RT Interview: Skandar Keynes on the Action Challenge of Prince Caspian

Edmund Pevensie on the new experiences of the Narnian second part.

by | June 25, 2008 | Comments

Skandar Keynes

You get to become an action hero in this film, that’s got to be pretty cool…

Skandar Keynes: It was really, really great doing that side of it. It was such a relief after the first film because I didn’t get to do that much after having done all the training. It was really great this time to actually put it on screen.

And for me, personally, it’s like a giant-sized home video that I can watch and have those memories. When the DVD comes out there’ll be even more.

It’s quite a long experience, shooting a film like this — something like a year or more?

SK: I think for them it takes a year, but for me it was only about seven months. I got off lightly!

You get to tour the world in those seven months, though.

SK: Yeah, we started off in New Zealand, spent two months there, and then we were based in Prague and we would go all around Europe. We went to Slovenia, Poland, all around the countryside of the Czech Republic — some really stunning places.

There were some places where we were staying in these strange industrial towns in the middle of Eastern Europe and you’d think it’d be the last place they’d shoot some of these beautiful locations, but it really was incredible and it really wasn’t that far away, in Eastern Europe.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

A great chance to see places that are off the beaten path…

SK: Yeah, it was a great chance to live there but it’s also a great chance for audiences to have a look around.

I imagine you learnt a lot on the first film — when you came back for Caspian was it easier to get going? Were there fewer nerves?

SK: Yes, there are less nerves and it’s also great because on the first day of the first one you have to start establishing bonds with people. You’re young, not really experienced in the industry and you’re suddenly thrown into this group. The first day is kind-of daunting.

In this film it was so much easier because we walked straight back in and re-established these bonds that we already had. It was a relief and it was so relaxing. It just felt like we didn’t have to waste time with those sorts of things; we could get straight to work and we could really go forward to create a better film.

Does it make it easier for you to have those relationships off-screen that you’re trying to show on-screen?

SK: The relationships you have on set really do help you overall, because if you hate everyone you’re going to go there and there’s not going to be anyone to cheer you up if you’re down. It’s going to be grim on screen and not energetic. But even if you’re tired after seven months, you’re such good friends with everyone there that you never feel like being grumpy — everyone cheers you up. It was a really good, supportive community that was built up between the first and the second film.

You mention you like the action; do you enjoy the risk of it?

SK: Yeah, and I just love doing the active stuff. I felt so cheated because one of my very first action scenes was the very beginning of the battle when I run and I jump off a block and get on a horse as it’s going by. On one take I missed the horse. I basically didn’t manage to land on it but I managed to hold on and I was flung around and almost smacked into one of those stone columns.

I slammed on the ground and bruised my heel so badly that I couldn’t walk on it and it was throbbing constantly. I had to do the rest of the battle with a bruised heel. Sometimes if you watch my running it looks a bit odd; I wonder if other people notice it or if it’s just me noticing! I had to do a lot of that sequence high on pain medication!

Other than that it was really great. For me, getting two swords and just getting into the thick of it and being around such a great stunt department was really fun.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

But there are plenty of more intimate moments with his family for Edmund too, there’s a nice balance between action and drama.

SK: There is a nice balance, and I think that’s something that Andrew Adamson has done so well throughout the entire film. He’s managed to really get the cohesion between all of the different departments and all the different aspects of the film and really get it to perfection.

People talk about it being darker and being more action-packed, but I feel that all of that is balanced out by the increased amount of light relief with characters like Reepicheep and Trumpkin. You do feel like they’ve upped the stakes significantly and gone much deeper into this world of Narnia.

Your journey gets to continue onto Dawn Treader; are you looking forward to that?

SK: Yeah, I think it’s going to be great. We’ll have a new director in and I think that’s going to be a really big change — probably the biggest change of all — because he’s going to employ pretty-much a different team. The set itself is going to change radically. I’m not saying I’m going to hate the new people who come in but there will be a process of establishing those bonds we were talking about earlier.

But it’ll be great, also, to have some different experiences and be able to explore different aspects of it by having new people come in with different takes on it and different attitudes.

The Narnia books themselves; every one of them is slightly different.

SK: Yeah, I think that’s what’s so great is that people coming back to see this film aren’t just seeing a repeat of the previous one like some franchises. This one, when you go back, the tagline they’ve put on the posters, “Everything you know is about to change forever,” is very relevant. They’re going into a world you think you know, but actually it’s been turned on its head and the whole thing of discovery and exploration and the magic of the first film is portrayed again in a way you wouldn’t think would be possible.

Our Narnia features continue with an interview with Anna Popplewell, right here. Join us on the site tomorrow when we’ll be talking to Ben Barnes and William Moseley.

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