NarniaWeb Set Report #5: Peter & Edmund
Ústí – I had just finished lunch on the first day, and I was walking out of the tent looking for one of the Disney guys to find out what the next adventure was. I turned around, and saw that someone was holding out their hand. Ernie Malik (the film’s publicist) was saying ‘This is Brian from NarniaWeb.’ It all happened so fast. I shook the hand, and didn’t realize for a few seconds that it belonged to William Moseley (Peter)! According to the schedule, we weren’t supposed to talk to the actors until the next day. But I guess the weather changed everything. He was wearing a loose gray sweatshirt, and I wondered if his costume was underneath. When William heard ‘NarniaWeb,’ there was definitely a little reaction: “Oh, cool!” We all walked over by the trailers and sat on the ground, putting our tape recorders on a small footstool in front of William. “Great day for a picnic,” he joked as he sat down on the grass, cross-legged. William sometimes had to speak over the noise of passing trucks, but I could tell he had done this many times before.
Q: So, we heard you did some horse stunts?
William: Yeah, we did some horse stunts. Recently, I did the biggest horse stunt I’ve ever done. I had to… Actually it sounds pretty crazy even to me. But I basically had to chase a running horse, I had to grab onto the saddle, I had to kick a guy while the horse was running and I had to jump onto the back of the horse, and carry on going…all in a courtyard at four in the morning and it was raining.
Q: Did you do that yourself?
William: Yeah, I did that myself. It was easy [laughs]. The thing was, like, it’s funny when you do stunts like that, because you know you can do it, and if you’re not quite getting it, then…I don’t know, you want to do it again and again and again, but you don’t really realize how dangerous it is at the time, until you look back and go, “Oh, at take 7, I probably should have taken a break.’
Q: How many takes did you do?
William: Seven. That’s all I was allowed. I wanted to do eight, but seven was all I was allowed. Two were perfect, five I was kind of like, holding on for dear life a couple of times.
Q: Were there any wires involved?
William: No wires, no. It was good, though. It was really fun. They must have a lot of faith in me.
Q: Are you ready for the fight?
William: You know, last week I was really worried about it, because I haven’t really have much chance to train for it. Like I said, I think they have quite a lot of faith in me with these stunts, so they think, ‘Oh, he doesn’t really need the training,’ but it’s an over-one-hundred beat fight, so I’m sort of thinking, ‘I think I might need a bit more training than this,’ and they’re like ‘No, you’ll be fine, you’ll be fine, you’ll be fine.’ We were meant to shoot it last Wednesday, and it’s Monday today, so I was really lucky that the weather hasn’t been so good. Few more days practice.
Q: Do you actually practice with Sergio Castellito (Miraz)?
William: Yep, I fight against him. But mostly, what’s really cool is the stunt coordinator’s going to double Miraz. So, the stunt coordinator and I have a really good connection and a good understanding, like, he’s taught me all of everything I know, so it’s going to be a good one-on-one.
Q: Same coordinator from the first movie?
William: Same from the first one, yep. I’ve been really lucky to fight him.
Q: What is the biggest difference in this movie from the last one. The horse thing, obviously, but what are some of the biggest things you’ve had to learn for this movie?
William: Yeah. I think the sheer size of the thing has been…I did this last time, the size of it blew me away. But again, it’s gone a level up, I think, in every single department, every level, we’ve had to take it up a notch, and that goes through costumes, through to the stunts. I think my fight last time was about 40 beats with the White Witch, and this is going to be over a hundred, so it’ll probably be three times the length. And acting-wise, it’s been a lot tougher. I’ve had a lot more emotional moments. He has the arrogance that I have, and he has the kind of anger, I mean, it’s good that it’s going to test me. I think this is really like Ernie [Malik] actually said, everyone’s had to sweat blood and tears to get this film made, but it’s only films that are good are the ones where you have to sweat blood and tears to really force them out.
Q: How have you been getting on with Ben Barnes?
William: We get along really well. It’s funny, he’s a good guy. It’s interesting, though. I remember the first time I came to set and I saw Ben and we would go to rehearse and I saw him playing with Georgie, who plays Lucy, the same way I play with Georgie. It’s really weird for a second, I was like ‘What the hell?’ (laughter) It was kind of like deja vu, you know?
Q: Is Ben younger than you?
William: He’s older.
Ernie Malik: He’s about 25.
William: He’s pretty old. [group laughter]
Q: How is their relationship different in the movie than it is in the book? In the book, it seems like they get along, but in the movie it sounds like they have a rivalry.
William: Yeah… I think it’s interesting that they played on that rivalry, because…I don’t know, I think that’s really the way it would be in real life. Peter’s got his own issues to deal with, and Caspian’s got his own issues to deal with, and when neither is willing to compromise, there’s bound to be friction. That’s really what happens. And it’s a lot about humility. I think they both have to learn a certain humility. And that’s really what a great King needs is to be humble, to listen to his people, to be willing to compromise, and they start off as these sort of angry teenagers, and become kings at the end, and Peter obviously passes on his sword and, I don’t know, Narnian strength on to Caspian. But it is interesting, I agree, I think it’s a really good thing that they’ve done that.
Q: Just like the book, this must be your last movie, I guess. How long do you have to shoot still?
William: You know, I really don’t know. Right now, we’re looking at gray skies and we were meant to have blue skies, so pretty much from what I can tell, it doesn’t seem too positive, but we’re doing really well, actually. We’re getting through a lot of stuff. On Friday, we got through the entire scene in the day – it went really well, and Andrew seemed really good. And what’s really helping everybody is… I think the pressure has been on to make this really amazing vision of Andrew’s, but they’ve started putting music on set, and that really helps everybody, and I think that really gets everybody going. Skandar and I get to choose what kind of music we have so he has his iPod and I have mine and we sometimes have a bit of a rivalry.
Q: You’re not talking soundtrack type music. You’re talking about…
William: Yeah, our own music. Like, there was some Bob Dylan playing on Friday, and Skandar was playing some Jimi Hendrix, and I think I was playing some Jackson Brown, and the lighting guy, because the speaker was right there, the lighting guy came and turned it right at Andrew, just turned it when I had Jackson Brown on, and Andrew just turned on ‘Thriller’, just to get his own back.
Q: And what are you filming to go along with your musical choices?
William: I don’t know. It depends really. Like, for instance, the fight with Miraz, we might have ‘Rocky’ playing, something like that [laughter]. It’s that kind of thing, or it’s like, a nice relaxing scene, like Lucy is walking or something, you might have, I don’t know, Mozart, I don’t know what they’d be playing. It keeps a light atmosphere on set and reminds us that we’re here to have fun. We’re not here just to slave our guts out all the time.
Q: Do you feel more comfortable and prepared for the second part than the first one?
William: I really do. I think the first one was really a big shock to the system, but now I feel very much in myself and sort of confident and I think everybody’s really taken on their roles and like I said, we were starting from nowhere last time, and this time we’re starting from already a level from which we can work on from, if that makes sense. That’s been helpful.
Q: Can you relate more to the character by going back to normal life, and then coming back to the world of Narnia?
William: Yep, completely. I mean, I had to go back to school myself after all of this, and as you know, Peter does. And I was a year older than everybody else, so I was kind of like that kid that got kicked behind, who was a bit thick, who did an extra year at school. I felt a bit like that, and I had to go back and I had to be with people my age and not be with people on a film set and be chauffeured around, driven everywhere, and so there’s obviously a lot of things I can relate to. Also, I think, being away from home makes a big difference. You know, when you live away…I lived away from home for a while, and I think, you try to do things for yourself, like Peter tries a lot of things for himself. He doesn’t really… he’s not willing to listen to people, but then you realize your mother or your father can have a really, your family can have a really important input in your personal life. All of it relates.
Q: Do you have to be here for the entire production? Because, obviously there are some scenes with just Caspian or just Miraz where you are not needed. So, are you here the whole time or do you get to take some time off?
William: Every now and again, I do. I mean, it’s nice to go back home. My dad was here on Friday, which was… Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and yesterday he had to go back home. But every now and then, but it’s hard, you know, because you’re really tired by the weekend, you know, you’ve really been giving everything you’ve got, every bit of energy you’ve been putting into the film, and so, by the weekend, you want to just lie in bed and just maybe go to the gym, watch a film or something. But, I try to, and I speak to my family a lot.
William: Actually, Andrew sat down with me and Mark Johnson before the film started, and said to me, ‘This film is going to be a lot more of an acting role for you,’ and I realized that from reading the script. And I said, ‘Well, I want to go to New York, and I want to work with a coach out there,’ and they said they were really willing to support that, and so they helped me find a great coach out there, and I worked with her for three-and-a-half months. And it was kind of like an intensive, it was very, very high intensity, I was working all the time, but by the time I got to New Zealand after working, doing all the time doing read-through and screen test – they were screen testing some other Caspians – I felt really confident and really good and they all saw the difference, and they said, you know, now much it’s changed me and I’m so glad I did it now.
Q: Who was your coach in New York?
William: Sheila Gray. I’m sure you’ve probably heard of her. She’s really good.
Q: Did any of the other cast members do the same thing?
William: Well, they’ve all been in school. That’s the thing. I think Anna’s been keeping up with her coaching, but I’m lucky I don’t have school anymore, and I can say… I didn’t opt to go to university, so I’m really lucky that I had the opportunity.
Q: How do you like filming here in the Czech Republic?
William: You know, I really like it. I think I’m starting to warm to the Czech people a little more, or they’re starting to warm to me, and I really like Prague, and it’s close to home like I was saying. And I don’t know, I think it’s the right place to shoot. We’ve been to these amazing locations, these amazing rocks, these amazing formations, the battle turf looks great, and you know, there was a lot of talk about where they were going to shoot, and I think the Czech Republic was a good choice.
Q: Do you have a favorite set or location?
William: That’s a good question. I really like the stone table, I don’t know if you’ve seen that yet.
Q: It’s gone already. We saw where it used to be.
William: Oh no. So cool, this huge, huge room, stone carved out. The stone table was my favorite.
Q: Do you know what the inscriptions on the table mean?
William: No. (laughter). It probably means, ‘Please give us sun. Please, please, please, give us sun.’
Q: What’s next for you?
William: Well, L.A. seems a bit scary to be honest, I think it’s really scary. I’d probably only go to L.A. for a month or two, and just work out there for a bit. But I could not emigrate to L.A. right now. I mean, I’d quite like to be in England for a bit, because I spent time in New York, and I’d quite like to be in London, because I don’t actually live in London. I live in the countryside, so London would be cool. But I managed to finish school in between the two films, get on top of my acting, which was an important thing, and now it’s just looking forward to what’s going to come, I don’t know.
Q: Maybe theater?
William: Yeah, I would love to do theater. I would really love theater. I would love to do Shakespeare, that would be amazing. You know, it’s whatever really comes my way. I think you really have to look at the acting world as fatalistic, in a fatalistic way, because some things are meant to happen, some things aren’t meant to happen, and you can audition a hundred times and not get anything, and then one thing can pop up and that’s the perfect thing, so theater, anything I’m interested in right now.
Q: What was it like reuniting with the other members of the cast?
William: It’s really nice, actually. It’s funny, we just slip into our dynamics. We just all, you know, we all have our little place. We all just slot in there, and it’s really nice. I think we’ve all got a bit older now, so we can all have more of an adult relationship, we can talk to each other much more. Like – Skandar will hate me saying this – I can talk to him about girls and stuff like that. And Georgie and I can actually talk about clothes [laughter] and music, we talk a lot about music. Anna and I, we have a really good relationship as well. We tend to talk about our families, and our personal lives. All of them, like I said, it’s like we’ve taken the next step up now. We’re a really tight unit, pretty formidable four.
Q: Did you get to see them in between shooting? You must live all over England.
William: Yeah, I mean, because we did publicity and every time we had a big DVD release or something like that, we all went to Japan together, so we did get to spend some time together. It’s difficult to get all four of us together. It’s easier if I just go to one or the other person’s house, or see them in London or something.
Ernie Malik: Time for one more question and then we’ll be done. You have stunt practice?
William: I have a stunt rehearsal.
Q: Do you find you are paralleling your character? Do you feel like the leader of the group?
William: Yeah, I mean, I think I definitely do. I mean, I said this before, that I’m the oldest in my family, so I’m really the leader as the oldest in my family, then Anna is the oldest in hers, so she’s kind of the leader. Then Skandar is the youngest, so he kind of has that position, and Georgie is the youngest as well. So we all just slot in to our dynamics and it forms a very tight unit. But the parallels to our characters, I mean, I really essentially think we’re all just playing ourselves. [laughter] I really do. It’s amazing how similar we are and how much we just draw on our own lives to feel the character. I know I do, and I know Georgie does, and Anna and Skandar are really good, they just sort of, just sort of get in the moment, kind of lost there. But it’s been a good experience so far. I’ll have to tell you at the end of it; we’re only halfway through. [laughter]
Aslan’s How – As we made our way past the crew, I passed someone who I thought for sure was Skandar Keynes (Edmund). But when I saw him later, it turned out to be his double (they did a good job casting that part). “Lets roll please, rolling!” K.C. Hodenfield, 1st AD, called out. “And action!” Adamson called. All the Narnian extras (many wearing blue pants) started cheering. William Moseley (Peter) and Skandar Keynes (Edmund) emerged from Aslan’s How. The whole thing would’ve looked very dramatic…if “Eye of the Tiger” had not been playing in the background. I couldn’t help but smile at the unlikely combination of Narnia and a hit song from the 80s. I heard that song on the radio the other day, and I just burst out laughing. I can’t hear it without thinking about this scene. After seeing that, it’ll be interesting to finally see this scene in theaters with Harry Gregson-Williams’ music. One of the writers joked that there should be an optional audio track on the DVD that allows you to watch the movie with the on-set music. If that wasn’t funny enough, during one of the takes, William took out his sword and accidentally poked Skandar’s leg (hopefully it’ll be on the DVD).
But anyway, in between takes, as the crew waited for the sun to return, Ernie Malik managed to get Skandar Keynes to come over to us for a few minutes. (Ernie was amazing at getting interviews even when everyone was really busy). Skandar was in full armor, which looked almost exactly like his armor from the first film, except with less chain mail and no helmet.
Q: So what’s it like to come back for a second time around?
Skandar: It’s been really cool. It’s been really great to see everyone again and like, reuniting the family, to be very cheesy. Yeah, it’s been great here in the middle of nowhere, it’s beautiful. And what we’re doing is really cool, we’re like walking out [of Aslan’s How] and everyone is [cheering]. So I’m having a good time.
Q: So in the movie, Edmund is only a year older. But you’re actually a few years older?
Skandar: Yeah, I was 12 when I started the first film and I’m 15 now. I’ll be 16 at the end of the shoot.
Q: I remember last time they had problems with you growing too much…
Skandar: Yeah, I grew 6 inches in 6 months. I felt growing pains last night actually. (laughter)
Q: The costume department said they have a computer program now to determine the patterns and how to make the costumes fit as you guys grow and keep them consistent.
Skandar: I had the chainmail, and I kept growing. And it’s precise enough that if I grew, it would completely change underneath.
Q: Did you wear chainmail in the last movie too?
Skandar: Yeah, I’m actually wearing a lot less now.
Q: I bet you wish you were wearing it now after getting stabbed in the leg. (laughter)
Skandar: Oh yeah, [Will] totally just stabbed my leg! He draws his sword and then moves it back but as he moved it back it went “bang” on my leg. Just went right on my boot!
Q: Do you get to do more sword fighting in this movie than the first movie?
Skandar: Yeah a lot more which is good and I’ve got to do a bit more today. And I’m doing lots of training.
Q: How is the castle raid, do you have a big scene in it?
Skandar: I was already in it. I was on days while they were on nights, so I was kinda laughing at them (laughter). I do have a thing at the top but we are going to do that on a stage, because it would’ve been dangerous to do it [on the set] because it was so high up., and if anything had gone wrong, I could’ve like…died.
Q: So they’re going to save that to the very end just in case.
Skandar: Yeah (laughter)
Q: What are your big scenes in this one?
Skandar: I have a scene when Will’s in a fight…
(Here, Ernie whispers something in Skandar’s ear, probably telling him not to give something away) (laughter)
Skandar (cont): Um, me and Will have a lot of little moments in this film. And then, I have big fights, which is good, that are scattered around the film.
Q: You’re one of the few that gets to go on to the next movie, have you met with Mike Apted yet?
Skandar: Yeah, I had dinner with him, he was very cool. It all seems good.
Q: Did you drill him, test him to see if he knows his Narnia stuff?
Skandar: Yeah, we talked about Narnia a bit but the problem with the next film is I’ve got to do my GCSEs just around the middle and if they don’t let me do them, my school won’t let me come out here, so, I’ll have to take like a month off or so.
Q: So you’ll go back to school and then you’ll turn around and come back for the next one?
Skandar: Well no, I think there will be some time before they go straight ahead, they are in pre-production now. So I’ll go to school and then come back whenever they are ready.
Q: Can you talk about the unique style of the music playing while you are shooting a scene?
Skandar: Yeah, we like to play Rocky or just anything that has a cool beat. It feels so good walking down and they’re all cheering…we are trying so hard not to crack up, but it’s so hard. (laughter) During the epic battles there’s a rule. When a song is played you have to wait until the end to try and get your iPod in there.
Q: Are your musical tastes that different?
Skandar: No, we are pretty much the same, he doesn’t like some of mine and I don’t like some of his so there’s just minor differences… but mostly cool. The first couple of takes I was cracking up so it wasn’t that great, but it was getting to me and it felt really cool.
Q: Was that something just for this movie, Andrew just decided to use music to get the mood out?
Skandar: Yeah, it was a couple of weeks ago, everyone was sitting around waiting on the sun and we realized we could put music on so we did and now we use it.
Skandar: We’ve done lots of rehearsals and I’ve done more horse riding. I’ve done more sword fighting and it’s been a bit more intense this time.
Q: How’s Prague been for you?
Skandar: Prague has been great, so yeah, everything is pretty cool in Prague.
Ernie Malik: You haven’t told them what you have been doing with your downtime…
Skandar: Yeah, down in New Zealand I did a bunch of jumps. I jumped off the Nevis which is the third highest point in the world, I did this one jump that was nearly 400 meters in the air and I did the Shotover Canyon Swing which is the biggest swing in the world. I jumped off the Sky Tower, which is the highest building in the Southern Hemisphere. And I did some jumps from a jet, so those were cool.
Q: Is this driving the producers crazy?
Skandar: Yeah, every time…I have all the videos as well.
Q: Is there a lot of sitting around waiting on the set?
Skandar: Not that much. There could be more, but there could be less.
Q: Do you go to do school here too?
Skandar: Yeah, three hours a day, I’ve got my GCSEs so I’ve got exams this week.
Q: Coming back for the second time, what’s it like to have a lot more adults in the cast?
Skandar: Everyone matured a lot more and we weren’t as silly as before, we didn’t mess around as much…
Ernie Malik: That’s a matter of opinion. (laughter)
Skandar: Everything has been really cool. We’re kind of approaching it completely differently, and a bit more professional than last time.
Q: So this film is a little bit darker than the first one?
Skandar: Uh yeah, there are some darker scenes. There are a lot of scenes that happen at night (laughter). No, yeah, there are some darker scenes, there are some evil people, and some evil moments.
(We hear K.C. shout “Scene coming up!”)
Ernie Malik: You’d better get back to work now.