The four young stars in Andrew Adamson’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe have finally revealed themselves to the world.
All four were involved in a cricket game being filmed in the grounds of Monte Cecilia House in Hillsborough when Prime Minister Helen Clark visited the set today.
Their names have been a closely guarded secret despite working around Auckland for the past month.
The actors are: Georgie Henley, 9, from West Yorkshire, who plays the lead character Lucy; Skandar Keynes, 12, from London, who plays Edmund; Anna Popplewell, 15, also from London, who plays Susan; and William Moseley, 17, from Gloucestershire, who plays the eldest brother Peter.
Popplewell, the veteran of the group, has appeared in five previous movies, including Girl with a Pearl Earring and Mansfield Park, as well as three television series. Keynes has played a young Enzo Ferrari in an Italian biographical movie.
These are the first movie roles for Moseley and Henley, who despite her youth, has been a regular participant in England’s Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts.
Nine-year-old Henley said she was tired, but is very excited to be involved in the movie.
“It is quite tiring and it was a bit overwhelming at first, but everyone is doing everything they can to help, so it’s cool.”
She said her father and sister have been in Auckland for the past three weeks and her mother will be staying with her throughout the filming.
Moseley said he was enjoying the work, but was feeling a little homesick for his village near Stroud in the Cotswolds. “You don’t know what you have until it’s not there anymore,” he said.
The Hillsborough location will serve as the grounds of the country mansion where Lucy finds the wardrobe portal to the Kingdom of Narnia. The mansion which will seen in the movie will be computer generated.
Helen Clark said it was always fun to visit a film set and meet the talent, “especially when it means a great deal to the New Zealand economy and our film industry. We are obviously looking at possibilities for getting some leverage out of it, as we did with Lord of the Rings. It’s all good for the country.”
Production manager Tim Coddington said everything is on schedule and they have another ten days of outdoor shooting to get through in Auckland before the crew moves to the South Island in mid-October. Most of the filming has been conducted on the indoor set built in the old Hobsonville air force base.
James Cosmo, who played Campbell in Braveheart and Mr Renton in Trainspotting, has been confirmed for the role of Father Christmas.
He will join the other cast members so far named: Tilda Swinton (the White Witch), Dawn French (the voice of Mrs Beaver), James McAvoy (Mr Tumnus) and Rupert Everett (the voice of The Fox).
A spokesman for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe denied all reports that Australian actor Nicole Kidman will be involved in the movie.