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The Nutcracker Interview Mackenzie Foy & Keira Knightley’s Girl Power

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms actresses play strong, female leaders.

Oct 30, 2018

By: Lynn Barker

In The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Mackenzie Foy (Bella and Edward’s daughter in the “Twilight” films) is Clara, a young woman on a mission in a magical world consisting of Four Realms; Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers, Land of Sweets and a dark land ruled by Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren).  First she has to realize her own power in order to brave this parallel fantasy world and find a key that will open a locked present left to her by her late mother. Regent of the candy-packed land is the Sugar Plum Fairy played with sugar-coated glee by Keira Knightley.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Trailer

The actresses spoke to reporters about their characters, mutual admiration and BFF status after bonding on the colorful movie set.

Mackenzie as Clara and Keira as Sugar Plum bonded on setMackenzie as Clara and Keira as Sugar Plum bonded on setCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: Were you familiar with the Nutcracker story?

  • Mackenzie: I’d seen the ballet when I was little. I would go and see it every once in a while during the holiday season. I always really enjoyed going to the ballet and seeing the (artists) perform. The ballet is so beautiful and the grace and strength that they can achieve is just mind blowing. Then, with the film, I was able to go deeper into the story with the book and all the different legends.
  • Keira: My mom took me to see it when I was about six or seven and I loved it but I didn’t like the Sugar Plum Fairy. I wanted to be the Mouse King. Then she bought me a sword and I used to run around pretending to be the Mouse King. Then I got a phone call as an adult saying “Do you want to play the Sugar Plum Fairy?” and I was like “I want to be a fairy, yeah!”.

Sugar Plum rules the Land of SweetsSugar Plum rules the Land of SweetsCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: Did you like the way she looks in the movie?

  • Keira: Yes but if you are playing a fairy you want wings and they made mine in the computer afterward so I still haven’t seen my wings yet. Not fair!

Clara meets the Sugar Plum FairyClara meets the Sugar Plum FairyCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: Tell us more about your characters.

  • Mackenzie: My character’s name is Clara and she is this young woman who is incredibly intelligent. She’s interested in mechanics and science and she finds herself just hopeless and sad because she has lost her mother. Her mother leaves her this gift and she finds herself in this world where she really discovers who she is.
  • Keira: The Sugar Plum Fairy is the regent of the Land of Sweets. Not the Queen but she’s the boss in the Land of Sweets which is definitely made out of a lot of sweets (candy). We go up in a balloon and that was amazing, a balloon basket with sweets all over it. It was like Fantasy Land for a kid.

Keira as the Sugar Plum FairyKeira as the Sugar Plum FairyCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: Mackenzie, Clara likes Phillip. How do they get together?

  • Mackenzie: Ah, Clara and Phillip… Clara meets Phillip as she goes into the Realms. Phillip is the Nutcracker and he helps her along her journey by encouraging her to be herself; to do everything she can. He’s there to help her. What I really love about their relationship is that he’s the hero and she’s the hero. They are the hero (together). They help fight Mother Ginger and save the day. I really love that.

Mackenzie and Jayden (Phillip) talk with their directorMackenzie and Jayden (Phillip) talk with their directorCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: How does Clara get started on her Realm journey?

  • Mackenzie: Clara finds herself in the Four Realms when she receives this mysterious gift from her mother and it is locked. So, she follows a string to find a key and then the adventure begins.

Sugar Plum gives Clara adviceSugar Plum gives Clara adviceCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: Keira, how does Sugar Plum know Clara?

  • Keira: Well, I was her mother’s best friend so I become her best friend as well and I’m just desperate for her to save our world because Mother Ginger is trying to destroy it.

Q: How does Clara react to Sugar Plum?

  • Mackenzie: When Clara first meets her she’s like “Whoa! Who is this?”. She is just amazing. She’s the Sugar Plum Fairy. She’s full of magic and so sparkly. She has wings and Clara is like “What is this world?” When she looks at Sugar Plum she is just fascinated by her and everything that she is and she just wants to listen and see what Sugar Plum has to say.

Clara and Sugar Plum dressed to impressClara and Sugar Plum dressed to impressCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: Keira, how did you approach playing her?

  • Keira: As an actor I like to do as much research as possible and there isn’t a lot of research that you can do about the Sugar Plum Fairy. I did go onto YouTube and watch as many different versions of her dance as I could and they were all amazing but I thought “I’m not a ballet dancer so I can’t do any of that.”  Then I thought, the most famous thing about the Sugar Plum Fairy is the theme, her music (she sings it). I thought “Wonder how I can get that in there? Maybe I can laugh it. (She demonstrates). Maybe her voice needs to match that. All you know is that everything about her has to be sugary and sweet. It’s a very silly character. So, I took my kids into a playground and there were some six-year-olds playing and I tried the voice out on these six-year-olds and they burst out laughing. Well, they are the audience so I thought “Well, I’ll do that then”.

Q: Mackenzie, how was working with Keira who plays her?

  • Mackenzie: Keira is amazing. I absolutely love Keira and being able to work with her and even just talk with her between takes, it was so much fun getting to know her. She is truly, truly an incredible person.

Q: Talk about Mackenzie Foy as Clara.

  • Keira: Ah, the brilliant and wonderful and amazing Mackenzie Foy plays Clara who is a very intelligent girl, an engineer, scientist and inventor who has to go to the Four Realms to save the world and that’s what she does. I loved working with her. Most of my stuff is with Mackenzie and with Jayden as well. It was just lovely to spend so much time with such an amazing young woman.

Phillip the Nutcracker played by Jaden KnightPhillip the Nutcracker played by Jaden KnightCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: How does Clara change while going through the Realms?

  • Mackenzie: As Clara goes through the Realms, all of the people that she meets, all of the challenges that she faces, they all unlock a different part of her that she didn’t know she had. So, as you go through the film with her, you are discovering who she is as she does. It’s really cool to see that journey.

Q: What will a younger audience take away from seeing the movie?

  • Mackenzie: I really hope that young people, when they see this film, see that they can be anything in the world as long as they believe in themselves. I hope that they see that there is magic and adventure in every part of the world.

Sugar Plum Fairy and Clara Character PostersSugar Plum Fairy and Clara Character PostersCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: What would be your favorite scene?

  • Mackenzie: It would be when Misty Copeland (ballerina) performs the ballet. She has a scene where she dances. I was very lucky to be in that scene and sit there and watch her perform. It’s probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

Misty Copeland dancesMisty Copeland dancesCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Q: What is really special about the film?

  • Mackenzie: What makes this film special is that it follows this young girl who is just a normal, ordinary girl who finds out that she is a princess and she goes on this epic, life changing adventure that’s full of magic and also heart.
  • Keira: Well the message is that a girl saves the world. She doesn’t get rescued. She does it herself. She rescues herself and she rescues everybody else as well. So the message is “Go on girls! Go and save the world!”

See The Nutcracker and the Four Realms in theaters Friday, November 2nd

The Nutcracker and The Four Realms Movie PosterThe Nutcracker and The Four Realms Movie PosterCourtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

What Do You Think?

Share your opinions with everyone!  Are you familiar with the Nutcracker story? Have you seen the famous ballet? Could you be brave enough to go into a strange, magical land and face the challenges there? Are you a fan of Mackenzie or Keira? Let us know by commenting below and writing about it on your Kidzworld profile page!