It was a bit surprising to learn that Peter Dinklage and Anna Popplewell would be doing interviews together to promote Prince Caspian. After all, 19-year-old Popplewell plays Susan, the oldest girl in the Pevensie family, and has been with the series since the beginning. Dinklage, on the other hand, is nearly twenty years older, and joined the movie for this go-round to play the cranky dwarf Trumpkin, who guides the Pevensies through the land of Narnia, which has changed a lot since their reign as kings and queens.
But as soon as the two sat down, it was clear they were paired together for a reason. They were totally on the same wavelength, finishing each others jokes and hamming it up for the collected crowd of journalists. It’s hard to transcribe much of it, but I want you to pay special attention to the point of the interview where Anna says “On Wednesdays we wear armor.” That might be the most intelligent Mean Girls reference I’ve ever heard. I think I’m in love.
Read below to hear about Anna and Peter’s adventures in Narnia, from practical jokes with the makeup effects designer to the quiet, noble suffering of the minotaurs. This wraps up our week of interviews with the Narnia players, but now you can go see The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, so get out there! But, wait—read the interview first, then go.
What was it like seeing the movie last night?
Peter: Well I thought, making the movie, that I was acting with a glowing tennis ball. Where did the tennis balls go? A talking mouse? He wasn’t there on set. No, it’s strange to see eight months of your life condensed into two hours, but I think they did a wonderful job. The effects are pretty brilliant, and pretty seamless. I need to see it again, though. I don’t have any sort of perspective on it.
Anna: I agree, I need to see it again, because you’re watching it and thinking, ‘Oh, that was nice…’
Peter: That was the day when we…
Anna: Yeah, so I need to see it again. But I was really excited. Obviously it was really great to see all the effects. As Pete says, you’re filming with a tennis ball, so it’s nice to know a mouse will actually be there on the day. I was really pleased with it. I think it’s really exciting to watch.
Anna, how was shooting this compared to the first one?
Anna: It wasn’t necessarily easier or harder, it was just different. The last one was big in terms of the scale, but this one was bigger. Even having experienced the huge scale of the first movie, I was surprised by how big everything was.
Was it more physically demanding?
Anna: Yeah. I wasn’t involved in any of the battle stuff last time around. To be the only one on the battlefield in a skirt is interesting. I made sure I did twice as much horse riding training before I got to New Zealand as the boys, because I didn’t want to get left behind. Of course I pretended that I’d had no training whatsoever.
Peter: I told them I would wear a skirt to make Anna feel better.
Anna, you’re one of the two kids we won’t be seeing again. What are your emotions?
Anna: [Fake crying] Oh, I’m gonna cry Pete! I mean, it’s bittersweet, the fact that Will and I won’t be involved next time around. I had my first auditions for this when I was 13, and I’m 19 now. So it’s been a big chunk of my life. I don’t want to play the same character seven times. I think people would probably get bored of it. It’s been wonderful, but it will be nice to move on too.
Peter, were you required to read all the Narnia books to prepare?
Peter: These are based on books?
Anna: Did you not get the memo?
Peter: No, they didn’t require us to read it. That would be funny. I read the first one when I was very young, and I hadn’t read any of the others. I guess I got distracted by Lord of the Rings or something at that age. Actually, Tolstoy at a young age, I got distracted by. But then, of course, when I was going to work on this, I read the book. And it was great. But I think the beauty of what Andrew has done, and I think it freaks out a lot of Narnia fans, because he’s not completely faithful. I think successful movies that are based on books are their own thing. I think if you’re too faithful, word by word, character trait to character trait, it can hurt the movie. Andrew has created—based on the books—but his own.
Anna: You’re making a movie. You’re not making a book.
Peter: But a lot of movies make a book, it seems.
Was it hard working with the four kids since they had been working together beforehand?
Peter: Yeah, they sort of kept me at a distance. They were like a little clique.
Anna: There was a little bullying at the start.
Peter: They treated me like a Narnian, which was weird. They had the Narnian table at lunchtime. We had the grubs and mushrooms.
Anna: On Wednesdays we wear armor.
Peter: No, no. I mean, thank God I wasn’t the only new character. We actually outnumbered them. No, they’re a great group, and I’m lucky to call them my friends. [Looks to Anna] Right? But you don’t return my calls. Or my thousands of letters.
Anna: Can we discuss this outside?
Peter: They were great, and thank God, because it was a long shoot. Long days. On a movie like this you need a good group of people around you. If I had any dirt, I’d give it to you.
Do you have any fun memories about pranks or anything like that?
Anna: Pranks? I don’t know. Oh, there was one funny moment—
Peter: One funny moment!
Anna: One funny moment, the whole seven months. No one laughed.
Peter: They’re British, they’re very proper.
Anna: There was one funny moment where we were filming a scene where a bear chases after Georgie, and Peter successfully kills the bear. And he got some kind of awful looking arrangement
Peter: From lunchtime, or something. Howard Berger had arranged something and just ripped this out, and scared the hell out of everybody. People laughed. On the day. Not now.
Anna: Not now, no. They don’t seem to think it’s funny.
Peter: Howard Berger, our makeup effects guy, would streak across set in a faun outfit and blue tights. He broke up a lot of the monotony.
Anna, what was it like working with Ben for the romantic scenes?
Anna: Ben’s really lovely. Kind of from the other perspective, the fact that the four of us were so close, we were nervous about the new characters in the movie, and who we would be spending this amount of time with. You want to have a good time when you’re shooting. I was completely delighted when I met Ben and Peter. They both have amazing sense of humor. We just had a riot, basically.
Peter, Warwick [Davis, who plays the dwarf Nikabrik] was in the BBC series of Narnia. Did he give you any advice?
Peter: He said ‘Stay out of my way.’ No, he’s great. Warwick is an old pro at these fantasy films and everything. Even if you don’t know it’s Warwick, it probably is Warwick underneath a lot of makeup. When you’re complaining, or when you have a bad day and you’re hot with the yak hair, you just look at him and he’s such an old pro at it.
Anna: And then you look at the minotaurs—
Peter: You look at the minotaurs, and they take off their hats and steam is rising off their heads. Warwick had more makeup than I did, obviously. On a movie like this, with the Narnians, you see people more with makeup than you see them out of makeup, and it was almost a shock to see Warwick sometimes at the end of a day being, like, 500 years younger.
Anna, can you talk about your last day on set, and how that felt?
Anna: My last day was actually with Pete, falling off the edge of the How, doing a 15 foot drop thing where Pete catches me.
Peter: That was my last day too. We were up on that sort of cliff, and the whole crew was beneath us. We said goodbye like 1,000 feet away.
Anna: My scene was appropriately surreal, to be spending my last Narnian shoot day jumping off some sort of cliff.
Anna, could you talk about the brother-sister relationship with the costars, and how it is to end now?
Anna: The four of us are very close. It’s very cheesy the way everyone says, ‘Oh, they’re like a real family,’ but there is a connection between the four of us. When people send people on summer camps or bonding trips, they send them to do things like high rope climbing or extraordinary things. And when you do extraordinary things with people, like fighting battles or simulating huge wars, you do bond very quickly.
Peter: It was Outward Bound with a camera.
Anna: It was! So I think we’ll keep in touch and stay friends. We stayed friends between the movies, I don’t see any reason why it’s going to stop now.