Hop: Kaley Cuoco’s bunny love

Mar 30, 2011 at 4:15 p.m. ET

Kaley Cuoco plays Penny, the hot, blonde neighbor across the hall on TV’s popular, geektastic show, The Big Bang Theory. Cuoco first caught our attention as Bridget, the daughter of the late John Ritter, on 8 Simple Rules and now is starring in the family film, Hop.

Kaley Cuoco in Hop

Kaley Cuoco is a well-known animal activist. The caring actress is constantly giving her time to rescue organizations so to see her on screen in the family-friendly film Hopcuddling an adorable bunny isn't a surprise. The fact that that bunny is totally computer-generated and not on set at all was both a surprise and a new challenge for Kaley.

We're on the Universal Pictures studio lot in Cuoco's comfy trailer on a really cold spring day to talk about her role in Hop which co-stars Enchanted's James Marsden. Russell Brand provides the voice for E.B., the CG, teen son of the Easter Bunny who would really rather be a drummer in a rock band than step into his dad's pastel shoes.

For our interview, Kaley is mixing the seasons in her pretty floral print sun dress covered with a sweater and accessorized with warm UGG boots. None of us was ready to talk Easter fun on this chilly day but let's give it a shot.

Kaley Cuoco's Easter traditions

SheKnows: So did your family celebrate Easter?

Kaley Cuoco: Yeah, we definitely celebrated Easter. I wasn't allowed to have sugar as a kid or any cola or anything, so Easter and Halloween were my favorite times because then I could eat as much candy as I wanted and my sister and I would go crazy.

SheKnows: Do you feel that the whole Easter basket and bunny thing is just too commercial or a lot of fun?

Kaley Cuoco: I think it's great. Maybe because I've been working for so long, I stopped believing at a young age in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. I was like, "Oh, that can't possibly be real," because I was so used to pretending. But it's great for kids to believe in something and enjoy a fantasy because it's not going to last very long.

Kaley Cuoco Hops!

SheKnows: Your character Sam is a successful career woman trying to help her jobless brother Fred (James Marsden). Could you be as supportive as she is, trying to help him get work?

Kaley Cuoco: The director (Tim Hill) wanted her to be the most supportive person in Fred's life. He's smart but kind of a slacker or at least can't figure out what he wants to do in life. I don't have any brothers and I don't know if I could be that helpful because I lived in such a strong-willed household for so long with motivated people around me. So I'm not used to people being slackers and it's not my style.

SheKnows: We know you and James had a great time on set but he worked briefly with a CGI chipmunk in Enchanted. This whole picking up and cuddling a bunny that isn't there on set thing is new for you. Was it easy or really hard?

Kaley Cuoco stars in Hop with, yes, the Easter Bunny!

Kaley Cuoco: Not hard but we had a lot of rehearsal beforehand to feel out what it would be like and it was definitely strange to get used to. We were holding a beanbag full of sand that had little fake arms and the weight of a creature. I think I popped it at one time and it was losing weight. It was very bizarre but I got used to it. It was very technical so we couldn't move around a lot, very different to what I was used to doing on Big Bang Theory. We would do two takes. First a rehearsal with what they called a stuffy, with a stuffed animal that looked exactly like E.B.

SheKnows: I read somewhere that you play the drums.

Kaley Cuoco: I used to play, yeah. My parents still have a drum set at home. My dad likes to play and I go jam every once in a while.

SheKnows: So you can understand little E.B.'s desire to play drums in a band then?

The Easter Bunny gets his own movie in Hop

Kaley Cuoco: Absolutely! I can totally understand. I think there are a lot of teenagers out there who have that pull to be a musician or a rock star which might not be their parents' ideal situation so the movie speaks to that.

Finding the Easter Bunny

SheKnows: What was the biggest surprise to you about interacting with the invisible bunny?

Kaley Cuoco: It was just different. It was taking myself out of my routine on the show. It was being around different people and obviously, the stuffed animal was not normal at all and a different experience. It's all about trying new things and seeing what you can do with your acting and changing it up a bit.

SheKnows: You really have to be an actor with a huge imagination to play opposite an animal who isn't even there.

Kaley Cuoco: Yes, you do, but Jimmy had the hardest time with that because he had to work like 90 percent of the time with a stuffed animal. It was crazy. That was so much hard work for him. We bonded so fast and were friends and played a lot of Scrabble on our phones, a lot of off-camera shenanigans, cutting up and keeping each other entertained.

SheKnows: E.B. is bucking his dad's wish for him to take over the family business. Did you always want to be an actor or was there another path you once wanted to take?

Kaley Cuoco: Yeah, I played tennis for years. For a long time, I was doing both that and acting but when it reached a more serious point of focusing on one, I obviously chose acting. I was a good tennis player and I thought I'd go to college. I hadn't decided. But I caught the acting bug and that was it.

The Big Bang TheorySheKnows: Let's talk Big Bang Theory. Right now Priya, Leonard's new girlfriend, is pretty jealous of your character Penny and has told him to stop having you around so much. Is that fun for you to play?

Kaley Cuoco: Oh yeah. It's definitely different. It's good. Obviously any girlfriend doesn't want the blonde from the apartment across the hall hanging out with her boyfriend so I can understand it in a way. We're having a blast.

Kaley: the broken leg update

SheKnows: You missed a couple of episodes when you had a horrible horseback riding accident yet everyone was amazed at how fast you returned to work. Was that experience frightening and have you gotten back on a horse?

Kaley Cuoco: Oh yeah. I came back in two weeks. I had a cast for that first week back and I was able to walk in it and just wear jeans so you couldn't see it. Luckily it all naturally worked out. I've been riding for my whole life but yeah, I did get back on. I think, more importantly, it's just going out and hanging out with the horses. They're my pets so that was the most important thing to me. I'm not mad at the horse. He should be mad at me if anything.

SheKnows: Who on the show is most like a big brother to you and why?

Kaley Cuoco: They kind of all are. Kunal (Nayyar) is very brotherly but they all are. I have a different relationship with all of them (she used to date Johnny Galecki). They've become my family and vice versa and I love them all dearly. We have our moments of "Get away from me," and our moments of "Let's go hang out all night long." We spend a lot of time together and know each other very well.

SheKnows: Can you let us know what you do for exercise? Do you have any skincare advice and also, who is your fave fashion designer?

Kaley Cuoco: I'm very much into yoga now and I've been spinning for a long time. I'm enjoying Bikram yoga. I like the heat, especially today would be good. It's cold! I love the way I feel afterwards. Skincare, I wear a lot of sunscreen and I've been using toners lately because we have make-up on a lot and that can be tough on your skin. It's also good to get a micro-dermabrasion every two months or six weeks. That's really good for your skin. Fashion, right now I'm so into Alexander Wang, his t-shirts and pants. Everything I wear consists of him.

SheKnows: You are in a movie called The Last Ride about country star Hank Williams?

Kaley Cuoco: I just have a couple of scenes. It's about his last drive across country and this kid drives him and they run into this girl. It's really sweet.

Kaley offers advice

Kaley Cuoco at the Hop premiereSheKnows: What advice would you give young women who think they want an acting career?

Kaley Cuoco: That it's hard and you had better build a thick skin now. Be prepared to be told no often, more times than you'll be told yes. It can be very tough so have other loves and passions. Don't put all your heart into it.

SheKnows: Why will women especially enjoy Hop?

Kaley Cuoco: James Marsden! I think they'll like that. Moms will like it because it has a good message. I don't have kids of my own but I'm sure it's hard when your son says, "I want to be a rock star," and they have to say, "You need to do other things in your life first." It's about balancing that and letting them follow their dreams but, at the same time, giving them responsibilities. I think it's going to be great for families. My mom's really going to like it and that makes me happy.

SheKnows: What about a family of your own?

Kaley Cuoco: I definitely want a family someday. Not soon but that's in the offing.