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Pan Cast Talks Costumes, Characters and Neverland

Oct 06, 2015

By: Lynn Barker

In the new adventure movie Pan, we see a young Hook before he was a Captain, learn about Peter Pan’s first enemy Blackbeard the pirate and see that Tiger Lily is a female force to be reckoned with. Check out what Hugh Jackman (Blackbeard), Garrett Hedlund (Hook), newcomer tween Levi Miller (Pan) and Rooney Mara (Tiger Lily) had to say about their cool costumes, stunts, characters and what cool props they took from set.

Tiger Lily has secretsTiger Lily has secrets

Q: Levi, did you do any research on Peter Pan when preparing for your character?

  • Levi: This is an origin story, something that’s never been seen before and I had seen the Peter Pan films previous to Pan but no, I didn’t re-watch them. It’s the boy who can’t grow up and can fly but it’s a new idea. It’s him before he becomes Peter Pan so he could be anything. He’s a boy who lives in an orphanage.
  • I did discover the character throughout rehearsals. We had a little sheet of paper where we wrote down the qualities of Peter and that’s the fun thing about him. He has so many different personalities. He’s quite selfish although he is the brave hero of Neverland. He’s definitely selfish because what he is doing is all for his achievement at the end. Of course it’s for finding his mother but it’s for himself. I was excited to play with that.

Peter wonders if Neverland is realPeter wonders if Neverland is real

Q: Hugh how did you get into character as Blackbeard and how do your kids feel about the movie?

  • Hugh: My kids love it. They are 15 and 10 and are brutally honest and said “We actually like this one, dad”. And the ultimate compliment was “Can we have another screening? We want to bring our friends”. That’s how I knew they really loved it.
  • I always kind of wanted to play a role like this in this kind of swashbuckling, sword fighting, pirate sort of thing. I loved it. I had done a little bit of research about the real Blackbeard who is kind of amazing. He used to stick incense sticks inside his beard then light them before going into battle so it looked like his head was on fire! 90 percent of the look came from (director) Joe (Wright) and costume and make-up. I felt like 80 percent of my work had been done by this over-the-top, costume; ruffles, feathers, wigs. Blackbeard is a show pony and it brought out the ham in me which is not too far below the surface (laughter).

The flamboyant BlackbeardThe flamboyant Blackbeard

Q: Rooney, how did you go about creating your Tiger Lily character?

  • Rooney: A lot of it was what Hugh said.  A lot of it was done for us. We had a great script and Joe and an incredible costume, hair and make-up team and I really spent a lot of time with the stunt department learning how to fight so I could somewhat stand up to Hugh who is just good at everything he does. It took a lot of really hard work to come off as somewhat good at fighting. I spent a ton of time with the stunt department. We got quite a bit of rehearsal time, the three of us (with Levi and Garrett) spending a lot of time together. That was really helpful.  

Rooney as Tiger LilyRooney as Tiger Lily

Pan Official Trailer


Q: Garrett, talk about this Hook origin story. He’s young and different in this film.  

  • Garrett: When I first met with (director) Joe, obviously this origin story isn’t the Hook that everybody knows and loves and, in this version, Peter and Hook are allies so it’s an interesting take and I was quite curious when I met with Joe to see how he saw Hook. He said “I see him (as a cowboy). If he wasn’t in Neverland, he’d be at home on a horse on the prairie”. I thought it was super interesting. We had so much fun with it.

The more dashing Hook (Garrett Hedlund)The more dashing Hook (Garrett Hedlund)

Q: Why did you all take on these iconic roles?

  • Rooney: I wanted to do a film that my family could see where I don’t take my clothes off and I’m not getting horribly abused by someone. I grew up loving fairy tales and “Peter Pan” and getting to go to work every day and not take yourself so seriously and sort of play make-believe it was very different for me and something I needed and wanted to do.
  • Garrett: I’d never really seen myself being in a film like this. The evil side of Hook had been focused on, the side that everybody knows. It was dark material and goofy. Joe said “Be goofier with it. Give a maniacal giggle”. It was breaking a barrier. To be asked to be “bigger” or larger than life (was fun). We kept dying laughing in this room. Having done darker films like Rooney where you are sitting in your trailer stressing, not sleeping, not eating, this seemed like why not have an experience where we could have so much fun? Our souls need that and it’s refreshing. People would dance on set between takes.
  • Hugh: It didn’t feel as pressured as some of these big movies feel. We all understand pressure. It’s a beloved world it’s coming from. We felt free to play. I want to mention Levi. It’s his first film and he is amazing. Imagine working on your very first film and walking onto a massive set. It was fun make-believe and felt like that. Acting opposite Levi I got infected with that “Can you believe we’re being allowed to do this?” It was a sense of joy.

Can Peter Pan survive Blackbeard?Can Peter Pan survive Blackbeard?

Q: For Levi. How do you stay out of trouble as a kid actor?

  • Levi: Well, I’ve seen lots of child actors go off the rails and I don’t really want to do that. I just generally don’t want to do that so that’s my way of keeping (out of trouble).

Pan (Levi) at the helmPan (Levi) at the helm

Q: Is the internet the new Neverland?

  • Hugh: The internet is something I didn’t have as a child. Ultimately it’s an incredible tool. You can have any question answered. You can follow down whatever road you are curious about. My daughter is 10 and is playing with her doll house. Nothing is really going to replace the imagination and Neverland, as Joe puts it in the movie, is the world of a child’s imagination. The whole movie is seen from the viewpoint of an 11-year-old (Pan) and I don’t think anything can replace the limitlessness of our imagination. Sure, the internet is going to answer questions, you can go places you aren’t mean to go which is where kids go and have gone throughout time. But, nothing replaces the vastness of the imagination. What I love about this movie is that, as an adult, it made me feel like that 11-year-old kid again.

Peter is lost in NeverlandPeter is lost in Neverland

Q: So cool! Garrett and Levi, your costumes weren’t as complicated as Rooney or Hugh’s. How did wearing the costume help you get into character?

  • Garrett: I know my costume wasn’t as complicated but it became complicated when the rear of my pants ripped almost daily and maybe I was wearing drawers, maybe I wasn’t but I’ve got to thank the costume team for keeping it simple yet complex and thinly stitched. (laughter).
  • Hugh: The minute you see Blackbeard in those mirrors being dressed (it was amazing). Every film you have a dresser and I’m (usually) like “I can put on jeans” but this is a film where I’m like “I think we need an extra person” because there were layers upon layers and it was beautifully handmade and with handmade boots. It was astonishing the moment I put it on. He loves being Blackbeard.

Hook is a good guy?Hook is a good guy?

Q: Hugh, you sing a Nirvana song in this movie (“Smells Like Teen Spirit”). How did that work?

  • Hugh: It was Joe’s idea. When we were first trying it out there were some Warner Brothers executives visiting rehearsals. I looked over and I’m sure they were like “I didn’t know we were doing a musical” but that was the atmosphere of the set. We tried things. We all filmed it and we recorded separately in a London recording studio. They told me it was sounding a little “Broadway” so I had to do another take.

Hugh as larger-than-life BlackbeardHugh as larger-than-life Blackbeard

Q: What was the most challenging part of making the movie for each of you?

  • Levi: Challenging moments-wise for me was the first day of filming. It was when I was underwater for two days straight. The first day I didn’t really have the idea of the whole underwater thing. I had my eyes open for the majority of time underwater and, by the end of the day, they were bulging out. It was painful and they were sore but the next day I learned that you had to close your eyes between takes.
  • Rooney: For me the most challenging part of the movie was my fight with Hugh. I feel like we shot that fight for like four weeks and practiced it for way longer than that. It was my first time doing anything remotely like that and Hugh is an incredible dancer and fighter and was quite used to picking up choreography. He could just pick it up so fast. He could literally just keep going and going and going. He never got tired to winded and never complained and it was a really hard fight. It was like doing it on a balance beam. On the day it was time to shoot it we realized we had to be on wires because it was too dangerous to do it without the wires. That changes everything about your center of gravity and the way you move. That was fun but very challenging.
  • Hugh: That was physically challenging realizing that my big feet in these boots were going to be on a balance beam. It wasn’t easy but I think acting-wise it is challenge fun and the right tone for a movie like this. My character obviously is larger than life in some ways and loves the sound of his voice but sort of sad and full of menace. That balance was challenging.
  • Garrett: We had a fight sequence that also lasted four weeks on a trampoline. I’m still trying to make sure that my brain is positioned right in my skull. Yeah, same thing. Joe had an idea “My son loves this trampoline. How are you on one?”. I said that I grew up on one. “Joe, I’m really great on a trampoline. I can do multiple flips”. Then my opposer is like the number one martial artist in South Korea so I had my work cut out for me. As difficult as it was it was so fun. I’d always wanted to be in one of those slapstick kind of things where a guy who appears to be in control is just getting the shit beat out of him in a comedic way. It was exhaustingly wonderful.

Pan prepares to sword fightPan prepares to sword fight

Q: Rooney, was it cool to play a powerful female character?

  • Rooney: I grew up loving fairy tales but, unfortunately, in most of them, the female character is some kind of victim or damsel in distress. Tiger Lily wasn’t like that at all. She was more capable than the boys and she could fully take care of herself and then some and I really loved and appreciated that about the script and the part.

Rooney as Tiger Lily prepares for her fightRooney as Tiger Lily prepares for her fight

Q: Did any of you keep anything from the set?

  • Hugh: I kept Blackbeard’s pearl earring… for my wife. She loved it.
  • Levi: I got to keep the pan pipe which was awesome. That was a very cool thing to take.
  • Garrett: I kept Tiger Lily’s outfit (laughter). I wore it on set.
  • Rooney: You did? Do you have a picture? Will we get that on the Blu-ray? I want to see that.

Q: Levi, what was it like to see yourself on the big screen for the first time?

  • Levi: It was weird. I liked it. I enjoyed the film but it was a weird feeling seeing myself up on this gigantic screen after seven months of filming but I liked it.

The iconic flying pirate shipThe iconic flying pirate ship

Q: Rooney how was working with kids for you, especially with Levi. 

  • Rooney: I’ve worked with kids before but working with Levi was one of the great joys of being in this film. He’s so open and curious and he has no cynicism. He made it easy for us to come in and be excited and use our imaginations and to play make-believe. I find working with children, they don’t know how to lie yet. They are finding the truth in whatever they are doing so I get a lot out of acting opposite them.

Pan Movie PosterPan Movie Poster

Pan is in theaters starting October 9th