Andie MacDowell On 'Barnyard' Role

We're used to seeing animals starring in animated films and we think of Mickey Mouse and Bambi. But cartoon animals rarely party as hard as they do in the new movie "Barnyard: The Original Party Animals."

The premise of "Barnyard" is that animals are smarter than they let on and that a whole lot goes on when our backs are turned. The story centers on a party loving cow named Otis, voiced by "King of Queens" star Kevin James. The ensemble cast includes Courteney Cox and Sam Elliott, who is the father of Otis and the protector of the barnyard.

Andie MacDowell, who plays a mother hen named Etta, stopped by The Early Show to speak with Russ Mitchell about the film, which opens in theaters nationwide Aug. 4.

Asked what made her accept the role of Etta, MacDowell says, "I couldn't really tell from the script, and they sent me a picture of my particular character was just this flat copy over the fax. So I really didn't know how great it was going to be. That was just a pleasant surprise when they sent me the final copy of it and I saw it."

The plot really centers on Ben the cow and his son, Otis.

"And it has a wonderful moral to the story. The great thing is the kids won't realize that that's what's really happening because it's so fun and it's so cool," MacDowell says. "The music is great. But it's about coming of age story, basically. It's about learning to be responsible, caring about other people, not being selfish."

And MacDowell says this is a film that adults will love, too.

"The great thing about 'Barnyard' is that adults are really going to love it. There's some really clever humor in it. I particularly am the woman in it. I don't know. You know the woman who's always constantly spying on everybody," she explains.

"The humor in there is really, really good. I think adults are not going to be bored. I have three kids myself. I've done my share of animated or kids' movies that I've gone to that are not interesting or funny or amusing to me at all. The great thing about 'Barnyard' is adults are going to laugh and have a really good time too," MacDowell adds.

MacDowell is having a terrific career, which first began more than 20 years ago as a model. What's her beauty secret?

"I use L'Oréal," she jokes, since she is a model for the brand.

"Revitalift," she adds. "I've had a really great career. I read an article about myself the other day, and it said I've been doing this for 28 years, and I thought that's impossible. Then I stopped to count and realized it was true. Time flies. It's the truth."

Asked what her favorite movie project has been in her career, MacDowell says, "It's really hard."

"You know, 'Sex, Lies, and Videotape' changed my life because I became much more in demand after that," she says. "The success of that movie really changed my career. I did a movie with Diane Keaton called 'Unstrung Heroes.' I just love Diane Keaton, who is now also working for L'Oréal. That's just a coincidence because I loved her before she started working for them. She did this movie. I think it's very touching, very dear movie. It's a little more obscure. A lot of times I tell people that's my favorite."
What projects are on her horizon?

"I just finished something that's all improv called 'Intervention.' Jennifer Tilly is in it. She's really amazing," MacDowell says. "For me, as an actress, it was a growth period thing for me. It is all improv, no script. That's coming out next."
  • Daniel Schorn

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