Sweeping in time from the turbulent seas of the pirates
of the Caribbean to the back alleys of Dickensian London
to a world of pure imagination, Neverland is the
inspired origin story of one of the most cherished characters
of all time: Peter Pan.
The two-night mini-series, starring Rhys Ifans, Anna Friel,
Charlie Rowe, Bob Hoskins, Charles Dance, Raoul Trujillo,
Q'Orianka Kilcher, Cas Anvar and featuring the voice of
Keira Knightley, will premiere on Syfy on Sunday, December
4, and Monday, December 5, at 9 PM ET.
In the mini-series, Peter, along with his pals of young
pickpockets, have been rounded up by their mentor Jimmy
Hook to snatch a magical orb which transports them to another
world - Neverland. Filled with white jungles and imposing
cities formed out of trees created by Dr. Fludd and inhabited
by a colony of tree spirits led by Tinker Bell, this mysterious
realm welcomes unknown friends and enemies snatched from
These include power-mad Elizabeth Bonny and her band of
18th century pirates who search for the answer to eternal
youth, a secret guarded by a Holy Man. As the fight to save
this strange and beautiful world escalates, Peter and his
crew consider that growing old somewhere in time could be
less important than growing up-right here in their new home
Trust us, we've seen it already and whether you love Peter
Pan or not, this mini-series is going to blow you away.
It's riveting in both tale and performance and it is definitely
going to introduce the world to the huge talent of young
Charlie Rowe who plays Peter.
We had the opportunity to catch up with the stars of the
series, Charlie Rowe, Rhys Ifans and Anna
Friel while down in Orlando with Syfy, but we just recently
had the chance to follow-up with the three and the writer/director
Nick Willing to get even more behind the scenes and
behind the magic of Neverland. Check out everything they
had to share with us below!
Rhys, you're quite a swordsman in this thing; were you
originally or did you have to learn the sword play for the
part or had you picked it up already?
Ifans: I'd kind of done it many years ago in … school
and there were several injuries so I wasn't - I wasn't a
great swordsman but I guess … it was really exciting to
fight Anna and Charlie. It's quite a fill and, initially
it took some time to pick it up again but as the shoot went
on, rehearsal times got less and less and less. So it's
more of a dance than a combat.
Nick, what made you decide to kind of write a prequel
rather than do say a remake or whatever? How'd you come
up with the idea?
Nick Willing: I was interested in the genesis and
how it is that a boy doesn't want to grow up and I was interested
in how it is that it ended up in a place called Neverland
and what that was and why there were pirates and fairies
and Indians there. I was just - when I read the book I loved
it so much that my imagination ran wild and I kind of wanted
to know more of the facts story and I thought that would
make quite an intriguing movie.
And for the rest of you, how did you become involved
in the project?
Anna Friel: Charlie, you go first. It's your story.
Charlie Rowe: Well I mean I've worked with Nick
a long time ago on my very first job when I was nine and
so the minute I heard that he was directing and he'd written
this, I was - I just wanted to get involved so originally
I was going up for the part of Fox, Peter's best friend.
And I went out for that and I wasn't too keen on it.
And then I read the script and I was like mum, I just
really want to go out for Peter and then the next day Nick
called and was like I want you to go for Peter. And so that
was just absolutely amazing and I got the part eventually
and I'm so glad I did. Thank you very much Nick.
Nick Willing: Yeah. I knew he was good but - because
I had worked with him before, I thought I can't work with
him again. I've got - there must be some other kid out there.
I must have seen 400 kids and then finally right at the
end he walked in for Fox and I went ah, … That's Peter Pan.
So it was - I should have gone with my first instinct,
Anna Friel: I … loved it and it was one of the best
things I'd read. I loved the whole fantastic element of
it. I loved the idea of playing a baddie and then a female
baddie and introducing a new character. So it was great
stage with which to write with and I had a conversation
with Nick on the phone and he spoke so eloquently about
the story and what he intended to do with it and how to
work within that … and how he could make that world become
true and told me that it would be one of the most fun shoots
I ever did and it ended up being that.
Rhys Ifans: Yeah. And I'd like to reiterate what
Anna said. You know, I hadn't met Nick. I was sitting in
a bar in a beautiful village in Spain and I received this
script and read it in one go and that's kind of my measuring
stick for any script. It's if you don't put it down, it's
worth considering and then Nick pretty much said the same
to me that it would be a joyous (occasion) telling a beautiful
story and a story that explains another story that we're
all familiar with.
And I just from a personal level - the Hook - Nick's version
goes a long way into describing the Hook we see in the novel
into this - painting his psychosis and his arrival at the
embodiment of evil.
Nick, we just heard from the actors how they got cast
but could you talk to us - you have so many incredible cast
members. Can you talk about the casting process and also
if you wrote the story with any actors in mind?
Nick Willing: I wrote - the part of Hook I really
wanted Rhys from the beginning. And even when that - because
the thing about Rhys is that he's one of the few actors
that is incredibly powerful and imposing on the screen but
at the same time shows a certain vulnerability.
And Hook to me - if Hook as villainy could seem vulnerable,
that would be cool I thought. And so I kind of had in my
mind this tall figure or Rhys I have to admit.
Anna too was - funny enough was also - I know it sounds
weird but in fact, when I cast a movie, I always think who
would be the best person and I just try and go for them
and if I don't - and if I get them, that's fantastic. I've
always been very lucky with this.
Bob Hoskins too I thought I'd love - I mean because I've
seen him obviously in Spielberg's version. To me he was
the embodiment of Smee. I couldn't think of - I couldn't
get him out of my head when I was writing and I always imagined
that he'd be perfect for Smee and indeed he said yes. I
mean I was - so I kind of got three hits.
And then with Charlie, I've just told you that story.
It turned out to be perfect. So we were very, very lucky
or at least I was very lucky to get all the people I kind
of dreamed of and it's proved to be, you know, true.
I mean one of the things about making this film was that
it was quite a collaborative process in all. You know, you've
got to get ... - there's a little kind of team and working
with these actors are perhaps one of the better experiences
I've ever had.
And for Rhys, Anna and Charlie, can you talk a little
bit about the challenges of putting your mark on characters
that people are so familiar with?
Charlie Rowe: Yeah. Well I mean I actually - it
was my first proper big part and I was just more scared
about actually being any good at acting. But I was lucky
on set to have Rhys and Anna who really taught me a lot
- just taught me a lot. They were - I'm very grateful for
I felt that I went into doing the show as just a little
kid really, a little child actor, and I think I've come
out as an actor; or I'd like to think so anyway.
And also I - looking at Nick and being around Nick all
the time, I realized that he was actually - he was this
character Peter that he'd written about. So I just used
to look at how he was behaving and just replicated it really.
Anna Friel: Nick's really set the tone for it also
and he wanted individual and unique performances because
it was part of the story that we'd never heard before and
particularly from my character; she was completely created
and invented and it's always hard to play or accept a character
to play that people will maybe not like and to play it badly.
And Nick … may go as far as you want with that and we had
a great rehearsal process in which Rhys and I played around
You know, the different characteristics and how those
two came together and what made Hook be intrigued by this
incredibly powerful woman who used her prowess and her femininity
to get what she wanted.
Ifans: And you know I think just to pick up on what
Charlie said, both Anna and I have said and I'm sure Nick
would agree, that I was not working with a boy. I was working
with a professional actor from the very beginning to the
very end and then I can put my hand to my heart and say
he is one of the most professional, eloquent young men I've
ever, ever worked with so that was a pleasure from the (oft).
Charlie Rowe: Thank you very much.
Rhys Ifans: I think his performance, you know -
you're welcome. And you see him - not only did he - you
see the character he plays become - you just see this huge
change in the character he becomes. He develops and gets
all these new sort of addled emotions and struggles with,
you know, the morality that Hook and Bonny present him with
and I think it's a really, really mature performance.
So throughout, between him, Anna and Nick, I felt in the
safest (hands) I've ever felt.