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‘A Lot Of Parenting Is Done By Googling’: Slumberland’s Chris O’Dowd Relates To His Character In This Way
PHOTO BY NETFLIX
  • Does looking up information or “how to’s” in parenting ever end at a certain point? One would think that a child’s milestone birthday celebration–perhaps the seven-year-old birthday celebration–might be when parents feel confident enough in parenting and doing away with looking up every question in a search engine.

    But as it turns out even when your child is no longer in his first year of life, the search habit doesn’t quite stop. The search terms just change.

    Just ask Chris O’Dowd, Slumberland’s father figure who giggled at a very relatable scene from the movie. His character, Philip, is an accidental father to Nemo after a series of events and finds himself looking up what to do with a child on the Internet.

    Chris O'Dowd plays an accidental father figure to Marlow Barkley's Nemo (far right).
    PHOTO BY NETFLIX

    “I felt his pain as a parent who Googles different parenting things on a daily basis,” he told Smart Parenting in an exclusive roundtable interview. As fate would have it Chris had to brush up on some of his daddy-doctor skills because his kids had the flu on the week of the interview which means he was searching the Internet for answers to parenting questions.

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    What were normal temperature ranges and when should you bring your child to the doctor? Ahhh, every paragraph a parent has to read over and over again before absorbing the information.

    “A lot of parenting is done by Googling,” Chris says. “I also read a lot of books going into the parenting thing and you find that more than talking about kids, they talk about society and social issues and all these different things. So I found that through parenting, and I know this sounds cliche, but you find out a lot about yourself, really.

    He adds, “I’m at that stage of parenting where I’m growing frustrated because I can see the flaws I don’t like in myself in my own children. They’re starting to bear up. And I can’t blame them,” Chris says with a laugh.

    That, we definitely can relate to!

    Slumberland is a fun movie to watch with the family and will remind parents to be more adventurous.
    PHOTO BY NETFLIX
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    Chris O’ Down on playing Philip

    Chris’ character is wealthy businessman with zero zest for life, and the actor says it’s something he recognizes as a reality in many adults.

    “I thought it was a character that I see very often in life but not on screen. Middle-aged man who has kind of closed himself off to the world by looking at a screen or a lock [his character’s business is in locks —eds], or a what, a hobby. And has stopped making friends.

    He adds, “And it’s harder when you get older, to make friends. And so there’s no fresh ideas running through his veins. So when I read the script, I recognized that in the character and was drawn to it.

    For parents, many might be able to relate to Philip in more ways than one. The bills, the drudgery of keeping things running, work, school, oh and did we mention the bills? 

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    Our sense of adventure is easily zapped by the never-ending list of responsibilities. And it’s exactly this, the playfulness we’ve lost and are invited to rekindle through our kids that Slumberland speaks to through Chris O’Dowd’s character.

    “I think it’s important to dream, but even more important is to leave yourself open to dreams. That you’re doing things interesting enough during your day that you’ve got something worth dreaming about, says Chris.
    “So you can’t force yourself to dream. But you can force yourself to be open.

    RELATED: Slumberland’s Jason Momoa And Marlow Barkley Say The Movie Can Inspire Kids To Be Brave And Strong

    Chris got to reminisce about his own childhood when he was filming Slumberland which also stars Jason Mom and Marlow Barkley.

    "When I was watching the film, it’s definitely evocative of those adventure movies of the `90s, but it also reminds me of when I was that age and we had treasure maps.

    He adds, “Like we would draw out treasure maps and look to these places and get ourselves into excitement. And that was the point. 

    “And so what we do now as adults is we try to recreate that excitement from within ourselves. And I feel like the film does a good job of that, or revitalizing the excitement that we had as children,” Chris says.

    If you’re looking to rekindle that sense of adventure, watch Netflix’s Slumberland for your next family movie night. Smart Parenting recommended!

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