As any "Modern Family" fan knows, star Ty Burrell has a good head for comedy. But according to the actor, who plays the part of a brainy beagle in the animated feature "Mr. Peabody & Sherman," that's where his mental aptitude ends.
"Anyone who knows me knows what a herculean feat it is for me to play a genius," Burrell told TODAY in an interview that aired Thursday.
But he does just that in "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" as Mr. Peabody, the anthropomorphic pooch who travels through time with his adopted human son, Sherman, voiced by Max Charles.
"Sherman is the kind of kid that everything he touches, he breaks," Charles said.
And like Burrell, Charles found some of the smart stuff a little tough to master for the movie.
"One word that I still have trouble pronouncing is Agamemnon," he said of the man from Greek mythology who the pair pay a visit to in film.
While Burrell and Charles found their own challenges with the roles, they also found special ways to connect to their characters. Charles isn't the adopted son of a beagle in real life, but he did adopt a beagle of his own. And Burrell is the dad to two adopted (human) kids.
"You related to the idea of universal love," Burrell said of the way his real family helped him connect to his animated one.
Many moviegoers won't have any problem at all connecting to the characters — after all, those characters have been around a while. "Peabody's Improbable History" was a regular segment on "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" in the 1960s.
TODAY's Al Roker, who counts himself as an old-school fan, is certainly excited to see them make a comeback.
"The 'Rocky and Bullwinkle' series ... they were known for this anarchistic sense of humor, which this cartoon also had," he reflected. "I'm sure they're probably going to ramp up a little potty humor, and a lot of fun (in 'Mr. Peabody'). It's going to be fantastic!"
"Mr. Peabody & Sherman" opens in theaters nationwide Friday.