When you’re doing a junket and two actors come into the room together, it’s sometimes a frustrating experience—one will take all the questions while the other sits back, or sometimes they’ll even joke with each other rather than answer anything. But with Georgie Henley (who plays the youngest Pevensie, Lucy) and William Moseley (who plays the oldest, Peter), who have been working together for the last four years on the two Chronicles of Narnia movies, it’s like hanging out with your favorite younger cousins. The two are clearly comfortable with each another, passing questions between them and throwing nudges and knowing glances once in a while. When Georgie refers to William as being like her older brother in real life, you believe it.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian will be the last Narnia film for Moseley—older siblings Susan and Peter don’t appear in the next book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and won’t be added for the movie. But Henley will continue on as Lucy, joining Skandar Keynes as Edmund and Ben Barnes as Caspian. Prince Caspian opens this Friday, and all this week we’ll be featuring interviews with the people behind the movie—check later this week for Anna Popplewell, who plays Susan, and Peter Dinklage, who plays the dwarf Trumpkin. We’ll even hear from director Andrew Adamson before the week is out. But now check out what two of the Pevensies have to say about learning to ride horses, getting recognized in airplanes by Italian girls, and hugging not one but two men dressed up in a lion costume.
How was it seeing the movie for the first time last night?
William: I was actually very scared when I was going up the escalators. It was really stupid of me, because I ate a huge, salty burrito before I came into the cinema, and I was feeling slightly sick. But as soon as I sat down, you know, Andrew creates Narnia—our director creates Narnia. From the first music through the whole thing, I was just locked in to this fantastical world. I feel so fortunate to be a part of something that I think is a beautiful film. I was watching it thinking, ‘How lucky did I get to get that part?’ It’s nice to see all the work has paid off. I don’t know, what do you think Georgie?
Georgie: For me it was just mind-blowing. We were all so nervous. We didn’t have any expectations, because we didn’t want them to get broken or beaten down or anything. Then I went in, and from the title sequence, like William said, I was just gripped. You don’t really realize when you’re filming it, it looks so different from the outside. You can’t tell at all what it’s going to look like. I just thought it looked brilliant. I dreamt about it. I went to sleep last night, and I replayed the film all through my head.
How was filming this one compared to the first film?
Georgie: Because I’m older this time, I felt because I’ve grown, Lucy’s grown. It’s a lot easier for me to portray her, because I could basically be myself, but change her a bit. The action side of it I was very happy about. I love doing stunts and things. And I got to ride, which was amazing,
William: The physical aspect I completely immersed myself in and embraced. I worked very hard on a one-on-one level with the stunt coordinator. I was running eight miles every other day, working out in the gym for a couple of hours on top of that. I was just thinking, ‘My body was in such good shape last year!’ Actually, on an emotional level it was a lot harder. In the first one, I really essentially played myself—the older brother trying to do selfless things. But now Peter is much more angry, much more frustrated, headstrong and self-entitled. And I really had to get in touch with all those angry emotions and take it out on my fellow little siblings, which wasn’t easy at times. On an emotional level it was harder, but on a physical level I think it was actually better.
How long does it take to choreograph the fight sequence?
William: It took two weeks. To choreograph it, the stunt coordinator taught it to me probably in a day, or half a day I learnt it. But then to film it took two weeks. They actually cut a lot of it out, because there was some really intense fight stuff in there. You guys really do seem to have a familial bond. Do you think about it, or do you just feel its natural having shared this experience?
Georgie: I think the reason we have this bond is because in my family I’m the youngest—I have two older sisters, I’m the baby. And in Will’s family he’s the big brother. I love it, because I’ve got two older sisters and I don’t have a big brother. And having Skandar and Will around it’s like I’ve got two big brothers. Especially Will—he’s always there if you want to have a cuddle on set, which is lovely. When you’re feeling down, Will’s always there, and he’s always happy, unless you’ve just done a shouting scene. I think the reason why we all have this chemistry and bond is because we’ve basically grown up together, almost. We’ve spent years together. It’s crazy, isn’t it?
Georgie, when you’re hugging Aslan, who are you hugging, and how do you imagine it’s really him? And just in general, how is it working with creatures who aren’t really there?
Georgie: As an example, when I’m hugging Aslan, I was hugging Shane Rangi, who actually played the main minotaur in Prince Caspian. Then he went home, and Howard Berger, head of prosthetics, actually stepped in, put the lion’s head on. It was a very funny picture. It was a lot easier this time, but I think the funniest thing was Reepicheep, because he’s just like a little bundle of fun. He’s always darting around, and you’ve got to look for him and things. That is, I think, what CGI is about—having the intelligence. As long as you can see that intelligence, I think you’re good.
William: With the last one, it was a lot more of that—it was a lot more imagining things. Obviously we were fighting humans this time, we weren’t fighting mythical creatures. There was definitely that real element. On every level this was a step up. If they wanted to go to a location that was in the middle of nowhere with huge mountains, they wouldn’t CG it. They would take us there. They would fly us in, in helicopters. If they needed a castle, they wouldn’t CG a castle, they would build it. For us as actors it was actually more of a sensory experience, because we were immersed in these locations and sets that were just out of this world.
What about the costumes? You must have loved that.
William: I did love the costumes. What was funny, on the first one my battle armor was quite rigid, and I felt sort of like I was a robot. In the next one they really freed it up, really made it much more agile for me, so I could pull more of these crazy stunts.
Georgie: I’m a girly-girl at heart, and I definitely like dressing up in all the lovely costumes. What I loved about this costume was, it was like William said. Because I was doing some stunts and some riding and things, they had to adapt the costume, which made me feel really special. It actually wasn’t a dress, it was a bodice and a skirt which looked like a dress. I had culottes instead of a full skirt. It was all adapted to make me feel very, very important, and very warrior like, which I was very happy with.
Were you already a rider? Either of you?
William: My mom used to send me as a punishment on a Sunday to horse riding classes, because we were so loud, 8 year olds, we were so loud in the house that she would send us there. I was really put off by horse riding, it seemed boring to me. When I got the part in Narnia they actually sent me to the same horse riding camp, which was very, very different this time. I really enjoyed it.
How did your lives change after the first one came out? Did you get recognized on the street?
Georgie: Well, when we come to places like here, like New York, I have had people recognize me in the past couple of days. The thing is that I go home, and I go back to the north of England. I don’t live in London, I go back up to Yorkshire. To everybody there, I’m just Georgie. I’m not looked at as the girl who’s in the film, or the film star, or anything like that. Everybody knows me as myself. But I did love switching on the Christmas lights in my town. That made me feel very special.
William: My life has dramatically changed, I really have to admit. I remember thinking when I was younger—we used to take holidays to Spain and France, and I just thought I was never going to get further than Spain or France. I really didn’t when I was younger. And then I started auditioning for Narnia, and the first thing when I got the part was go straight to New Zealand, halfway around the world. I just feel so lucky to have this opportunity, and to be here, in New York, and to be traveling back and forth. I think, out of all my friends, I’m the luckiest one. But also I’m really hard working. You’ve got to create this good energy to go with it. You’ve got to be thankful for what you have.
Do people recognize you?
William: Sometimes they do. It happens in airports. And when I pay for my own flight, I don’t fly upper class, I fly economy. So I’m sitting there with the newspaper and a bunch of Italian girls recognize me.
Georgie: Someone’s got to be recognized by Italian girls, William. It’s a hard life.
William: It could be a lot worse.
William, how did you feel when the film wrapped, since your character is not coming back?
William: It was actually a really emotional moment. I remember the very last shot we did. It was a battle scene, and we’re all running down, all the Narnians. It was a really empowering moment—it sounds really weird, but the sun was setting, this beautiful sunset in the Czech Republic. We were all just running, the whole cast down this hill. It just felt like were bound for this very, very last moment. It sort of immortalized our experience together. It embodied everything we’d been through. It was sad, but I felt like I was ready to move on at that point.
As you all did your last shot together, was there a feeling of sadness?
Georgie: It’s weird, because I finished filming a bit earlier than everybody else, because I wasn’t in some of the battle. I think my last shot was on one of the last scenes in the movie, when we’re actually saying goodbye, which was quite hard for me. I know it wasn’t goodbye forever. I wasn’t that sad—I did have a bit of a cry, but I knew because we’ve grown up together and we’re such good friends, that’s a bond that you can’t break as easily as just saying goodbye to someone. I think we’ll be friends for a long time, all of us. Will and Anna, even though they’re leaving.