Interview with Dame Penelope Wilton and Rebecca Hall of Disney’s New Movie The BFG #TheBFGEvent – In Theaters July 1st!
Continuing with my magical journey in LA last week to review the new Disney movie, The BFG, I had a chance to interview Penelope Wilton (The Queen) and Mary (Rebecca Hall) exclusively.
Immediately upon sitting at the table, they also noted The BFG Pop Vinyl that all of the other cast and crew noted during their interview. They really examined it and adored it as much as everyone else did. The questions started with a very good one, “How did you both get involved in the project?”
“My agent received a phone call and said ‘Steven Spielberg wants you to do this film’, and I said ‘Yes!’ If Steven Spielberg wants you to do a movie, you do it.”
“I had exactly the same thing. I got a call saying ‘it’s not a very big part, but he has asked specifically for you to do it’, so I’m like ‘well, I’ll do it, of course I will’. Also, BFG is, you know, a book that as a child I loved, so even before I’d read the script or knew what the part was…”
We asked Penelope how is was working filming Downton Abbey and The BFG simultaneously, to which she replied?
“They were very accommodating and they said, because I was going to be in the middle of the shoot, he sort of worked around me a bit. When I was playing the Queen, it was all very upper class.”
She also noted that some of her castmates on Downton Abbey were rather envious of her filming with Steven Spielberg. We all noted, who wouldn’t be…after all it is the iconic Mr. Spielberg.
Penelope recently became a Dame. When inquiring how it felt, she humbly responded:
“Well, it’s rather surreal actually, to be quite honest with you, being a dame. When I found out about (it), when they asked me to do it about seven weeks ago, they write to you and they (actually) sent it to the wrong address. So, then another one went out to my agent and it said ‘priority’ because obviously they hadn’t heard (back).
So they asked if the Prime Minister puts your name forward to the Queen, would you accept it? So, I said I would. And then they said you must not tell anybody until it’s released which was six weeks after. Then there was a total silence and of course then I thought I dreamt that (it) didn’t happen. I made that up. I just had a dream.”
We asked each of the ladies their thoughts on working with young Ruby Barnhill. Penelope and Rebecca both noted how much the loved working with her and how darling she was…
“Oh she’s a darling. Well, we both loved working with her and Rebecca will tell you, she’s got the most wonderful sense of humor and she’s a lovely girl. She also takes direction very well.”
Rebecca elaborated further by noting:
“She was a consummate professional and she was brilliant. I remember her knowing everyone’s name, even the crew. She would come in, in the morning, and ask how are you doing.”
“She gave me a nickname because of my purple dress. I was Purple Swan for some reason.”
One of my personal favorite parts of this movie is the job of The BFG, catching dreams. I was excited to learn that it was also the favorite part of Penelope Wilton.
“I like the dreams, because it’s written in the book that they catch the dreams, but Steven made the dreams so beautiful. I loved it when they go under the water. I thought that was a lovely sequence.”
While I don’t want to give all of the details of the movie, I will agree with Rebecca Hall’s answer in that, the Frobscottle drink (you will love it when you see it) scene was the most entertaining scene:
“When you have a problem with wind, is probably my favorite scene.”
Here is a sneak peek of The Queen glancing at a glass of Frobscottle.
It was very interesting to learn from Rebecca Hall that her father, Sir Peter Hall, who ran the National Theater allowed her to encounter Steven Spielberg as a young child. I love how she brought this experience altogether with Penelope, Steven and Roald Dahl:
“I remember a figure who I’ve always admired and loved from a far, so it was a real treat to get to work properly with you (referring to Penelope Wilton), but I think I very much second what you said, it’s a combination of, for me personally, two such hugely influential people in my childhood, Roald Dahl and Steven Spielberg, as a child those were, the creative output of both. Those people really influenced me…and to have both of those together was wonderful.”
It was a treat to sit with each of these ladies and learn more about their insite into the movie and their respective roles. They took a moment and shared a group photo with us.
I will continue on with more coverage of The BFG. Be sure to check out some fun, new clips below and remember to head to theaters tomorrow, July 1, as the movie premieres nationwide!
Here are some extra-special footage clips you can view to see how colorful, magical and joyous The BFG is:
“Disney Legacy” Featurette
“Brave Sophie” Featurette
“The BFG Visits Buckingham Palace” Film Clip
“Trying To Catch A Phizzwizard” Film Clip
Be sure to stay connected to The BFG right here and via
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
for the most up-to-date previews and release information. You will find it all here as we learn more about this exciting summer blockbuster. “The BFG” opens in U.S. theaters on July 1, 2016, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of Dahl’s birth.
Disclosure: I was provided with an all-expense paid trip as part of a press Junket with Disney to cover this and all The BFG media.
Some photo credit: Coralie Seright
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