NYC Interview Series: Will and Georgie
I was very impressed with both Will and Georgie because the interviewers asked them some pretty deep questions about the books and the answers they gave were particularly insightful — though I think everyone has been surprised at how much the cast has grown up (especially Georgie).
Will and Georgie
Did you have any mishaps with swords while you were doing this movie?
Will: Um, I did actually, a few. And one was because I was doing a kill count check. Each time I killed somebody I would pretty much just tick it off. And I got up to like forty or something. And I think this happened around number 29. I felt terrible, I clipped this guy on the nose, and his nose was bleeding obviously. And then in the next shot he’s supposed to start and hit me [in the chest] and I take the hit and then go down or whatever. Anyways, instead — and these are trained stuntmen — he smacks me in the ear! I’m not even joking! [laughter] And I just looked at him like “What on earth?” and he’s like “Mhmm” and I was like “Alright I won’t hit you on the nose again, I’m really sorry.” You don’t want to mess around with those guys.
No more ad-libbing.
Will: Yeah, exactly.
In the closing scene when you say you’re not coming back to Narnia, you say you’ve learned everything you can from Narnia; what did you learn?
Will: Good question actually. You know, I think we learn a lot. I think I and Susan, mostly my character, learn a very important in humility. And I think leadership, at the end of the day, is about serving other people. It’s about serving a place or a country and not serving yourself. And so Peter had to learn that very valuable lesson and reinstate his trust in Aslan. And Aslan says, “You’ve learned all you can and your trust is 100% in me and all the leadership skills you’ve learned.” And Peter then has to pass Narnia on to Caspian — pass the torch on very honorably and nobly, and he could not have done that at the start by any means. There’s definitely a strong leadership journey there.
Unlike the first film which is very character-driven, this one seems to be very action-driven, so the question for both of you is did you approach your role any differently than you would have for the first?
Georgie: I definitely think that I’ve always wanted to do some [action]. I’ve always been like that. And I also think that because Lucy has grown up since the last film, she understands the fighting more, and I think that she feels that it’s all right to be a part of it. So I think that approaching the role differently, is definitely approaching it with more a lot more openness. [laughs]
Will: And for me too. I actually trained in New York for three and a half months. I trained on my acting to get better because I knew I was taking on a different role this time — kind of a different character. And also I knew it was going to be a lot more of a physical film. So I trained three times a week in this underground Brooklyn boxing gig. I was literally the only white… the only English person, [laughter] so I was like “Hey guys, how’s it going?” It was very awkward. And I remember when I was on the speed bag one day and I was like “duh dung, duh dung” and there was this boy — I don’t know why he wasn’t at school, I’m not going to answer that question — but he was just like so fast, really incredible. And it really gave me the motivation to go full ahead with these stunts and to commit myself 110%. And watching it back I was really pleased with the physical aspect of the film.
Right now we’re noticing that there’s a lot of paparazzi that are following celebrities around. Is that starting to happen with you and are people giving you help in having to deal with that? Because it’s kind of a strange atmosphere.
Georgie: It’s a strange feeling. I mean I’m only 12, but I’ve never really understood the concept of taking pictures of people who are in films and stuff. I still don’t understand it. We are getting a bit of that after 2005. But it’s good because our team are really supportive and they help us every time there’s a car. They’re like, “What do you want to do, do you want to go for it or do you want us to stop them?” It’s definitely a decision and you’ve got to make it together really.
Do you experience that back in England as much as here? Or is it more an American thing?
Will: I think it’s more here.
Will: Paparazzi is a very different thing from fans. They’re two different things, the paparazzi and there’s the fans. Like yesterday when Georgie was kind of upset because this guy had been waiting there for five hours, and I cannot understand that. If it’s the paparazzi and they’re making a profit out of your signature and your photo, that’s not why we’re in it. We’re just four normal kids. That sounds silly, but we really are. But if it’s like a kid, of course we’re going to sign it or do whatever we can. But if it’s the paparazzi and they’re making a profit out of it, then I definitely think there needs to be kind of a restriction there and our representation is really, really good for that.
Georgie: There needs to be ground rules, you know, there should be like a line for every single (well, we’re not celebrities) celebrity, that you don’t cross really, and no one’s crossed it yet really, have they?
Will: Yeah, I agree.
Georgie: So that’s good.
Georgie, it’s interesting watching this, it seems like your character in particular has a closer relationship with Aslan. Everybody is worshipful of him, but you seem to have that close, personal relationship with him. Why do you think that your character has that more than the other kids?
Georgie: I think that Lucy’s connection with Aslan has something to do with the fact that she’s the youngest. She’s always had a more open mind I think than the others. I mean she introduced them to Narnia and she got them caught up in the whole thing to start with. And because she has such an open mind and she’s very trusting. And I think Aslan sees that in her. And I think that he shows himself to her first because he knows that she will believe that he’s actually there. She won’t think, “Oh, it’s just some fleeting thing, it’s just some wild lion.” She just knew that it was Aslan and she knew that she had to do something and she didn’t let her siblings [glares at Will] beat her down [laughter] about her belief. And I think that’s why Aslan believes in her a bit more, and shows himself to her.
You said that the White Witch was scary, but we hadn’t seen anything yet until Miraz. Why do you think that?
Will: Well, because, to be quite frank, the White Witch is inhuman and Miraz is human. And whenever you fight a human, you’re fighting something that’s real, and it’s a lot more scary, I think it’s a different world. It’s one thing for instance to be afraid of a bear, but it’s another thing to be afraid of a human. You know, as scary as the White Witch is, Miraz is on another level. Especially working with Sergio Castellitto the actor, I mean, when I would do the fight scenes with him, his eyes were just… He’d be laughing and I’d be shaking! It was completely intimidating and definitely a step up as a villain to the Chronicles of Narnia.
Two-part question, have both of you read the books?
Georgie and Will: Yeah.
The question that everyone asks about the books and has asked for decades, kind of related to the one earlier. The paradox of the book is that Aslan is larger, yet harder to see, and that seems to be saying something about aging. Have either of you thought of what that message was all about?
Will: Yeah, I think that’s a really interesting question. But when we talk about seeing, I think it’s more believing. You know, you believe, and then you see. It’s not a question of… obviously I don’t want to go into the analogy of religion, but it’s obviously there. Aslan represents God. And people say every day, “Well, why can’t I see God? If he’s there why I can’t I see Him?” And Peter, Susan, Lucy and Edmund… well Peter and Susan mostly are asking, “Why didn’t I see him? Why isn’t he there? He’s this force, he’s this unbelievable being, and why can’t I see him, he’s this huge lion in a physical form.” Well, because you’re not believing. When they start to believe, when Peter really sees that thing of Aslan and really has remorse and repents almost, then he starts to see Aslan, then the magic starts to happen. And it’s almost like letting it in. You have to open yourself up, believe, and then you see. And I don’t think that has anything to do with aging, I think it has to do with — ’cause obviously looking at Georgie/Lucy here who’s much younger — I think it has to do with your strength to believe.
Well, based on that, what do you think caused Peter to not have faith in Aslan?
Will: I think Peter just feels very self-entitled. [laughter] I think his ego got on top of him, not like that’s ever happened to any of us before. But when you’re up, and he was definitely up and he was the High King, and then he got back to where nobody had any respect for him, he got into Narnia, nobody had any respect for him there — didn’t have a parade for him by any means. And then he thought he would do it without Aslan, he thought he could take it on. And I also think that using an example, Aslan took the fight from him, Aslan took the White Witch when he was fighting her and Aslan eventually saved the day. And so when Lucy says that one line, I think that resonates even stronger…
Georgie: He’s posh. [laughter]
Will: Right, right, he’s very, very posh. And so, I think he feels very self-entitled.
How would each of you describe your perfect Narnia?
Will: What’s your perfect Narnia?
Georgie: Perfect Narnia… I loved Narnia when it’s after Prince Caspian, and it’s the Telmarines and the Narnians and living harmoniously together. And you’ve got this amazing balance of magical creatures and then humans, who actually originally came from our world, which I think is a nice touch! And I really do love the fact that they do learn to get on and live together and that, “Narnia was never right unless a Son of Adam was king,” and all that, and it’s true! And I think that Prince Caspian does bring that…
Want to take a shot at the question earlier about why you think Lucy…
Georgie: I don’t remember the question, sorry.
I mean Lucy has more struggle seeing Aslan in this movie than the previous one. And once again, she’s older. And he says, “Things change when you’re older.” What do you think that was all about?
Georgie: I think when you get older your mind gets closed more. If you think about it, when you’re a child, everything’s new to you, your imagination is so amazing, you can play all these wonderful games and it’s such a lovely time. But when you get older, if you have an imaginary friend, it fades away, and you kind of grow up more and you stop playing those games, and I think that has something to do with it. But the thing is, Narnia isn’t a game, it’s a real world. And so although Aslan fades for a while, he comes back and he’s stronger than ever and he’s bigger than ever. And I love that saying, “As long as you grow, so shall I.” So when I grow, he becomes more mature and more big, and it’s like Aslan suits you, if you know what I mean, and Narnia suits you more. I don’t think that makes sense, but it made sense in my head. [laughter] But I think that’s it, it’s all about compatibility, and Narnia suiting yourself and your personality.
Did you have any conversations with Douglas Gresham about that?
Georgie: I haven’t! I’ve had conversations with Douglas Gresham about lots of other things, but not about that. I might give it a try! I’m sure he’ll be very interesting to talk to about that. Thank you.
Because he may have discussed it with Lewis.
Will and Georgie: Right, yeah.
That was what they used to talk about was the book all the time.
Will: Well, why not? And I think what Georgie’s saying is really interesting. And I don’t know if any of us have read [William] Blake here, but I think it’s all about innocence. And there’s innocence when you’re younger and there’s moments of deeper innocence when you’re older. And I think to that fact you know, “The Little Lamb” and “The Tyger,” both of those were about innocence and experience, and so I think that when Lucy’s younger she has an innocent outlook as do the other Pevensies. But when they come back they’ve had this experience and so they’re almost cynical, they’re more closed off, and they’re older, but they get more of a deeper innocence through their lesson. And we see that and Aslan sees that in them as well, and that also talks to the previous question as well — why they’re given their exit to Narnia nobly.
Georgie: Yes, and you’re also saying that about their being more cynical. I think that because they’ve been to Narnia before, they feel like they know Narnia better than anybody else because they ruled it, they know it better than everybody else. And then they come back to a completely different Narnia and I don’t think they can cope with that as well until the end. But they do come through there and save the day.
The four of you have obviously spent the last few years together and grown, judging by the chemistry on screen, have grown pretty close. Knowing that two of the four are not coming back for the next film, how hard was it wrapping that film as the “family” dispersed?
Georgie: Wrapping the film I think was ok because we do see each other here in New York and everywhere else, and we do get to that point where we’ve been seeing each other a lot for this movie and things. But I think it’s going to be quite hard because I started auditioning when I was seven and I met the others when I was eight years old and I’m thirteen in July. And I think that’s an amazing journey to spend with a group of people. And I think we all know each other so well. I could tell them lots of stuff about you [looks at Will] and you could tell them lots of stuff about me [laughter]. And I think that’s a really hard bond, a really amazing bond and I don’t think it will break — which is a really good thing! I don’t think it will be broken because you can’t break something like that abruptly if you know what I mean.
Will: I agree.
Georgie: We’ll still be friends. [laughs]
Will: For me it was really sad filming the final scene. I know it was one of our final sequences on set and I was the moment where I had the sword over to Ben, and Anna gives him a kiss goodbye and it was sad… [laughter] we won’t go into that… It was really sad for me and I said to Andrew you know, I felt like being emotional and he said, “No, just be stoic, just be stoic.” And I was like, “Ok, well I trust Andrew, he’s my director, I trust him 100%.” And then when I saw the film I knew why he did it, because we were ready. And at that point I was still thinking, “Am I ready to leave Narnia yet? As William, am I ready to leave Narnia?” It’s been a huge part of my life for six years. But now that I see the film, I do feel like I’ve moved on, I do feel like I’m ready for something different and ready for something new, and I know like Georgie said, our friendships will never… like whenever we see each other we just slip back into those dynamics again.
Georgie: It’s like an old Easter egg mold. You come out with it, and then Easter comes around again and you pop back into the mold, and then you bake your chocolate egg like you always have done, and it’s fine, and it all works very well.