It had been over a year and a half since ComingSoon.net spoke to Skandar Keynes, the young actor who played Edmund Pevensie in the first “Narnia” movie–you can read that interview here–and boy, has he grown!
We met with Keynes aka Edmund at the side of the Aslan’s How location in Usti, just outside Prague, where he and William Moseley, playing his older brother Peter, had been shooting a scene where they march from the How up to a battle ring where Peter will face Prince Caspian’s evil uncle King Miraz, played by Sergio Castellito. We watched them shoot this walk over and over as various Narnian creatures looked on, Keynes looking more determined with each take as music–everything from “Eye of the Tiger” to Kanye West’s “Jesus Walk”– blasted in the air to get them in the mood, but in one take, William got a bit excited and accidentally stabbed Skandar in the leg while withdrawing his sword. Ouch! While that wasn’t reason enough to stop shooting, the overcast clouds and impending rain were, so during a break in shooting, Keynes was pulled aside to briefly talk to us.
ComingSoon.net: What’s it like to come back for a second time around?
Skandar Keynes: It’s been really cool. It’s been really great to see everyone again and like, reuniting the family to be very cheesy, yeah, it’s been great here in the middle of nowhere, it’s beautiful and what we’re doing is really cool, so I’m having a good time.
CS: So you’re a few years older?
Keynes: I was 12 when I started the first film and I’m 15 now. I’ll be 16 at the end of the shoot.
CS: I remember last time they had problems with you growing too much
Keynes: Yeah, I grew 6 inches in 6 months.
CS: The costume department said they have a computer program now to determine the patterns and how to make the costumes fit as you guys grow and keep them consistent.
Keynes: When I had the chainmail on, if I kept growing, it’s precise enough that if I grew then it would completely change underneath.
CS: Did you wear chainmail in the last movie too?
Keynes: Yeah, I’m actually wearing a lot less now, just the legs and the arms.
CS: I bet you wish you were wearing it now after getting stabbed in the leg!
Keynes: Oh yeah, he totally just stabbed my leg. He draws his sword and then moves it back but as he moved it back it went “bang” on my leg. Just went right on my boot.
CS: Do you get to do more sword fighting in this movie?
Keynes: Yeah, a lot more which is good and I’ve got to do a bit more today. And I’m doing… two weekends ago to train, so… cool.
CS: How was the castle raid scene, and do you have a big scene in that?
Keynes: I was already in it. I was on days while they were on nights. I do have a thing at the top but we are going to do that on a stage, because it’s so high up.
CS: So they’re going to save that to the very end just in case, so that you’ll have already shot everything else?
Keynes: Yeah. (laughs)
CS: What are your big scenes in this one?
Keynes: I have a scene with the fight (the unit publicist quickly whispers to Skandar that he can’t say anything about it, quickly ending that train of thought). Well, the other day when we all have a lot of little moments in this film, and then, I have big fights that are scattered around the film, which is good.
CS: You’re one of the few that gets to go on to the next movie. Have you met with Michael Apted yet?
Keynes: Yeah, I had dinner with him. He was very cool. It all seems good.
CS: Did you test him to see if he knows his Narnia stuff?
Keynes: Yeah, we talked about Narnia a bit, but the problem with the next film is I’ve got to do my GCSEs just around the middle and if I don’t, if they don’t let me do them then my school won’t let me come out here, so, I’ll have to take like a month off or so.
CS: So you’ll go back to school and then you’ll turn around and come back for the next one?
Keynes: Yeah, well no, I think there will be some time before they go straight ahead, they are in pre-production now. So I’ll go to school and then come back whenever they are ready.
CS: Can you talk about the choice of music playing while you are shooting a scene?
Keynes: Yeah, we like to play “Rocky” or just anything that has a cool beat. It feels so good walking down and they’re all cheering. We are trying so hard not to crack up, but it’s so hard. (laughter) Yeah, during the epic battles there’s a rule. When a song is played you have to wait until the end to try and get your iPod in there.
CS: Are your musical tastes that different?
Keynes: No, we are kind of the same. He doesn’t like some of mine and I don’t like some of his so there’s just minor differences but mostly cool.
CS: Does the Rocky music help?
Keynes: Yeah, it’s funny ’cause the first couple of takes I was cracking up so it wasn’t that great, but it was getting to me and it felt really cool.
CS: Was that something just for this movie where Andrew just decided to use music to get the mood out?
Keynes: Yeah, it was a couple of weeks ago, everyone was sitting around waiting on the sun and we realized we could put music on so we did and now we use it.
CS: Can you talk about working with Andrew on this one? What type of preparation did he have you do that was different from the first film? Obviously you’re older
Keynes: We’ve done lots of rehearsals and I’ve done more horse riding. I’ve done more sword fighting and it’s been a bit more intense this time.
CS: How’s Prague been for you?
Keynes: Prague has been great, so yeah, everything is pretty cool in Prague. Down in New Zealand I did a few bungie jumps. I jumped off the Nevis which is the third highest point in the world. I did this one jump that was nearly 400 meters in the air and I did the Shotover Canyon Swing which is the biggest swing in the world. I jumped off the Sky Tower which is the highest building in the Southern Hemisphere, and I did some jumps from a jet, so those were cool.
CS: Is that driving the producers crazy?
Keynes: Yeah, every time I have all the videos as well.
CS: Is there a lot of sitting around waiting on the set?
Keynes: Not that much, but there could be more, there could be less as well.
CS: Have you been going to school here, too?
Keynes: Yeah, 3 hours a day, I’ve got my GCSEs so I’ve got exams this week.
CS: Coming back for the second time, how is it different having so many more adults in the cast?
Keynes: Everyone matured a lot more and we weren’t as silly as before. We didn’t mess around as much. Everything has been really cool. They are kind of approaching me differently, there’s a lot more pressure than last time.
CS: This film’s a bit darker than the last one as well.
Keynes: Uh, yeah, there are some darker scenes. There are a lot of scenes that happen at night. (laughter) No, yeah, there are some darker scenes, there are some evil people.
And you can read our interview with two of them, the Italian actors who play King Miraz and General Glozelle, by clicking here.