Keira Knightley on playing a fairy: How cool!

Raymond de Asis Lo - The Philippine Star
Keira Knightley on playing a fairy: How cool!
Keira (with Mackenzie Foy) is playing the Sugar Plum Fairy in Disney’s retelling of the classic fairy tale, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and she couldn’t be anymore excited about it.

MANILA, Philippines — Keira Knightley saw The Nutcracker ballet three times as a kid. The first time was when she was three and was completely terrified of the mice and she hid under the seat. The second time was better. She liked the Mouse King but hated the Sugar Plum Fairy. At nine, when she saw it for the third time, she was finally in love with everything about it.

Today, she is playing the Sugar Plum Fairy in Disney’s retelling of the classic fairy tale and she couldn’t be anymore excited about it.

“I’ve never played a fairy before. How cool!” the beautiful actress known for more serious dramas exclaimed. “She’s sugary, she’s so sweet!”

“She’s a woman that clearly likes to look like a cake and I really enjoyed looking like a cake!” she added. “One of the reasons why I wanted to do this was because it was a chance to be just very silly and a lot of the work that I do is quite serious and is quite subtle so this was, like, will banish subtlety and just be really, really silly. And she is pretty silly!”

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is indeed a sumptuous visual delight! Imagine yourself being trapped inside a snow globe and getting into an adventure with fairies, queens, toy soldiers and a menacing army of mice!

Co-directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, the movie is based on two source materials: The E. T. A. Hoffmann short story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, and the beloved Marius Petipa’s The Nutcracker Ballet. This adaptation tells the story of Clara who received a mysterious box on Christmas Eve, which can only be unlocked by a one-of-a-kind key. Her search for the key would bring her to the strange and mysterious world divided into four realms.

Playing Clara is Mackenzie Foy, who many fans would remember as the young Renesmee Cullen in the final installment of the hit Twilight movie franchise six years ago. She’s all grown-up now and, like Keira, talked excitedly about her role and about the movie during our interview.

“I love that Clara is determined,” she said. “I also love that she’s a mechanic and she loves science and all those things and at the same time she wears dresses.”

Mackenzie, who is an A-student in science and a karate enthusiast in real life, also loved watching the ballet when she was a young girl.

The first time she went, she remembered buying her own nutcracker. “I put it in my room that’s like my Christmas centerpiece on my bookshelf. I just have really wonderful memories of my family and I of going to watch it.”

Working with Keira was fun, according to her. “Keira is just the nicest person. You can talk to her about anything and she just talks back to you and it’s great to have a conversation with her and hang out and just talk about nonsense,” she said.

The Oscar-nominated actress shared the same sentiments as Mackenzie. “It was lovely working with Mackenzie,” she said. “It was very funny on set. It was fun!”

“Being in a scene with her and finding the groove between her and Clara was really fun,” Mackenzie said before citing several of their scenes together where their characters engage in fun banter as some of her favorites in the movie.

There’s another beautiful scene in the movie where Clara and several other kids get all excited about Christmas and opening their presents.

“I really love it! I love the decorations and how everybody just, kind of, gets happier around Christmastime,” she said beaming after I asked her if she still gets excited about Christmas and opening gifts. “I really like giving to people. I really enjoy it and seeing their faces. And even just giving things without people knowing, I think, is nice. Just don’t tell anybody, just make somebody smile.”

Keira, meanwhile, doesn’t know what she wants for Christmas but she knows what to get for her loved ones. “It’s normally books,” she said. She admits to being a last-minute shopper. “I can’t buy all my Christmas gifts in September. Apart from the kids, it’s the last week or two where it all comes together.”

For her daughter, she has but one wish. “I hope that she’s afforded the same opportunity that I’ve been afforded. I don’t know if that’s going to be possible in England but I hope that I give her the backgrounds to support her in whatever that she wants to do and that our governments give our kids the opportunities that they need to reach their full potential.”

This writer reminded Keira that she already has a beloved Christmas classic, Richard Curtis’ Love, Actually, which was released back in 2002, in her impressive filmography. And, now, in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, she may just have another holiday classic in the making.

“Yes, this is my next offering,” she said smiling. “That one was 16 years ago, I don’t often offer something for Christmas.”

So, yes, consider this film an early Christmas gift from Keira — and Mackenzie, for all of us.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is now showing in cinemas nationwide.



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