'Mr. Peabody & Sherman' Celebrates the Nontraditional Family at L.A. Premiere

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Cast of "Mr. Peabody & Sherman"

Allison Janney says the father-son relationship between the classic dog and his adopted son shows that "families come in all shapes and sizes and that the most important thing is love."

Stars of the DreamWorks film Mr. Peabody & Sherman proved that history can be fun, too, on Wednesday night at the film’s Los Angeles premiere at the Regency Village Theater in Westwood.

The animated feature follows genius dog Mr. Peabody and his adopted son, Sherman (voiced by Max Charles), as they travel through important moments in history to fix a time rift in the universe. Using the infamous WABAC machine, the duo pays a visit to such greats as Leonardo da Vinci while he’s painting the Mona Lisa, aas well as fighting in the Trojan War of ancient Greece.

Before the arrival of film stars Leslie Mann, Lake Bell and DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, many dogs barked their way down the red carpet in support of Mr. Peabody. Mom’s Allison Janney, a huge dog lover herself, said that her character, Ms. Grunion, can be compared to people who like to have a say in who should or shouldn’t adopt children.

“I think nowadays the family boundaries have pushed way out and it doesn’t have to be the conventional idea of family," Janney told The Hollywood Reporter. "The idea is that families come in all shapes and sizes and that the most important thing is love. That’s the bottom line, and that’s what I love about this movie and what it says."

Modern Family’s Ty Burrell, who voices Mr. Peabody’s intellectual phrases and witty puns, said he never thought he had a good cartoon voice.

“I always thought my voice was vaguely ‘Frankensteiny,’ " said Burrell. “Actually, weirdly enough, my deep voice, which I’ve had since I was like 12 — imagine trying to, like, flirt with a girl at 12 with this voice — it actually ended up being a benefit for this.”

Burrell’s Modern Family co-star Ariel Winter enjoyed getting sassy for her role as the smart-mouthed Penny Peterson, but said that what’s most important about her character roles is that they’re a positive influence for young girls.

“I love that Penny is sassy, but I also love that all of the characters I’m playing right now are sending out a wonderful message to young girls that education is important, and you can be cool and be smart as well," Winter told THR. “I think that's really important, and I love that about Penny that it really matters.”

Kids don’t know about how Mr. Peabody and Sherman used to make history fun back in the late 1950s and early 1960s on Rocky and His Friends and The Bullwinkle Show, but director Rob Minkoff (The Lion King, Stuart Little), who grew up with the characters, expressed that the family-friendly storyline is timeless.

“When you talk to kids about it today and they don’t know the original show, the minute they hear that the dog adopts a boy they’re just like ‘Whoa, that’s so cool," said Minkoff.

The film also has an added educational bonus. Minkoff said history was his favorite subject, and there's no better way to learn about it than to bring it to life.

"I always thought of history of being alive something about real people who were doing things that meant something, and it wasn’t just data and facts in a book and dates. All that stuff can be boring unless you bring it to life and make it actually exciting."

With Mr. Peabody making a comeback, maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman opens in theaters March 7.