler was delightful,” Nawrocki commented. “She had never done something like this before and yet were blown away not just by her singing – we already knew she had a great voice – but her acting. She was so professional, chipper and all-around pure professionalism.
Were you, as a famous pickle, at all insecure about working with the famous Pickle?
“Larry is not a pickle. He is a vegetable.” (Oh, right, we covered that.)
Why was Pickler chosen to star in this role?
“Larry plays a dad of traveling vegetable singers. Mirabelle carries most of the songs so we needed someone with a great singing voice.” Over and over, Nawrocki talks about how Pickler absolutely nailed it. “She brought so much southern twang and charm to the role. She didn’t just read a part. She added so much to it based on her personality and skills.”
How is this DVD different from others?
“Larry really takes a back seat in this film,” Nawrocki admits. “He gets to sing a silly song about the the invention of mac and cheese, but it’s really the sweet potato’s chance to shine – hence Pickler’s incredible talent.”
Did anything surprise you about Pickler?
“Yeah. As I mentioned before, I hadn’t heard her act. I didn’t know her as a character actor and so I had no idea what she’d do with her part? I was so blown away at what a charming voice she has. She has a natural squeak! She is so believable.”
Why is this episode so important to the Veggie Tales family and families at large?
With every episode it features a key. In this one it’s First John 4:11 Since God first loved us, we should love each other.” We can show love to others no matter what.
As a co-creator, how do you feel Veggie Tales is the same and how has it changed over the years?
“The values have remained the same – that God made us special.” He goes on to add that the biggest change is shorter stories, along with computer animation.
Tell us a bit about this film’s story
We ‘ve been wanting to tell a version of this for a long time. It’s a classic fairy tale with a fun veggie twist. It features lots of great music with 8 songs, so it’s just a wonderful musical adventure.
Larry is almost 21 years old. How does he remain so fresh?
On that sour note, our interview was concluded.
(Don’t judge the legume jokes, folks.)
While geared for kids, there is an awful lot about relationships in these DVDs: Be kind. Be forgiving. And remember to love as God loved you.
Purchase “Beauty and the Beet” for yourself