We talk to the actors who play Peter and Edmund in PRINCE CASPIAN.
Continuing on with our Narnia coverage, we talk to the actors who play the Pevensie brothers Peter and Edmund. Both actors appeared in the previous movie ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ and return to our screens this weekend in the more mature, grown-up sequel ‘Prince Caspian’. William Moseley and Skandar Keynes were both kids when they were plucked from the unknown to become Hollywood stars, both of them have adapted to their new world with great ease. When we meet them in New York they aren’t even slightly phased that their faces are on every billboard in Times Square. Here they talk about their work on the set, dealing with fame and their post Narnia plans.
Q : Has Narnia changed your lives?
Will: You know actually on a professional level, it changed my life dramatically, being able to see the world, but on a superficial level it hasn’t really changed it at all. I feel really fortunate for everything that I’ve had and you know for the huge learning experiences that I’ve had as an actor and as a professional working on a set, but what can I say, I’m not driving a Ferrari, and living in Malibu right now.
Skandar: What this is for me, is one gigantic extra-curricular activity and then I’ll just finish it and I’ll back after it and I’ll go back to school and you won’t be able to pick me out in a crowd. I mean the biggest change for me was around Christmas when my grandmother was able to go in to a local supermarket and buy a lollipop with my head on it, and that’s about it.
Q : Have you had a lot of people come up to you on the streets?
Skandar: No not at the level you would think would change your life. Occasionally, you might be recognised at the till in a shop… but it’s cool, nothing that would change your life.
Q : What about the girls in school?
Skandar: I go to a boy school. There is a girl school next do, but …
Q : But has it landed you, more girls maybe?
Will: It’s funny, why would you want a girl who wants you for a position you had in a film? It’s completely ridiculous.
Skandar: If someone’s like , ‘Oh my God are you that guy from Narnia…’, ‘Oh my God, it’s so good to meet you’… but if some really meet someone for the first time, when you really meet a stranger for the first time, you analyse them , you listen to them, you think about them.. and you’re not just like, all over them.
Will: Not every single person is completely blown away by the idea of the movie..
Skandar: I know, exactly, which was out three years ago.
Q : Have you been star struck by anyone?
Will: Actually, you know who I was really star struck by, and it sounds so stupid, but we were at a premier and I met Sol Campbell and I was like oh, my god.. I don’t know why, but I was so impressed by him, I really was. I use to watch football, so much it was actually kind of cool.
Skandar: I think my star struck moment, and this is just a small select moment that makes me look like a superstar – but I was at the premier, is it Ioan Gruffudd – Mr. Fantastic from the Fantastic 4 ?
Will: Are you serious? *mockingly*
Skandar: Ok, so, he came up to me, and I’m like oh my god it’s him…and he’s like ‘oh, no, you are the real star’. And I was like ahh.. .. like a deer caught in headlights.
Will: Also I met, Guillermo del Toro.. a couple of weeks ago, and he’s one of my directing idles and that was pretty cool as well.
Skandar: But this doesn’t happen every day, this is one time in three years.
Will: Because we just have our sort of normal lives, and I say this all the time. I think that one of the reasons we were chosen for these parts is that we do have grounded families and we are slightly grounded people. We’re not in it for the money, and the fame, and the women and the cars. That’s not why we are in it at all. We’re in because we enjoy the acting and going out on these incredible experiences and having a good time.
Q : How old are you?
Q : Let’s talk in 5 years…
Will: *laughs* You know in 5 years, no problem… it will still be the same I can guarantee you that… I’ll have a bet with you right now.
Q : Is it difficult to return to real life when the Narnia publicity dies down?
Skandar: It was as if we had withdrawal symptoms of Narnia, we were completely fine, it’s as if we have two different spheres. One is Narnia life and one is real life.. This is, to me, one giant extra-curricular activity. After all of this, I’ll just go back to school and I’ll just fit in with everyone else, it’s not as if I take a special escort in to school or have a bodyguard at school
Will: No, aren’t you going to have a throne, like they do in Rome and they will carry you into school, and you’ll throw sweets at kids. I can see that.
Q : Don’t you think that now since the second film, that expectations will go even higher?
Skandar: It hasn’t happened yet. Thus far it has been completely manageable.
Will: What you hope is that people will like your film; you go away and work for seven months. You do the best you can for something you really, truly believe in, and you can only hope that people are going to like it. I mean what’s weird, is with the fans, they like the film, they support us, but there are so many other people involved. The production designer Roger Ford, the stunt co-ordinatior, Alan Poppleton, none of those people got one piece of fan mail, and they still did equally as much work.
Q: What kind of training did you guys have to do? How hard was it?
Will: I actually worked with a boxing trainer in New York for three and half months. When you do a sword punch or a sword stab it really is just the same as a punch, a sword is an extension of your arm. So I was boxing training and kick boxing training, every single day pretty much, and then when I got to on set, I was doing it all the time, running and lifting weights. So by the time I came to shooting, I was like so ready to do this stuff, I was working on it for such a long time.
Skandar: I’m sure you can tell that I go to the gym every single day too *laughs*
Will: Yah, huge muscles. You would not think that we would go to the gym at all by looking at us now.
Q : So what was the most difficult scene for you to do?
Will: People always think
that I’m going to say the most difficult scene was shooting the big
battle or the big emotional scene, but actually it’s not. It’s shooting
those lines that move the script forward for the audience. It’s those
lines like ‘And now we’re going to go this way.” You know what I mean.
Will: Yes, those
interchangeable lines, like saying Hello, saying something completely
normal in a totally abnormal circumstance, so I think those are much
harder than anything else.
Q : Do you find the fighting scenes difficult?
Will : No, they’re super
cool. You know, we trained for a long time on the fights actually, and
you know, Alan Poppleton our stunt coordinator, would actually say to
me on the day, alright, you’ve got to do this, this and this, and we’d
practice slowly and then we’d go in it as hard as we could and he’d be
like, well this isn’t right technically, so come back here, blah, blah,
blah… this looks cool and this doesn’t, and actually I love that part
of it. And actually he offered me a job as a stunt man after the film.
Skandar: You should have taken that job.
Will: No thank you..
Q: What about the change in your career? Would you say the movie has opened doors for you?
Will: You know actually, I was living in LA for six months, and before that we were in Prague, and before that I was in New York. So you know, I try to live anywhere I can, or just whatever sort of drives me to go somewhere. I don’t know, but it’s been a weird time, the last film was three years ago, and I think, hopefully this window now after Prince Caspian being released is going to be a good time for me; because I’m really, I’m looking for something kind of interesting.
Q: What do you want to do next?
Will: I’m not in the next Narnia movie, I’m only in one and two. I thoroughly loved Peter as a character, but I’m not typecast, because I’m only in two films. My character thing is very different in the first one than he is to the second, and that obviously was a big a challenge for me and as an actor you always want to challenge yourself further.
I’m quite passionate, strong person, kind of – really quite English. So I think, I may as well stick with what I know. And you know, first of all succeed in that field and if I get better in my acting, then I can go on and do more and more; but saying that, you’ll probably see me in some teeny vampire movie next week, *laughs*
There are so many of them, what make money right now is horror films. You know, Prom night was like the number one film in America. I mean these films make serious moneys… so..Hollywood makes the films that make the money.
Q: Do you get offers for teenage comedies or horror movies?
Will: Well, you know, you don’t even get offers for them, because everyone wants to be in them. But they’re really not my cup of tea. You know to literally use the analogy. So, I don’t know, I’m really excited for the future, but we’ll see what the next challenge is…
Q: Are you sad to leave the Narnia world behind you?
Will: You know, I was sad when I did the scene that was saying goodbye, because that was a couple weeks before filming ended. I said to the director, should I be emotional in this scene? And he’s like, ‘no, stay strong and stoic’, so I did. And actually by the end of filming I really understood what he was talking about, because I felt like I‘d graduated from Narnia by that point, do you know what I mean? I felt like I had really learned everything I could, done my bit, worked as hard as I could and I was ready to move on to my next challenge and see what it would be. And I feel really luck that my character does kind of bow out, kind of parallel to my own acting life.
Q: Skandar, you’re in the next Narnia movie, yes?
Skandar: Yes, I think we start shooting in October.
Q: Anything else you got planned up to then?
Skandar: Exams, I’m in year 11 at my school and I have two more years, I’ve got these exams now and then I’ve got two more years then I go to University. Gap year… then University to study medicine.
Q: Really? So you aren’t going to stay with acting?
Skandar: No, It’s not my cup of tea. I mean, I’ve had lot of fun but I couldn’t do this for a living. I respect Will for being able to do this. But I’m happy not doing it.
Q: Why can’t you do it?
Skandar: Well because, literally it was a little extra-curricular activity. So, I would go to these little acting classes after school in a little local community and we sort of had fun. But then one day all of a sudden, out of the blue, along comes a Casting Agent, and scooped me up and I’m sort up plunged into this world. I’ve had a great time, and I’m not saying that I’ve hated every moment or anything at all like that or that I regret it, I’m just saying, you know, that I’ve had my fun and I’ve taken my experience but it’s not what I want to do with my life. I think that it’s good that I’ve seen it, and you know, in one way I’ve lived this dream and I can move on.
Words : Vincent Donnelly
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN opens at Irish cinemas this week.