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Georgie Henley turned 15 years old this year, but many of us still think of her as little Lucy, the youngest of the Pevensie children and the first to discover the magical entrance to Narnia back in 2005's The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Back for her third and final Narnia film in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader both Henley and Lucy have grown up, participating in sword fights, helping man a giant ship, and maybe even the biggest challenge of all-- trying to live up to the beauty and grace of her older sister, Susan.
Last week I got on the phone with Henley to talk about all her experience growing up in the Narnia world, how it was to take things out to the open seas in Dawn Treader, the relationship Lucy's character builds with a younger girl stowed away on the boat, and how she feel knowing that she's moving on from the franchise (Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the last book Lucy appears in). Check out what she had to say below, and see Dawn Treader in theaters starting this Friday.
Both you and Lucy have grown up a lot before this film starts. What do you think has changed for her between Prince Caspian and this film?
Lucy is going through quite a lot of changes in this film. Also she's going through a hard time because she's not with the majority of her family at the moment. Her parents are in America with Peter and Susan, and she's stuck in Cambridge with Edmund. They're sharing a house with the most annoying, horrible cousin you could ever wish for, Eustace Scrubb. She had to grow up a lot quicker than she would have wanted to.
Do you feel like you've done that kind of fast growing up too?
I do feel like maybe I've grown up slightly quicker, but then again I don't, because I've always been the youngest on the film sets, and maybe I've been babied in some way.
In this one you're working with the younger girl who Lucy takes care of on the Dawn Treader. Was it fun for you to be the caretaker instead of the baby?
Yeah. Actually, I was pretty upset when I found out there was going to be the presence of a younger girl in the script, because I though "I'm the baby! What are they doing?" Then I kind of thought, "You know what, you're growing up now you can't do that role for the rest of your life." It was great to have a way of mentoring someone.
What kind of relationship did you build with her?
Arabella [Morton] was just like me. Narnia was her first big thing, and she was thrown into the deep end the way I had been. It was great to work with her, and she was just picking up stuff all the time and learning how to act and become better throughout the shoot. I think she learned a lot from being on the film set.
It's definitely something we hadn't worked with before. But I liked the film because it takes Narnia out of its comfort zone. It takes place on a boat, it takes place on islands we haven't even heard of before. Although it was quite challenging shooting in the water and on the boat, it was a really great experience and cool to be doing something different and fun and exciting.
What about when the painting has all the water shooting out of it at the beginning of the film? Was that as hard as it looks?
It was quite difficult. It's hard to think about your acting when you're having water squirting out of the painting in your face and the room filling up with water. You have that survival instinct-- you don't really want to put yourself underwater while the room is being submerged. You had to kind of overcome that and just be Lucy.
Am I right that you got injured in one of the sword fight scenes?
Yeah, it's a bit stupid actually-- I forgot to duck, so I got hit in the face by a fully grown man, which was quite interesting. It was awful actually, because he was the gentlest guy that I've ever met in my life. I got a black eye and a lot of swelling. I had to go to the emergency room unfortunately. I twas funny, I had to tell the nurse who was on duty, she said "How did this happen?" "i was hit in the face with a blunt instrument. It was a sword." I don't know what she must have thought of me.
If I'm remembering right Lucy hasn't really been part of the big battle scenes before. Were you relishing getting in on the action this time?
Yeah, I loved it. I've always been clamoring for Lucy to have more of an action girl role and have more stunts. But it's not really appropriate for an 8-year-old to be rung around stabbing people. It was great to become a more grown-up character but also on who could challenge the boys a bit, acquire some new skills along the way.
When Prince Caspian finished shooting you said you had a hard time ending it. How was it this time, knowing you're not coming back to Narnia?
It was very emotional, and something I had quite a bit of trouble with. It's a bittersweet moment. I'm very excited about what's to come, and I hope to be moving on to new things. But all good things come to an end. Also Narnia has taught me everything I know about acting, and I wouldn't be anywhere without it.