Disney+ new family film 'Flora & Ulysses' features breakout star from NJ

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- If you're looking for a family film that's funny, inspiring and full of hope, Disney+ just debuted its latest superhero comedy "Flora and Ulysses."

I had a chance to chat with the cast about the film and its unexpected hero, a squirrel named Ulysses.

The film is based on the children's novel of the same name and stars a young, breakout star from New Jersey.

Matilda Lawler, 12, wants you to know that this film, its optimism and its focus on family, are just what we need right now.

"I think the message is so great," Lawler says. "I think something the world needs right now is hope."

"I really am excited for people to see Matilda in this movie," says Ben Schwartz, who plays Flora's father, George. "It's like you can't stop watching her."

My 7-year-old daughter had this question for Lawler: Which scene or part did you find the most challenging?

"Good question," Lawler replied. "I'd say the most challenging part of the whole project was working with the squirrel that wasn't there, because the squirrel is CGI. It was really difficult because a lot of the times there was nothing there."

Schwartz says even though Ulysses is a small squirrel, he's big on inspiration - and superpowers.

"I know how hard it is right now to believe in anything," Schwartz says. "You're going to have bad days. It's okay to have bad days. My character uses his family, he uses his child to find hope."

Alyson Hannigan plays mom Phyllis, who is also in a major slump.

"Even when things are overwhelming and dark, you really do need to have hope," Hannigan says.

The message: find the unexpected superheroes around us.

"I think this will be a great thing to be coming out right now," Lawler says. "It's a great movie for people to watch as a family and it has a great message."

"Flora and Ulysses" is streaming on Disney+ right now.
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