Alyson Hannigan on her feel-good family comedy 'Flora & Ulysses' on Disney Plus

Alyson Hannigan as Phyllis Buckman
Alyson Hannigan as romance writer Phyllis Buckman (Image credit: Disney)

Alyson Hannigan has had her work cut out playing some majorly iconic roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, How I Met Your Mother and American Pie. But the 46-year-old star is taking it up a notch for her new Disney+ movie Flora & Ulysses, ignoring the old showbiz adage that you should never work with children or animals!  

Based on Kate DiCamillo’s award-winning book, the comedy-adventure follows 10-year-old comic-book fan Flora Buckman (Matilda Lawler), whose newfound furry friend — a plucky squirrel called Ulysses — suddenly develops superpowers after a nasty accident with a vacuum cleaner. 

Alyson plays Flora’s romance-novelist mother, Phyllis. Here, she tells us more...

Alyson Hannigan on her character, Phyllis Buckman

"Phyllis is not the perfect mum because that’s impossible to attain; she's flawed, but well-meaning," Alyson explains. "She’s a romance novelist, and as she’s navigating being separated from Flora’s father George (Parks and Recreation’s Ben Schwartz), she becomes distracted by all the stresses in life, like having to pay bills. But when Ulysses comes into her life and shakes it up, he puts things into perspective and gives her the awakening she needs."

Alyson Hannigan and Matilda Lawler star

Alyson Hannigan and Matilda Lawler as Phyllis and Flora Buckman (Image credit: Disney)

Alyson Hannigan on why she couldn’t wait to say yes to the movie

"My daughters [Satyana, 11, and Keeva, eight] have been fans of author Kate DiCamillo since kindergarten, so when I got the call about this movie, I almost said yes before reading the script," Alyson smiles. "My kids were thrilled because apart from my voice role in Fancy Nancy [a children’s animated series available on Disney+], which they also knew of because of the books, I always have to explain what I’m doing and they’re not that interested, ha!"

Matilda Lawler as Flora with Ulysses the squirrel.

(Image credit: Disney)

Alyson Hannigan on her scenes with Ulysses the squirrel

"I was hoping I’d get to work with a real squirrel, but quickly realised that would be really difficult! We used a foam squirrel, as well as a pole with an ‘X’ taped on it so we knew where to look," Alyson explains. "My biggest concern was whether the squirrel would look realistic after they did all the technical stuff. However, my youngest daughter was like, 'How did you get a squirrel to do that?' Which was great."

Alyson Hannigan on why Flora & Ulysses is much-needed uplifting viewing

"When my husband [Buffy star Alexis Denisof] and I watched it with our daughters, we said, 'This is exactly what people need right now', and not because I’m in it!" Alyson laughs. "The movie’s message is really about no matter how hard things are, if you can find hope, it will get you through."

When can I watch Flora & Ulysses?

Flora & Ulysses is available on Disney+ from Friday February 19.

Senior Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week, What's On TV and

Rebecca has more than 20 years' experience in journalism and is now writing about all things telly-related for TV Times, TV&Satellite Week, What’s On TV and

She’s interviewed all sorts of big-name stars, including Al Pacino, Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy, Winona Ryder, Benedict Cumberbatch and more. She’s also been known to step in front of the camera, dressing up as a 1920s flapper to star in ITV’s Mr Selfridge and co-hosting ITV News at Ten with Mark Austin – all in the line of duty! 

When she’s not quizzing actors, directors and producers, you’ll find her bingeing US dramas and anything horror/sci-fi/zombie-themed. But her greatest love will always be Game of Thrones… just don’t mention the ending!