Georgie Henley and Will Poulter Go Dawn Treading
By: Lynn Barker
It’s been three Narnian years since the “Prince Caspian” adventure and now, in Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader,Lucy [Georgie Henley, 15] is a pretty teen joined in a new adventure by her irritating cousin Eustace [Will Poulter, 17] as they board Prince Caspian’s ship in a quest to again save the magical world…this time in 3-D!
At our interview in Beverly Hills, we’re noting that “little” Lucy has turned into a really pretty young woman. Georgie is wearing a lady-like, rose-colored Alberta Ferretti dress with pleats and tiers of ruffles and accessorizing with some majorly high heels from one of her fave English shops.
She’s hungry, apologizes and tears off small pieces of dinner roll and munches them daintily as we talk. Cute Will Poulter, who reminds us of the younger Leo DiCaprio, has blondish, spiked-up hair and is in a stylish gray suit jacket over a tee and dark jeans. Will is reaching over for candies in a bowl on our table. We tell him to dig in. He says:
- Will: Oh, don’t say that or I’ll eat them all and roll back to England!
Kidzworld: One of the themes of the novel and this film is overcoming temptation and conquering it. What would be a great temptation for each of you?
- Georgie: I’ve always wanted to do theater studies; study drama at my school and do exams in it and take it as a lesson and the biggest temptation for me would be to take up theater studies then get a really, really good job and have to say no to it.
Kidzworld: But you’re already an actress. Why study theater?
- Georgie: But I’m not very good. [Will disagrees here]Film is very different to theater. There’s tricks of the trade you have to learn. I’d hone my craft. But another weird temptation I have is that every time I go on top of a tall building, I want to jump off it! I want to feel the feeling of flying down so I think bungee jumping is something I should do. I can’t be trusted around tall buildings.
- Will: I think my biggest temptation would be to have a super power and not be able to tell anyone about it or use it in public in front of people. I watched loads of superhero shows when I was a kid and read comics and watched cartoons. I’d always think “Why don’t you tell anybody?” I’d be tempted to tell and show!
Kidzworld: Georgie, what inspired you to want to tell this particular Narnia story?
- Georgie: This is my favorite book in the series and it kind of inspired me to work really hard on it but also to take what I liked about the book and try and recreate it in the film. Also I really wanted to take all the stuff that I feel like I’ve learned on the other two films and use it to give Lucy and good farewell and send her off in style, hopefully.
Kidzworld: Why is it your favorite book in the series?
- Georgie: I love that it’s episodic and you come out of Narnia and get to visit so many different places and meet so many new things. I also like the fact that it’s so sad at the ending and so bittersweet as well. I think all the characters are really great. I think Eustace is really funny and Reepicheep is really great in that book and I love Reepicheep.
Kidzworld: And Will, how did you approach the film?
- Will: Well, not having been in the first or second one, I was a bit apprehensive at first coming into this new thing with an already formed, tightknit group of friends who’d experienced these two films with each other. I guess the greatest inspiration for me was the book itself. I think that it was for everyone. Everyone has stayed very true to the book. The director [Michael Apted] insisted on that.
Kidzworld: What was the most challenging thing for you other than being new?
- Will: To represent Eustace as he was in the book. Everyone has a vision of what he looks like and I’d messed that up before I stepped on set because he has dark hair. I was just nervous about that. You hate coming out of a film and hearing someone say “Oh I preferred the book”. You feel bad for them because they’ve been let down by the representation of something they might have grown up with. We tried to stay as true to the book as we could.
Kidzworld: Did the cast do anything to make you feel welcomed when you joined?
- Will: Everyone was so lovely. I got on so well with Georgie, Ben [Barnes] and Skandar [Keynes]. We had so much fun on set. I was so nervous, especially with the character I was playing. I don’t think anyone would want to spend much time around that person.But, they were so lovely and made it easy. They were really nice. But as soon as it was “lights, camera, action”, I was horrible and they were horrible back so it was all good. When we were off set, we were best of friends.
Kidzworld: How do you tackle dealing with all the CGI, like emotional moments with Reepicheep?
- Will: Coming into this, I had relatively no experience whatsoever with that so I was a bit nervous about CGI and how it worked. But I was very excited because I’d interact with Reepicheep and, obviously, turning into a dragon, CGI figured very heavily for me so it was really exciting and fun. I got to have a fight with Reepicheep when he wasn’t actually there….and I still lost! [we laugh]. Doesn’t say much for my sword skills. It was great to be part of a film in this exciting digital media time.
Kidzworld: How was it playing a character that isn’t very likable for much of the story. How did you make us care about him?
- Will: That’s a good question. It’s difficult to do. You detest the character but you somehow want to watch him. I hope I’ve answered that. I wasn’t sure how to play it but the script naturally lended itself to a more comical portrayal a little bit. We’ve just augmented the comedy that was already there. When he’s a dragon, he’s a different person so to speak. Reepicheep mentors him and shows him the error of his ways and how he can better himself.
Kidzworld: The dragon doesn’t speak but do you think he looks like you?
- Will: There were a couple of occasions where my movements were incorporated but, unfortunately, they made him look like me. I think he’s got my eyebrows. Some of my worst features, they’ve given the dragon. Poor guy. But the whole film and effects are so well done and the 3-D element will enhance that and make it a visual and well as emotional spectacle.
Kidzworld: Lucy is concerned that she’s not as pretty as her sister. What is the one thing that Georgie wishes she could change about herself?
- Georgie: Humm, I’ve got a few things. I’m quite annoying actually, without meaning to be. I try my best not to be but I get very excited about stuff. I get hyper. We have a travelling carnival coming to our town every year and it’s the highlight of my year. I love it so much I shake! But everyone has their physical insecurities. I’m not so happy with my face.
Kidzworld: Georgie, you were the little sister in the other films and now you are taking a bigger lead part. How did you feel about that or prepare for it?
- Georgie: I’ve always thought that, in the Narnia films, it’s really good that there’s never only one main character. It’s an ensemble cast. I still feel the same on this film but I think, because she’s the only girl, she does have more of a role to play in the ensemble; more of a significance. I think people forget that Lucy is the one who discovers Narnia and takes everyone into it. I loved the girl power and wanted to do my own stunts.
Kidzworld: Does being a star of these movies affect your life?
- Georgie: It has. I have two lives now. I come here [to L.A.] and feel very glamorous and talk about the film. Then I go home and I’m at school every day and it’s not changed at all. I have to tidy my room and be with my friends and family so, in that respect, my life hasn’t changed.
Kidzworld: Which actor’s career do you want to model yours after? Who do you think has made good choices?
- Georgie: I think Johnny Depp has a great career because he’s always chosen different genres and gone for the more outside roles. He’s never taken the easy option and that’s something I’d like to do. Also, I think people give Kristin Stewart some bad press but she’s made a very good transition from being with Jody Foster in Panic Room to now, she’s a fully-fledged and I think, talented actress and I think she does very well and deserves much better press and I look up to her career as well.
- Will: I think it would be someone who has made that transition from child to adult actor. That’s really inspiring. Like Leonardo DiCaprio.
Kidzworld: You remind me of him.
- Will: [brightening up]. Oh, you’ve made my year. That’s very sweet. This is too much! He’s my idol and Christian Bale as well, being an English actor starting out in Empire of the Sun//and now he’s Batman. What more could you want?
Kidzworld: Of all the lands and islands visited in the movie, which is the favorite for both of you?
- Georgie: Every single set was so great and creative but I think Magician’s Island is myfavorite. It was a huge, amazing garden and it was fantastic to be there. I spent a lot of my time in the library in the magician’s mansion there. It looks fantastic in the film. Nothing that you would see in this world. It’s so great and removed from reality.
- Will: I feel the same. It’s so beautiful and you’ve got the beach which is incredible and we all sleep on the beach by campfire. You see the Dawn Treader moored up farther out from shore and you go into the magicians’ garden which is wonderful and all these plants and trees have grown due to magic so they’re incredible shapes with these manicured lawns and there is this mansion and the inside was amazing.
Kidzworld: Can you tell us anything about the next film?
- Will: They aren’t sure yet if they’ll do the fourth book in the series or think aboutreturning to a time before “The Lion, The Witch” so we’ll have to see.