[Movies] Warwick Davis Talks Filming Willow Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 03.20.2013
The movie is getting a new Blu-ray re-release...
IGN recently interviewed actor Warwick Davis who talked about the 1980's fantasy movie Willow which is now being released on Blu-ray to celebrate the movie's 25th anniversary. Here are some highlights:
When did he get involved with Willow: "The very first time I heard about it—I didn't know it was Willow at that point—was when George Lucas said to my mum in 1984, 'I've got a project I'm going to want Warwick to do when he's a bit older. It's something that would be really great for him.' So that was three years before he actually mentioned it to me and started the pre-production process for the actual film. That was the first time I heard. The second time I heard was basically being called up to London to meet with Ron and George to have a chat about the film and see what I thought of it, and to let me know that I was then going to have to undergo a rigorous audition process to prove that I was, indeed, the best man for the job. I had George in my corner, but Ron being the director had the prerogative to cast and to check that I was the best actor for the role. So that process then started from there."
What does he remember most about being on the set: "My overriding memories are the people, and that's something you find on any film you do. It's about the people that you work with, and certainly for me, it was Ron Howard and the way that he directed me and the way he taught me, it was an inspiration. That's the reason I was able to give the performance that I did, because he taught me. Having been an actor himself, he knows what a director needs to give an actor because he's experienced it firsthand, and so yeah, he was fantastic. Val, he was just a brilliant guy to be around. He was funny, quirky, eccentric, but just kept me from not feeling the pressure of the whole thing too much. He never let me take it too seriously. So he was fantastic. George was always really supportive, and the crew… just everybody was great. We had a great time making the film. It was a huge effort physically and mentally. Doing the film really takes it out of you but it was the support of everyone that got me through it. And I still run into all of those people now and the crew that I worked with back then will pop up on a film that I'm doing and we'll reminisce a little bit about that."
On his involvement with the Blu-ray release: "Quite a bit. I'd known about it for such a long time now. It's awful. I felt like I worked for the Secret Service because I know so many things that I'm not allowed to talk about. So yeah, I'd heard about this about a year ago, initially. I went to Skywalker Ranch last year and was chatting with Ben Burtt who was going through the sound stems and doing some work on that. He was saying that the sound systems people have at home now are actually better than the ones in the movie theaters when the film came out. So he has to do work to make sure that it lives up to the standards of the people's home equipment nowadays, which I thought was incredible. But it's lovely that people are getting their hands on the film to make sure it can be shown at its very, very best and obviously now having an HD version is terrific as well. I'm very pleased to say that as part of the extra features, my own personal video diaries are going to be on it. I had a video camera with me the whole time we were filming Willow. It was a bit of a hobby of mine, actually at the time. After Jedi, I bought a video camera and started making short films and so when we came to shoot Willow, I would literally have the camera with me all the time. I'd film anybody and anything that would let me. And I never knew what to do with this stuff. It was in a box for years, just in my attic, and I hadn't even watched them. When I heard about this I thought it might be quite nice to be able to share this, so I spoke to Lucasfilm and said, "I've got these tapes. Do you want to have a look?" and of course, to them, it was like a treasure trove, and they put a nice little piece together. So I'm really excited to be able to share that because it is unique—first time it's ever been seen—so that's exciting!"