Irish actress Sarah Bolger takes us into Arthur Spiderwick’s world – out now on DVD.
While she shone in ‘Stormbreaker’ and ‘Tara Road’ her most memorable role to date is in Jim Sheridan’s ‘In America’ but that’s about to change as she takes the lead in ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ a new fantasy adventure film based on the best selling series of books from author Holly Black.
The film, an entertaining treat for both adults and kids centres on twins, Jared and Simon, and their older sister Mallory as they defend a magical world from the threat of ogres. For fans of ‘Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Album’ (and similar works), you’re in for a treat, as director Mark Waters (Mean Girls) takes the audience on a visually stunning trip through Arthur Spiderwick’s world.
Q: How would you sum up the Spiderwick movie?
A: The film is about a regular New York family, who have been going through some difficult times with their parents splitting up. There is also a back-story, where they are having money problems, so they have to leave their family and friends in New York and move to this old derelict house in the middle of nowhere. So the family move in and they are surrounded by this magical world and they really get pulled into it, especially the three kids. I suppose the rest of the film is really them trying to find their way out of this world.
Q: Being an Irish girl, how did you get the role of this all American girl?
A: I met the studio after ‘In America’, they really liked me in that film. I went to a screen test and did a few scenes with the other actor Freddie (from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory). To be honest, I didn’t think Id get the film because it’s a real true American family and Freddie is British and I’m Irish. I was thinking if they are going to pick someone they are going to pick Freddie and get an American Mallory but no…
Q: Did you hide your Irish accent during the screen test?
A: I’ve been practicing accents for years and I think over time it has neutralised. Before I left for the shoot in Montreal, my dialect coach said I was fine but he was always on set if needed.
Q: What attracted you to your character?
A: She’s so feisty, it’s fantastic! The sword thing got my attention straight away. I mean if you told me, “Ok Sarah you’re going to sword fight”; I would be like, “Ok fine, don’t give me the script I’m going to do it!” (Laughs). I’ll never forget the pain I went through! I was practicing three hours a day for three weeks. I was thought by the Canadian Olympic fencing coach, who was great, the only thing is he only spoke french so don’t ask me to name any of the moves in English!
Q: What about the fact you were fighting CGI characters. Was that difficult?
A: That’s a crazy experience. Here you are fencing absolutely nothing, trying to remember the routine and not just that, also trying to remember to put effort into each swing like you are hitting something. It certainly was an adjustment!
Q: You still go to school here in Ireland, how do you work around that?
A: I go to a fantastic school, they are so supportive. They email me my homework; they keep me updated on everything. I also have a tutor on set if needed.
Q: Next year you’ll be facing the Leaving Cert. Will you take time out for it?
A: Yeah next year will be more difficult cause of the leaving cert. It’s very difficult. I have to admit my main priority is acting. I’ll take it easier but if something comes along, I’m going to grab it.
Q: A lot of your films are adaptation. Are you conscious of this when auditioning?
A: Definitely, especially the Maeve Binchy adaptation, I was so chuffed to meet her. I’ve also been very lucky with the films I’ve gotten to do. They have all had a really strong storyline, possibly because they are adaptations.
Q: You’ve done a number of both adult and kids films. Are you trying to stick to the kid’s films while you are young or are you trying to get more adult roles?
A: Well, ‘In America’ and ‘Tara Road’ were definitely targeted at an adult audience and with ‘Stormbreaker’ I wanted to try an action packed role. ‘Spiderwick’, for me, has a darker edge. I went to a screening of it and I think the adults loved it too.
Q: Just regarding this darker edge you mentioned, do you think that’s something to consider with younger kids or what age do you think is appropriate to see it?
A: Well at the screening, we had two kids with us, one was six and the other was ten. I’d admit that they got a bit of a fright, but they weren’t scared. It was just a momentary fright in fun, if you know what I mean.
Q: Director Mark Waters has made some girlie classics like ‘Mean Girls’ and ‘Freaky Friday’. What was it like to work with him?
A: I was thrilled to work with him. You don’t really know who is directing when you go to test screening and I was so excited to see him, I love ‘Mean Girls’ and he’s always on MTV for ‘Behind the Scenes’. This was one of his first big blockbuster blue screen film and he did fantastically.
‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ is out now on DVD and Bluray.