The big red animated phenomenon, Clifford, is barking his way into theaters with Darby Camp as the live-action version of his trusty sidekick and owner, Emily Elizabeth. The actress, 14, speaks with J-14 exclusively ahead of the Clifford the Big Red Dog movie premiere and teases what fans can expect from her character.
“I’m more red than blonde,” Darby says, comparing herself to the animated Emily Elizabeth. “But I also face more advanced problems that older kids may relate to, like feeling alone and bullied and facing the loss of Clifford for his own good. I think I also get to show Emily Elizabeth’s funny side with Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) and a more daring, adventurous side with my pal Owen (Izaac Wang). My Emily Elizabeth will probably be more relatable to most modern-day kids.”
The movie, which takes place in New York City, follows the middle schooler as she obtains a magical red puppy. Overnight, he turns into a giant 10-foot dog, who doesn’t fit in the Big Apple. According to Darby, filming in NYC was “crazy.”
“It was hard not to get too overwhelmed when crowds gathered to watch us filming,” she explains. “I’m used to being on a more private set where no one cares if you mess up, but there were a few days where it felt like a live audience watching, which was totally new for me.”
The Big Little Lies alum adds that it wasn’t “challenging” to film scenes with Clifford, even though he wasn’t actually there.
“We had two super talented puppeteers who used these two huge pieces of puppetry that resembled a dog, and they studied really hard to embody a 10-foot dog as a pair and they made it so believable,” Darby shares. “They were really fun and entertaining between takes too, so it was easy to feel at home with them.
Getting a chance to play the iconic character was an “honor” for Darby because she was a huge Clifford fan growing up. Not to mention, Emily Elizabeth “is such a familiar character to almost all generations worldwide!” That being said, the talented teen is totally down to reprise her role if a Clifford the Big Red Dog sequel came along.
“I say Emily Elizabeth and Clifford should travel the world!” she shares. “Who wouldn’t want to have adventures with a big red dog all day every day?”
Clifford the Big Red Dog premieres in theaters and via Paramount+ on Wednesday, November 10.
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