What's your favourite vacation spot and why?
It's impossible to pick a favourite. My daughter and I have done some amazing trips. I really only get the month of June, a few weeks in June to vacation every year, so we always try to do something exotic, something adventurous, something relaxing, something educational and we've been fortunate enough to do some amazing things.
It's really hard to pick my favourite. We've been to Iceland, and I say if you do that, you get off the plane and go straight to the Blue Lagoon; totally worth doing. Barcelona's an unbelievable city. Portugal is amazing. We went to a cooking school on the Amalfi Coast in Italy; that was beautiful.
We've been to Africa twice, so that might be up there for me. One time was all about safaris and the other was about helping orphans in Kenya. Both were really amazing. But, this is my first time here in Sydney and I have always heard it was such a beautiful city.
We landed at 6.30 in the morning, came to the hotel, had a quick breakfast and we did the BridgeClimb. And it was a gorgeous day, and you're up there, and think this may be the prettiest city I've ever been to. And because I grew up in San Francisco I think there is something that inherently feels home to me so I feel very comfortable in the 24 hours I've been here.
I didn't answer your question at all but clearly I like travelling. I think there's a great gift in travelling … for adults but especially for children. It really broadens your mind to different experiences, different cultures, different ways of thinking and I think there is probably no better thing you can do than travel. It takes you out of your little mind frame and our stupid little day-to-day problems.
What's your number-one travel tip?
Pack light, even though I'm not very good at it.
What do you never leave home without?
The things like camera come to mind, but then sometimes you can't take pictures like on the bridge. Um, pyjamas come to mind, I like comfy things.
What's your ultimate travel destination?
Well, like I said I've been a lot of places. I still have South America on my list. Chile is a place I really want to go. But any place that's going to offer me a little bit of fear confrontation and adventure and also some relaxation at the same time and nature. Love water, love scuba diving, love animals.
You said you've been to Sydney for the first time. Have you ever travelled around Australia?
No, this is our first time, so I'm incorporating this trip with the Sydney Film Festival and the movie Coraline
, and then we're going to do some travelling around the country and also to New Zealand. I haven't really been to this part of the world, at all.
What was the best thing about making this movie, Coraline , for you?
I think working with Henry Selick and on this material by Neil Gaiman. The result of being a part of what I think is just a masterpiece of art and a timeless family story. Having to do the challenge of playing three roles, with three … distinct vocal characters and to really just genuinely love the movie. I guess it was just a win win on all fronts for me.
What was it like for you playing the three different characters?
When you get involved with an animated movie I think you normally picture some cute bear, squirrel, monkey character and you're going to do this cartoony sort of voice. And Henry really wanted, in this film, for the voices to be grounded and in a way kind of disappear seamlessly into this magical, magical visual presentation.
So, it was like an acting role where you would be on camera, where I really had to find who is an exhausted mother, who is a mother who is willing to be so perfect so she can get everything she wants. And then who is an enraged person who has been deeply rejected. And then just grounding myself in those [characters] and that's kind of where the voice came out of.
What was it like working with Dakota Fanning?
We didn't actually get to work together. We have known each other, or met, crossed paths. We're both a part of the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation which helps seriously-ill children and we have the same vocal coach actually; funny enough, so we've crossed paths. I've always been a fan of hers; tremendous actress. But we didn't meet until the red carpet of the premiere. So we didn't actually work together, but its kind of a testament to Henry Selick that I think it looks like we actually stood next to one another and recorded the movie because it seems like we're mother and daughter.