Luck is Apple TV’s Latest Animated Offering

Simon Pegg talks about his new cartoon flick, which uses a quirky black cat to teach a lesson about making your own luck

Simon Pegg talks about his new cartoon flick, which uses a quirky black cat to teach a lesson about making your own luck 

Sam Greenfield is the unluckiest girl in the world. She has aged out of the foster care system, without ever managing to find her forever family. She’s landed a good, rent-paying job but fate is determined to mess that up for her. The girl can’t even make toast without burning it to a crisp. Enter a lucky black cat—yes, you heard that right—and Sam’s life is about to change. LuckApple TV+

Voicing Bob the Black Cat is Mission: Impossible and Shaun of the Dead star Simon Pegg. “Black cats are different all around the world in terms of how they’re viewed with regards to luck,” explains the English funnyman. “Black cats in England are seen as unlucky, but black cats in Scotland are seen as lucky and Bob is from Scotland.” When Bob bumps into Sam (voiced by Tony-nominated Broadway actress Eva Noblezada), he inevitably, through a series of mishaps, gets her transported to the Land of Luck, where all the bad luck and the good luck is generated. “They form this uneasy alliance to get her back to the real world,” says Pegg, whose character learns a lesson about friendship in the process. “Bob is not a social animal. He likes to keep himself to himself. But through his interactions with Sam, he starts to realize that maybe that attitude is not entirely conducive to his happiness.” LuckApple TV+

When Pegg was first approached for the project, he was drawn to the juxtapositions within the Land of Luck. “It was just bonkers. I couldn’t help but marvel at the sheer craziness of it,” he explains. “I loved this incredibly magical, beautifully realized world that was essentially governed by the same mundane rules as working in an office. But also, the message of it is so lovely. I think that’s a really important, quite grown-up truth: It isn’t luck that saves us. It’s love and kindness.” 

Creating the curmudgeonly black cat was a familiar process for the actor whose experience with animation includes the Ice Age franchise and The Boxtrolls. “Always with animation, you are shown the character you’re going to play before you start to do the voice,” says Pegg. “With Bob, I saw an animatic of him and then spoke [with director Peggy Holmes] about who he was and what his attitude was. From that jumping off point, you start to just riff and see what happens.” That Bob was Scottish was a given from the start. “The key to Bob is this regional distinction between good luck and bad luck. He, on the outside, appears to be this very outspoken, Scottish black cat. And as the film progresses, you learn that there’s a little more to him than meets the eye.” 

LuckApple TV+The adage that animation is a job you can do in your pajamas may be true, but according to Pegg it’s still hard work. “It’s not as easy as just standing behind the mic and talking. You put a lot of energy into it because you channel every facet of your performance through your voice,” he says. “By the end of each session, which is usually about four hours, you’re always completely exhausted. And it’s quite satisfying to do. Sometimes the idea of doing it… it feels like, ‘Oh man, this is going to be hard work,’ but as soon as I get in there, and I start, then I remember how much I love and enjoy it.” 

As the film was shot in the pandemic, Pegg literally was able to do the work in his pajamas. “The studio would come to me. They’d set up in my house. Then I would swan over in my robe, which was lovely,” he says. What it also meant was that despite appearing alongside bold-faced names like Jane Fonda and Whoopi Goldberg, Pegg never got to act opposite any of them. “It always happens with animation. You make the film in a little bubble and you don’t usually meet your castmates, sometimes ever. I never met anyone else in Ice Age.”  

LuckApple TV+Pegg has since gotten to meet some of his co-stars face to face. In some cases, he felt like he already knew them. “With Eva, I saw a little bit of her doing stuff, so I got an idea of who she was and how she was going to play Sam. And, eventually when I met Eva, we got on so well, it felt like we were already friends. I think that was partly because of this odd connection we’d made playing Bob and Sam.” 

As with most animated films, Luck also comes with a lesson. It just so happens to be one that Pegg has already internalized. “I don’t believe there’s anything other than me determining my destiny. In terms of luck, you have to make your own,” he says. “We make our luck by being kind, loving and tolerant—all important things that we need to reconnect with right now.” 

Luck premieres Friday, August 5th on Apple TV+