Yes, I found my old copy of Prince Caspian when I got the part. It was a copy that accompanied the 1989 BBC series which I loved. Inside I’d put this sticker of a bear saying ‘I can’t bear to be without my books’ and then my name in the really bad handwriting of an eight year old.
What do you make of seeing yourself on the film posters around the world?
It’s so weird. When they showed me the mock-up I said, “Is that sensible? No one knows who I am! No one will go and see it!”. Colin Firth, who I’ve just worked with, took a picture of it on his phone and sent it to me saying, “Is that a real pout?” And my brother said ‘Okay, I get it. But it’s Prince Caspian not you – look at the tan”. There are enough grounding forces in my life to keep me sane!
You manage to carry off a Spanish accent in the movie. Was that difficult?
A lot of the parts I’ve done have involved accents. I’ve done Americans, Russians, Yorkshiremen. On the night before the audition I noticed it said ‘lines to be delivered in a Spanish accent’, so I rummaged through my DVD collection for anything with Antonio Banderas! But after asking me to do a Spanish accent, the director cast two Italians, a Mexican and a Belgian and asked me to do something to assimilate them all! I gave it my best shot.
Was there any initiation to being accepted as one of the family?
I was a bit cynical beforehand. I’d watched all the DVD extras from the first film with the kids saying ‘it’s like having another family’ and I thought, that can’t be real. But the very first time I met them they were playing table tennis, eating ice cream and clambering all over each other. They were just so affectionate. It was a fantastic environment to make a film. Yes, there were a few pranks.
You were doing The History Boys at the National Theatre when this came along. Was it hard choosing whether to stay or to go?
Yes, I’d been at the National about six months when Prince Caspian came along. I’d been going to the National since I was 10 and it was always my dream to work there. We thought we’d be able to work out the timing but we couldn’t. So I gave as much notice as I could and said it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I’m a loyal guy, so it was quite frustrating. Two of my dreams came true at the same time.
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