‘The Willoughbys’: Who Plays the Nanny?

The Willoughbys, Netflix’s new animated film, follows four siblings who send their selfish parents on a vacation in hopes to find a new, more caring family. The kids are led by their boisterous new caregiver, The Nanny, who is played by actress and comedian, Maya Rudolph

Willoughbys - Nanny
The Willoughbys – Nanny | Netflix

Who is Maya Rudolph and what else has she been in?

Rudolph is an actress and comedian who has been in a number of popular projects over the years. However, she’s most known for her work on Saturday Night Live, where she was a part of the main cast for eight seasons. She still makes cameos on SNL and recently portrayed Senator Kamala Harris in a series of 2020 political sketches.

The actress also appeared in a number of comedy films, including 50 First Dates, Shrek the Third, and Grown Ups. In 2011, she played Lillian Donavan opposite her SNL co-star Kristin Wiig in Paul Feig’s hit comedy, Bridesmaids. Rudolph’s hilarious performance earned her an MTV Movie Award for Best Jaw-Dropping Moment in 2012.

The actress’s TV resume includes recurring roles on shows like Up All Night, The Awesomes, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Maya and Marty, and Big Hero 6: The Series. On the NBC hit sitcom, The Good Place, Rudolph played the all-knowing, burrito-eating judge, Gen. The role earned her two Primetime Emmy nominations. 

In 2018, the actress starred in the Amazon Prime Video series, Forever, opposite her SNL co-star, Fred Armisen.

How Rudolph added her own flair to her character in ‘The Willoughbys’

When talking to Variety, The Willoughbys director Kris Pearn said that he made the film after reading Lois Lowry’s children’s book of the same name. He said he was intrigued by the book’s “idea of subverting children’s literature on its head,” and was inspired to turn in into a “Grey Gardens meets Arrested Development for kids.”

He said that the Nanny character was initially conceived more broadly, just to add comic relief. But after Rudolph brought her own “calming aspect” to the role, Pearn said he “pivoted the character to being the empathetic core of the film instead.”

What is ‘The Willoughbys’ about and who else is in the film?

The Willoughbys is based on Lowry’s children’s book of the same name. It the story of siblings Tim, Jane, and twins Barnaby Willoughby, who are fed up by their parents’ neglectful behavior. So, to get rid of them, the children send their parents on an impromptu vacation to a far-away land. 

While their parents are away, the siblings hope to restart their life in a new place with a new family. However, through a series of adventures with their new nanny, they learn that the only thing they really need is each other. 

The Netflix film stars Will Forte as the eldest Willoughby sibling, Tim. Singer and songwriter Alessia Cara makes her acting debut as the sister Jane. Sean Cullen plays the two younger twins named Barnaby, while Martin Short and Jane Krakowski voice Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews voices the candy factory owner, Commander Melanoff. And comedian Ricky Gervais narrates the film as the Cat.

The Willoughbys premieres on Wednesday, April 22 on Netflix.