“Rumple”, the diminutive “star” of The Christmas Bunny was played in the film by “Rupert”, a French Mini Lop rabbit who lived at The Critter Barn in Zeeland, Michigan, just outside of Grand Rapids. Rupert was born in late summer of 2009 and was about 6 months old when the film was shot.
Rupert was not trained for the film, but was personally selected by director Tom Seidman and Sophie Bolen (“Julia”) for his spirited and inquisitive nature. He proved to be an inspired choice: all of the behaviors that Rupert exhibits in the movie (pushing blocks with his nose, hopping into his bunny box “on cue”) were completely spontaneous and unrehearsed.
After retiring from his “film career”, Rupert enjoyed an easy life at the farm: brushing, eating, and running with other rabbits, especially his beautiful sister, Kate. He had about a dozen nieces and nephews, most who have been adopted. His two nieces, Cinnamon and Ginger, still live at The Critter Barn. His uncle played “Old Fred” in the film; ‘Old Fred” was a brother to Nelson, who is Rupert’s father.
The Critter Barn supplied all of the rabbits for the film’s production. The Critter Barn is an Educational Farm dedicated to teaching people of all ages about animals, agriculture, the farmers who grow our food, and the many miracles in nature found at a farm. As such, they allow a limited number of their animals to breed every year, to teach children animal husbandry. So in December of 2011, Rupert became a Dad! Pictures of his two offspring, Noel and Nutmeg, are below.
Sadly, Rupert left us for Bunny Heaven on July 30, 2014. He is still loved and missed by everyone at the farm, and by all of his Christmas Bunny fans.