Ifans, Friel, and Rowe Talk "Neverland"

By Jamie Ruby

NeverlandThe all new Syfy original miniseries Neverland, which debuts Sunday December 4 and concludes Monday, is a prequel to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. The show was written and directed by Nick Willing, who previously directed Syfy's mininseries Tin Man, and also Alice, for which he served as writer as well.

The imaginative miniseries stars Charlie Rowe (Pirate Radio) as young Peter Pan, Rhys Ifans (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1) as James Hook, Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies) as Captain Elizabeth Bonny, and Keira Knightley as the voice of Tinker Bell.

Rowe, Ifans, Friel, and Willing recently talked to the media about the upcoming show.

Syfy Conference Call
Charlie Rowe, Rhys Ifans, Anna Friel, and Nick Willing

Monday, November 14, 2011

Charlie RoweQUESTION: Anna, when you grew up, were you a fan of Peter Pan? Did you think about it much? And when you thought about it, in your mind, did you think that you'd be playing Wendy or playing Tinker Bell? How surprised are you that you're playing the Captain - the pirate captain?

ANNA FRIEL: Yeah. I've grown up with the story. I've seen it in many versions and watched all the films and having a six-year-old daughter, encourage that much more 'cause she's a musket fan. And I love the new take on this story and the introduction of a very new character. And Wendy was never my favorite and apart from her, there were never any female roles to be offered in this wonderful story so I was very grateful to Nick for creating one.

QUESTION: Rhys, you're quite a swordsman in this thing. Did you have to learn the swordplay for the part or had you picked it up already?

RHYS IFANS: I'd kind of done it many years ago in (unintelligible) school and there were several injuries so I wasn't a great swordsman but I guess (unintelligible) it was really exciting to fight Anna and Charlie. It's quite a fill and, initially it took some time to pick it up again but as the shoot went on, rehearsal times got less and less and less. So it's more of a dance than a combat.

QUESTION: Did you grow up as Peter Pan fan? Had you thought about playing in Peter Pan some time?

RHYS IFANS: Not so much the novel but I was familiar with the many variations and gazes that the story was being presented to us over the years, be it on film or on the stage or (unintelligible) feature.

I think everyone in the western world has been touched by Peter Pan in some way in their life. It was a thrill to have a lot explained as Nick has so eloquently done in this film.

SCIFI VISION: Nick, what made you decide to write a prequel rather than do a remake or whatever? How'd you come up with the idea?

NICK WILLING: I was interested in the genesis and how it is that a boy doesn't want to grow up and I was interested in how it is that it ended up in a place called Neverland and what that was and why there were pirates and fairies and Indians there. When I read the book I loved it so much that my imagination ran wild and I wanted to know more of the facts story and I thought that would make quite an intriguing movie.

SCIFI VISION: And for the rest of you, how did you become involved in the project?

ANNA FRIEL: Charlie, you go first. It's your story.

CHARLIE ROWE: I've worked with Nick a long time ago on my very first job when I was nine and so the minute I heard that he was directing and he'd written this, I just wanted to get involved. So originally I was going up for the part of Fox, Peter's best friend. And I went out for that and I wasn't too keen on it.

And then I read the script and I was like "Mum, I just really want to go out for Peter." And then the next day Nick called and was like I want you to go for Peter. And so that was just absolutely amazing and I got the part eventually and I'm so glad I did. Thank you very much Nick.

NICK WILLING: Yeah. I knew he was good but because I had worked with him before, I thought I can't work with him again. There must be some other kid out there. I must have seen 400 kids and then finally right at the end he walked in for Fox and I went ah, (unintelligible). That's Peter Pan.

So I should have gone with my first instinct, you know?

ANNA FRIEL: I loved it and it was one of the best things I'd read. I loved the whole fantastic element of it. I loved the idea of playing a baddie and then a female baddie and introducing a new character. So it was a great stage with which to write with and I had a conversation with Nick on the phone and he spoke so eloquently about the story and what he intended to do with it and how to work within that (unintelligible) and how he could make that world become true and told me that it would be one of the most fun shoots I ever did. And it ended up being that.

RHYS IFANS: Yeah. And I'd like to reiterate what Anna said. I hadn't met Nick. I was sitting in a bar in a beautiful village in Spain and I received this script and read it in one go and that's my measuring stick for any script. If you don't put it down, it's worth considering and then Nick pretty much said the same to me that it would be a joyous (occasion) telling a beautiful story and a story that explains another story that we're all familiar with.

And from a personal level - Nick's version goes a long way into describing the Hook we see in the novel into this - painting his psychosis and his arrival at the embodiment of evil.

QUESTION: Nick, you have so many incredible cast members. Can you talk about the casting process and also if you wrote the story with any actors in mind?

NICK WILLING: [For] the part of Hook I really wanted Rhys from the beginning. Because the thing about Rhys is that he's one of the few actors that is incredibly powerful and imposing on the screen but at the same time shows a certain vulnerability.

And if Hook as villainy could seem vulnerable, that would be cool I thought. And so I kind of had in my mind this tall figure or Rhys, I have to admit.

Anna too was - I know it sounds weird but in fact, when I cast a movie, I always think who would be the best person and I just try and go for them and if I get them, that's fantastic. I've always been very lucky with this.

Bob Hoskins, too, I thought I'd love - because I've seen him obviously in Spielberg's version. To me he was the embodiment of Smee. I couldn't get him out of my head when I was writing and I always imagined that he'd be perfect for Smee and indeed he said yes. So I kind of got three hits.

And then with Charlie, I've just told you that story. It turned out to be perfect. So we were very, very lucky or at least I was very lucky to get all the people I dreamed of and it's proved to be true.

One of the things about making this film was that it was quite a collaborative process in all. There's a little team and working with these actors are perhaps one of the better experiences I've ever had.

QUESTION: Rhys, Anna and Charlie, can you talk a little bit about the challenges of putting your mark on characters that people are so familiar with?

CHARLIE ROWE: Yeah. It was my first proper big part and I was more scared about actually being any good at acting. But I was lucky on set to have Rhys and Anna, who really taught me a lot. I'm very grateful for that.

I felt that I went into doing the show as just a little kid really, a little child actor, and I think I've come out as an actor; or I'd like to think so anyway.

And also I - looking at Nick and being around Nick all the time, I realized that he was this character Peter that he'd written about. So I just used to look at how he was behaving and just replicated it, really.

ANNA FRIEL: Nick's really set the tone for it also and he wanted individual and unique performances because it was part of the story that we'd never heard before and particularly from my character. She was completely created and invented and it's always hard to play or accept a character to play that people will maybe not like and to play it badly. And Nick and (unintelligible) may go as far as you want with that and we had a great rehearsal process in which Rhys and I played around a lot.

You know, the different characteristics and how those two came together and what made Hook be intrigued by this incredibly powerful woman who used her prowess and her femininity to get what she wanted.

Rhys IfansRHYS IFANS: Just to pick up on what Charlie said, both Anna and I have said and I'm sure Nick would agree, that I was not working with a boy. I was working with a professional actor from the very beginning to the very end and then I can put my hand to my heart and say he is one of the most professional, eloquent young men I've ever, ever worked with so that was a pleasure from the (oft).

CHARLIE ROWE: Thank you very much.

RHYS IFANS: I think his performance - you're welcome. And you see him - you see the character he plays become - you just see this huge change in the character he becomes. He develops and gets all these new addled emotions and struggles with the morality that Hook and Bonny present him with and I think it's a really, really mature performance.

So throughout, between him, Anna and Nick, I felt in the safest hands I've ever felt.

QUESTION: I just wanted to ask Nick to follow-up and add a little bit. I was fascinated when Charlie said that Nick really is Peter in some ways.

What things about Peter do you associate with - that seems like they've hooked you for a long time? What is it about the character?

NICK WILLING: Well first of all I should say that I'm a bit older than Peter.

ANNA FRIEL: No, you're 18, Nick.

NICK WILLING: Physically.

I'm 17 - yeah. I was going to say in my head I'm still very much 17 so in my story one of the things that interests me about growing up is how you at certain vulnerable ages look for your heroes and in men to emulate.

And they're not usually the heroes that you're supposed to follow. And that is part of the nature of growing up. And I was interested in telling a story about a little boy who wants to grow up and emulate his hero.

But what if your hero isn't quite grown up himself? And still has a hankering in his past and it's something romantic and so on. So that to me resonated because even though I'm 17 and all grown up, I've got to enjoy the world and discover what it is to be grown up.

I try not to identify with Peter Pan but unfortunately it turns out that I probably am quite a bit like Peter Pan.

QUESTION: [Nick, how long have you] been working on this project and why [did you] do it for television and not as a big screen movie? Because it seems to me that the film has all those production values that one might expect in a movie so I wondered what the thinking was around that.

NICK WILLING: One of the things about doing it for television, and particularly working for the Syfy network as I did, is that they allow me to take great risks and experiment and try new things and they also are brave enough to go into dark areas which sometimes it's more difficult to do for the big screen.

If this was a big movie I think I'd wrestle with 50, 60, 100 executives just to write the script, let alone make the movie. And one of the things that I felt in making this movie is an enormous amount of freedom and that freedom comes from working with the Syfy network in particular, but also working in television.

Television currently in America I feel is a medium that is taking the greatest risks and trying new things. And so that's one of the reasons I did it for TV.

And how long have I been thinking about it? I started ever since I read the book in one way. But only in the last couple of years have I had the confidence to take on such a massive thing.

It is a very famous and loved book and so it's only since I've become a bit older and made films like Tin Man and Alice. These are the films I've made recently. But I had the courage and confidence to take on something of this size, magnitude.

QUESTION: So you've worked on all of these Syfy films based on literary classics which all have huge, hardcore audiences. Do you ever get input or feedback from those hard core fans of the books?

NICK WILLING: From the hard core fans of Peter Pan?

When I was writing the script, I didn't get much feedback. I didn't know where they were. I didn't know to get in touch with them. I suppose I should have put out a - no.

I mean the thing about writing is that it's very, very difficult anyway. I find it very difficult. And it's a struggle and you have to keep rewriting and rewriting and rewriting and so you have to have a very clear vision and direction and focus.

If you have too many influences, you kind of get lost I think; or at least I do.

QUESTION: Do you have any favorite aspect of the original Peter Pan book that you were able to explain the origin of in this film?

NICK WILLING: I particularly was taken by the relationship between Peter and Hook and that was the thing that in this film I - well with Rhys and Charlie, and in fact Anna is an enormous part of that.

One of the reasons I wanted to create a character like Anna the pirate queen you see in our film is tough, slightly crazy, extremely dangerous, nasty but you want her. She's irresistible. It's a quite difficult part to cast but Anna is absolutely perfect in that role.

And so one of the things that I was most interested in is how it is that the relationship between Peter and Hook came about.

QUESTION: I'd like to find out from each one of you what's your most favorite and least favorite thing about working in the fantasy genre?

ANNA FRIEL: The most exciting was having a real ship to work on. I loved the aspects of it. Go on.

CHARLIE ROWE: And I think my favorite aspect of it is the fact that you can create magical things and mesmerizing and unforgettable creatures and worlds and beautiful, beautiful things. But I suppose my least favorite is just the color green.


NICK WILLING: That's very funny.

ANNA FRIEL: And the fact that we started off in a real environment, on a real ship. We were able to suspend all disbelief much more easily when we came to work and on so much green screen and also Nick really cleverly gave us fantastic visuals of what we would be seeing and what we'd be looking. So it was kind of like being a child in the most fantastic dress up box you could ever imagine or wish to have and it was all about play - what we do.


CHARLIE ROWE: My favorite (unintelligible).

RHYS IFANS: For me too. It was just the whole transporting feeling that making the film. We shot it in Ireland so we felt far away from everything. We felt pleasantly isolated and left alone so we were able to indulge and invent this just absolutely, you know, this visual banquet that Nick's created. And really indulge that and play in it.

And the thought and knowing that no one's going to have to leave the comfort of their own home to be transported to such a magical place and I think that's what the novel does.

When you read the novel, it very much happens in a household and a bedroom and living room. That's the emotional HQ. And I think that's what - just to go back to what Nick said before about television. Also doing it with television, it offers you more time to explore.

I don't think if we'd have shot this - if this was a 90 minute movie feature, we wouldn't have been able to explore half the psychological dynamics that Nick has been able to in a TV three-hour epic.

So it was just a thrill just from beginning to end.

NICK WILLING: Yeah. Yeah. I have particularly enjoyed working on this film. I had more fun than I've ever had working on a movie.

I've done a few fantasy films and the honest answer to what it is that I love most about the nature of fantasy movies is imagining worlds. Imagining new worlds - the wonder of feats that you could walk into some of these extraordinary places. That's what keeps me going.

The thing I hate most on the other hand is how expensive that is and how difficult it is to achieve often and how sometimes it has to be done on a green screen and so on but the end result, if it works out, is what fills us with the most pleasure.

And you can't do that with any other medium. Fantasy is the only thing which allows you to invent and create and imagine worlds that are not there fully.

QUESTION: So Anna, a lot of people know you for your great work on Pushing Daisies. With that and with Neverland, you were given the opportunity to build these great characters from the ground up. Is that preferential for you as an actress or would you rather have a little bit of back story?

Anna FrielANNA FRIEL: Well, I think when you're given something new it's always exciting because you're the first one to do it so you're not having to live up to any expectations or be compared to anyone who's ever done it before. You know, there's pros and cons for both of them.

You can watch the Peter Pans or watch the Hooks and try and do variations on them, which I think in this case Rhys or Charlie did. They completely did their own invention of age-old characters in story telling but for me, I always like a challenge. And I like to have things that excite me and something new and a little bit of a fox to be taken and I've never played a character like this before.

As I said before, it's always hard playing a character that people necessarily won't like and that is a role and the job of Hook. And I think that the fact that Nick wrote a very complex Hook and gave him a back story and where did his dark side come from and to be influenced by a woman was quite an interesting thing to look at.

QUESTION: Rhys and Charlie, conversely when you do take on these very iconic characters, what is the dichotomy or how do you break it down between your level of excitement? And is there any level of intimidation, perhaps?

RHYS IFANS: Well, in Hook's case the boots that you have to fill are literally big because there have been so many Hooks and each and every one of them has worn big boots.

ANNA FRIEL: I took your hair, thank goodness Rhys. You didn't have the original Hook hair. Bonny got that look.

CHARLIE ROWE: Bonny got good curls this time.

RHYS IFANS: It wasn't intimidating. Because it was a back story, I just (unintelligible) over maybe every other Hook throughout history had been thinking of subtextually. So I just played everyone's subtext and so and I hope they're grateful for that. It was really hard work.

CHARLIE ROWE: I would say extremely excited when I got the part. You know, danced around my house for ages. But I was hugely nervous of the fact that every single boy and girl around the world had grown up with this magical story and every boy has played with their wooden swords in the playground with their best friend being Peter Pan and Captain Hook. And so like Rhys, we both had huge boots to fill and I was very nervous about it.

I hope people like the character that I've tried to create because I don't - as Anna has said before, he isn't Peter Pan, this boy. He's a completely new character that we've never seen before. I hope I did him justice.

QUESTION: Nick, in your own words, can you explain what Neverland is and what it's about?

NICK WILLING: It's a story of where Peter came from, who he was. Where the lost boys came from, how they ended up in Neverland and what Neverland is and why it's full of pirates and Indians and fairies and crocks and why it's magical and why it is that Peter doesn't want to grow up.

QUESTION: And to turn to you Anna, Rhys and Charlie, can you explain in your own words who your characters are, what their roles in the particular adaptation are that you play?

RHYS IFANS: Well I would say that Hook is a damaged man who is liberated by badness.

ANNA FRIEL: And Bonny is a very bad woman who's liberated by Hook.

CHARLIE ROWE: I think Peter's just a boy who wants to live, really, and I suppose be incredible. He wants to be Hook and that's why going to Neverland is so interesting because of the whole aspect of not being able to grow up.

RHYS IFANS: Good answers. Wow.

ANNA FRIEL: Do you want more detailed answers or is that enough? We kind of gave one liners there. That's not fair for you.

NICK WILLING: That's really good. No. That was good answers.

QUESTION: First Nick, after reimagining both Alice and Wizard of OZ and now with Neverland you're adding to the (solidity) of Peter Pan. Do you have a preference for recreating or reimagining these stories or (unintelligible) Peter Pan which is kind of flushing them out more?

NICK WILLING: They're all very difficult for me ,these films. The Tin Man was...more a kind of reimagining of that world in a modern setting. Alice was me going crazy and creating my own story around what I imagined Wonderland would be like today 150 years old.

While this is the first time I've really tried to do a more traditional prequel to a fantasy story could be plausible - a plausible part of the mythology of Peter Pan. And so they were all daunting because they're all incredibly revered stories.

But one of the things I think people appreciate is that if you keep that story alive, keep reinventing, keep trying something new, keep making up your own stories around that famous story, then you always go back to the famous story itself and you keep that something that we all treasure alive for longer. That's how I see it.

QUESTION: Are there any other classic stories you'd want to adapt or would you have any interest in - assuming that Neverland does great, would you want to actually do Peter Pan proper with this cast?

NICK WILLING: Why? You've got some money? We'll give you a pretty good deal. I'll give you a very good deal.

I don't think I'd go back to Peter Pan because I don't know that I could find - I don't know. I don't think so. But there are other stories that I'd love to explore - other worlds.

You're talking to a guy that actually lives in a fantasy world. In my case, I live in many fantasy worlds. I live in Neverland, Oz, Wonderland. So for me it's an intense and vicious pleasure and the longer I can live in the fantasy world, the better for me.

ANNA FRIEL: It feels like (unintelligible) genre. You know, that there were vampires for the last few years and now it feels that the reinvention of fairy tales are coming too. And everyone's got a fascination with the retelling of those stories. I don't know (unintelligible) to name but a few and also the love of the prequel now because the story - what came before, where was the writer's head when we arrive at the beginning of these wonderful stories.

QUETION: What were some of the challenges involved with playing a female pirate captain that was so watchable and likeable but still had her tough edge and still wasn't going to take crap from anybody?

ANNA FRIEL: Oh, I love that you said watchable and likeable. That's good. I suppose I did my job if you think that.

Get into really tight, tight leather trousers everyday and those corsets. I'd say physically that was the hardest thing and learning to use a sword as being - and wrapped up in that tight corset. Being on the - what they call it when we did - you know, we hung from on the - it's wasn't a trapeze. No.

The harnesses. At least I didn't have to fly. I know that must have been the hardest thing for Charlie. I didn't have to fly.

I don't look back at these scenes and think of anything being hard. I just found it fantastic fun. Maybe with the wind machines, keeping the musket hats on. I have nothing but really fond memories of it. I feel like remaining likeable wasn't my aim. It wasn't really something I had to do. It was just becoming the character and finding an action that made us feel that she came from the 1700s.

And also I think my biggest question to Nick - when I accepted it I said "But how am I going to be believable as small as I am that I'd run this ship surrounded by these huge, massive burly men. Who's going to take me seriously?"

And Nick said "Well, go online and research female captains and pirates." And I did and came across a wonderful one called (Granuale) who I've since become kind of obsessed with. And it's a story that we don't know but at that time so, so many years ago, there were certain women who ruled the seas.

QUETION: Anna, could you tell us a little bit about your role of Captain Bonny? [She's] the pirate queen and she's completely a new character. I'm just wondering what you can give us about or (unintelligible) about the story.

ANNA FRIEL: Have you seen it?

QUESTION: Unfortunately no. I've only seen a trailer and it looks really interesting ma'am.

ANNA FRIEL: I'm not passing the buck but I think if I hand that question first of all to Nick who created it, he will answer it far more eloquently and articulately than I and then I will tell you the bits that I feel. But he created the character and I think, Nick, it would be nice for you to explain why you chose to create Captain Bonny and I'll say what I did to embody that.

NICK WILLING: Okay. Very briefly Captain Bonny is an incredibly beautiful, vivacious, rather nasty, slightly twisted and irresistible captain of the Jolly Roger. You probably think that the captain of the Jolly Roger was Michael James Hook but no. It is actually this rather extraordinary woman.

And to find out why it is that she is the captain of the Jolly Roger and how it is that Hook becomes eventually its captain, you have to watch our movie. Because our movie is about how it is that all these people became the people we know and love; it's a prequel.

I have said that Anna does an amazing job of bringing her to life. Incredible. And one of the roles of Captain Bonny in our film is to be the conduit, the trigger for liberating Hook from the repressed Edwardian gentlemen that he starts out as.

ANNA FRIEL: And let me - (unintelligible) the Captain. She was a woman who'd been stuck on a ship with the same 20 men or 25 men, however many - so two per 100 years or more. And when Captain Hook arrives he's like a God that's come from the sky and she wants all his knowledge.

She's a very smart woman and has a great understanding of astrology and I think makes a great captain but she becomes instead greedy and wants more and more and more and I think doesn't want to go back to her old life because she won't have the power that she's discovered being in Neverland.

And I've just become fascinated with female pirates. I think it's a more fantastic thing today. If I could go back in history and be anyone, I'd be a captain of a ship. Thanks very much.

QUESTION: One thing I noticed in the trailer was the relationship between Peter Pan and Hook. It doesn't start off as adversarial and I'm interested in learning what made you use as a starting point that they're not adversaries.

NICK WILLING: Maybe I should pass this to Rhys because I know he will say it better than I could possibly say it. But I was interested in Hook as a boy also - as a character with a sort of Peter Pan syndrome who had yet to grow up.

And the relationship between him and Peter, who looks up to him and wants to be like him and who admires him enormously as a role model. And how in the gradual deterioration of that relationship and friendship because Hook wants things that aren't always right for the world and for Peter and how that relationship damages Peter to the point where he is the boy who doesn't want to grow up.

That to me seemed like quite a good story to tell. And it seemed like a modern story to tell. I suppose it's universal. It will always be told. But the idea that we aren't always initiated in the way that we should be as men.

That about it. What do you think?

NeverlandRHYS IFANS: I think from what both Hook and Peter are presented with when they arrive in Neverland is the prospect of eternal life. And when you see him is in many ways a lost boy but a grown man. And it was just interesting to explore what the offer of eternal life does to a boy and what the offer of an eternal life does to a man.

I think it makes a man greedy because a man is closer to death than a child. So eternity to a child offers goodness and eternal life to a man is essentially corrupting because it involves a certain amount of vanity, I think, to embrace it.

ANNA FRIEL: And has any story ever before explained why Hook despises Peter so much? I don't think it has. That's what fascinated me with the script is that you get the story before.

Which therefore lies the prequel. Why does this man hate this boy so much? In this case, he doesn't hate him. He's just very torn.

I think it's a great arrival at the story that we all know. That's what I found most fascinating, that you cleverly did, Nick. Is giving that back story of what was the path between them and you've created that really beautifully.

RHYS IFANS: It's something that works on a very modern level. To father/son relationships and also the way that Hook grew up in a very repressed, sexually repressed Edwardian society and what Captain Bonny offers him is total and utter sexual liberation. And when you give that to a man, everything else falls by the wayside, including their friends sometimes.

QUESTION: Nick, you mentioned earlier being really, really fixed on having Bob Hoskins play Smee again after seeing him play Hook in Hook.

What was the process in getting him to come back to that character and how different is this version of Smee compared to the other version?

NICK WILLING: It was very easy to get Bob to do it. In fact, he said "Oh, good. I've done all the research already." So he was really up for it.

Is he very different? He is a bit different from the other Smee. My Smee or this Smee is the ship's captain and he's a lover of fine cuisine and he sees the lost boys as a very good, new source of fresh meat.

And so he's not quite the same Smee. I mean these evil characters are all evil. I think one of the things I wondered and thought was delicious about the book, the original book, is how Barrie made all his evil characters funny and accessible and would make jokes as they're killing people. I found that incredibly (macabre) and rather delicious. So I tried to do a version of that with some of the other characters, like (Starkey) and Smee, obviously.

But the wonderful thing about Bob Hoskins is that as soon as you see him on screen, he's like seeing a very old friend, a cuddly old friend. He is actually very cuddly in real life - it has to be said. We all cuddled him.

But when you see him, he looks like this really sympathetic sweet, generous person and to make him a vicious pirate seemed totally appropriate.

QUESTION: Did you have any involvement from the Barrie estate when you were putting this together initially?

NICK WILLING: No. I didn't have any involvement in the Barrie estate. The one I would have liked to call is Barrie himself. But unfortunately, of course, he's no longer with us but I'd love to be able to call him and say hey, what do you think? But we're always doing this of course and we're always creating vivacious variants on famous stories; whether they be Shakespeare or the Greek myths and it's always keeping them alive for us.

QUESTION: Did the Barrie estate have to approve this project before it was made?

NICK WILLING: No. No. I don't even think the - the book is in the hands of the Great Ormond Street Hospital; the original book was donated.

So there isn't really a creative voice, as I understand, to approach. But we did obviously approach the Hospital and we donated a large sum of money to them even though the book is technically out of copyright now and they no longer hold the rights to the original book. You know, as a gesture of appreciation and good will.

I don't believe there is creative voice as such that you can approach and ask about the story and the book but we did approach the hospital and we donated a large sum as a gesture of appreciation and good will but that's kind of - that's what we did but we didn't know anyone else to contact, because the estate - the book belongs to the hospital.

QUESTION: Rhys, you were brilliant in Anonymous and as an actor do you enjoy more doing a period film than modern day?

RHYS IFANS: Well, the joy of the period film is not your take into another world. And the costumes also, I think, in a period piece determines the way you move and consequently the way you breathe and the way you breathe effects the way you think. So it is always more of a transformation.

And especially in this case and I guess in Anonymous, it is joyous for any actor to enter other grounds of consciousness and thought and that's always, at the end of the day we all like dressing up and playing around.

SCIFI VISION: Charlie, could you talk about kind of the stunts you did, especially the flying. Was that hard?

CHARLIE ROWE: Yeah. Well, I don't think it was hard. I was just in complete heaven. I was jumping around with swords, sword fighting with Rhys and Anna Freil and it was strange and obviously the flying was absolutely amazing being hauled up and down in this cold warehouse.

It was spectacular although it does hurt. I really do not recommend it.

ANNA FRIEL: You practiced - all I have to say on Charlie's behalf - he practiced that all the time at the end of a very, very, very long day of shooting. Sometimes 13 hours. He'd be there in his little (unintelligible) wrapped (unintelligible) in the harness and the same with the whistle. I've never seen such a hard working young person.

CHARLIE ROWE: The whistle. God, I miss the whistle.

RHYS IFANS: After all that harness work, your voice is still dropping. You will be a man very soon. Don't you worry.

SCIFI VISION: So you played the whistle yourself too?

CHARLIE ROWE: Oh yeah. Yeah. I had a penny whistle which I play many songs on during the film. And everyone thought it was great at first; the fact that I was learning it and I learned many, many songs but I think it became a nuisance by the end. You couldn't get it off of me. I was always with my whistle just playing irritating music.

SCIFI VISION: For the actors, when you were in the film you couldn't see what it was going to be. When you finally saw the outcome, was it what you expected? How did you feel about the results of all the effects and everything?

ANNA FRIEL: In absolute honesty, I think whenever you're doing film for television, you look at the budget that you have, which is much more constricted than a movie budget, and you think "God, are they going to be able to do what they say they are?" And I know that when I sat down to watch it certainly I was absolutely blown away and the number of effects on it with a TV budget is just - they've done absolutely all they could.

I think it's spectacular and it's everything that we imagined. All those photographs that Nick had on the big board to say "Look. It's not green. Don't see green. This is what you're going to see." I could have watched it in various stages when you could still see bits of green screen and when I finally saw, and not that long ago, the final version, I was really, really impressed.

It was like everything that we'd been shown and told they would do, they did. And that doesn't happen very often.

RHYS IFANS: I think for me the joyous part of when we did the green screen stuff - and there was quite a bit of it toward the end - but the most thrilling part for me each and every day was coming on set into this eternity of green and having Nick describe to us the world we were entering and he described it like the best story teller you've ever heard. So it was so inspiring to hear him create these worlds with words.

Of course we had some photographic help but his excitement in describing these worlds was of addictive in a way and I think that's what I'd be after too when they play..

You know, what children - when they play, a stick can become a snake or a sword or whatever you want. And it engages your imagination in almost a theatrical way.

And so I found it actually liberating and thrilling to work on the green screen and then finally when we got to see it, it was just a thrill beyond words and I think it's a...

ANNA FRIEL: The effects do the (unintelligible). He's very much an actor's director so admit you hear it. You're very much an actor's director. You did go - remember that's (unintelligible). Remember you want to (unintelligible). So think how you'll move. Think what you'll do. It was meticulous, the directions, because there's only so much computer work can do. It starts off with the writing, the direction and then the performances.

Charlie RoweCHARLIE ROWE: We often spent a long time trying to perfect the movement of the flying. Just getting the right pose when you jump off and getting the right posture while you're flying and not trying to look like you're in serious pain, which you were 24/7. He did a great - Nick did a great job.

ANNA FRIEL: Yeah. And never complained in the performance.

NICK WILLING: No, but believe you to me. I just have to watch. It's you guys that are on there. I mean the things that I made them do or they had to do for this book. It's extraordinary that I had to bounce around on spiders web, which was actually a green trampoline, hold them and give these extraordinary performances even though - and sometimes and echoed green warehouses. It's hard to believe what they were capable of doing. It's quite amazing - wait until you see the finished thing. It just looks like they're there. I mean it...

For more on Neverland, be sure to read my early preview/review, and stay tuned for the interview with the cast during the Syfy Digital Press Tour.

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