While in LA for Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms I had the privilege of doing an interview with Mackenzie Foy. She is funny, sweet and I loved getting to learn more about her. Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is playing in theaters now so be sure to get your tickets to go see it with your family. You can read our review here, and read more about our experience at the red carpet premiere here.
We were at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for the interviews. This location was great because it was a short walk over to the Dolby Ballroom where the red carpet premiere and pre-party were held, and then another short walk over to the El Capitan Theater where we watched the movie.
We did the interviews right before they had to get ready for the premiere, so we came to the interviews in our dresses, all ready to go to the red carpet premiere.
Interview with Mackenzie Foy
What is your favorite Disney movies?
Mackenzie: Cinderella’s my favorite. I also really like Atlantis.
How does it feel to be a classical holiday character now?
Mackenzie: It’s really fun. What’s beautiful about the Nutcracker that it’s such a beloved story throughout many, many years, so it’s really, really, really fun to be able to play a character that so many people all over the world can relate to and have this childhood connection from seeing the ballet when they were young, and I think that’s really important to be able to do.
Could you tell me what was your favorite costume to wear?
Mackenzie: My favorite costume…I wear quite a few costumes in the film which was really, really fun. They were all handmade- all very, very intricate, which is really amazing. I really love the purple party dress because that one has a bustle- and it’s really fun. Actually I have a couple bustles in the film. I have a proper cage and then I have kinda just like a bum pad, and it looked half of her and me which was really cute. It was very beautiful. There’s a lot of detail that went into the costume design, from the tights, to the shoes, to the many skirt layers, and the bodices, and the corset. So I have a very high respect for all of the costumes, and also they have kind of a different character to them, and they kind of go with Clara’s evolution, which I really like.
What was it like to get the call that you were gonna be Clara with the movie?
Mackenzie: It was really exciting. I was actually in the shower, [LAUGHS], and doing my hair when my mom ran in, and she was like the director’s on the phone. I was like, oh my gosh, okay, and so I put a towel on, and I answered and the director was like, would you be our Clara? I was like, oh my goodness, yes. Thank you so much. And he’s like, all right, see you in a couple weeks.
Can you tell us about the interview process?
Mackenzie: The audition process was actually quite long. It was about two months, which isn’t really, really long, but it is more than usual. It was really fun. I actually did self-tapes because the casting was in London.
Once I did a screentest; they flew me to London to do it in full costume- hair and makeup; a partial set; real camera, it was like, oh my goodness. And actually for me, they flew me there twice which was really fun.
I didn’t really have too many details about the story of the character when I first got the audition. I just knew that it was a British character and that immediately piqued my interest.
And so as I went further into the actual process, I learned more of what the story is, and what the character was, and I kind of got to go a little deeper into her, and then when I got it, I was fully immersed in Clara, which was fun.
The cast is amazing. So do you have any funny stories that you can tell us?
Mackenzie: With Jayden and I, we always got into kind of mischief. We were always hoarding chocolates and stuff on the set [AUDIENCE LAUGHS], and so that was pretty fun. And what was really fun because we filmed this in the following winter during Christmas, because we were doing a Christmas film. We were gonna do it properly.
There was a little competition within the departments to see who could decorate their trailer, and we went all out. And so even Jayden and I, and our teachers, because we shared a schoolroom, but it was divided. We tried to decorate and outdo each other, and it was really fun. If you ask him, he will say that he won it, but I had a little Christmas tree- I’m just saying. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS]
What was the difference with this character, because you’re the main character in this film than what you played before? What was any challenges that you had comparing those?
Mackenzie: Every character, no matter how big or small has its own challenges because they’re all unique, and you have to do the research in order to properly create them. But I would say with Clara, and her being a main role, the story follows my character, so I have to make sure that everything is in line.
I have to make sure the past is in my head, and I have to make sure I know where she’s going. The character and emotional complexity; all of those things. So with the bigger part, you have to go more in detail to all those things, especially how they relate to every single character in the film.
You’ve modeled a lot, as well. Do you find preparation different or anything more difficult when acting versus modeling?
Mackenzie: Both acting and modeling are very hard to do, and they’re both very, very different, so it’s hard to say how they kind of relate.
But yes, both are equally hard, and it’s, it’s very different figuring out. With modeling, you have to know what does the cameraman see. I can think it’s looking one way in my head, and then it looks different on camera, so I guess that’s kind of one connection between print and film.
Was there anything in the film that was difficult to learn, like dancing?
Mackenzie: I actually do not dance in the film. Misty Copeland and Sergei Polunin dance in the film, and it’s absolutely beautiful.
I actually did a lot of stunts and stuff, which was really fun. I did horse training, which was awesome, and I went to this place called The Devil’s Horseman; they’re film horses, and so they’re like proper stunt people. It was really, really cool being at these horses. And it’s what you think of, like, the English countryside, that’s what it looked like there. And so it was actually amazing training outside on these beautiful horses. It was crazy.
What was it like working with Morgan Freeman? He seems like a father figure, so what was that like?
Mackenzie: He’s a really nice guy. He’s very joyous and has a very fun sense of humor, so it was really fun just getting to know him and getting to talk to him, and seeing what he was like.
Do you see this film as being one of those traditional holiday movies that families will continue to watch every year, and why?
Mackenzie: I definitely hope it is something that people wanna see every year. I think the film really captures the holiday season, you know, when it starts to be cold, and you just have that joyous feeling. I think it really captures that, and I think it also has elements of the book and the ballet to where if you are older, you have seen it many times, you have that nostalgic feeling, but it also has new twists and turns, and so it brings in all ages. It brings everyone in together to watch it. So I hope that families like it, and that they go and see it every year.
What is your favorite realm?
Mackenzie: It’s everchanging, [LAUGHS]. Right now I really love the Land of Snowflakes just because it’s very blue and shiny, and very sparkly, and because it’s still kinda hot here. I’m dying. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] Winter weather and winter cool, so I’m in my head at the moment.
So you have a big birthday coming up in a couple of weeks. Do you have any special plans to do?
Mackenzie: If I’m home, I’ll just hang out with my family, and maybe even go to Disneyland because I love going to Disneyland [AUDIENCE LAUGHS]. Yeah, it’s always fun, so I might do that. Or I might go to a bookstore with my friend because we both love books.
Did you get to do any improvising or- add what you thought should be changed?
Mackenzie: A little bit, it’s kind of hard- sometimes we would, but sometimes we wouldn’t; it just depended on the context of the scene because sometimes it would feel kinda stiff. Can I change it up a little bit? But it varies on what you’re doing in the scene and how much improvisation you can do.
How long did it take to film?
Mackenzie: It was about six to seven months.
Can you tell us what a typical day would look like for shooting? You have to fit school in, as well, right?
Mackenzie: Yes. A typical day of filming- putting on the costumes and you know, playing and working with them which was really fun- it was, the set on this film- the cast and crew- everyone was really, really nice, so it was a really fun, and very happy environment.
I actually still keep in contact with a lot of the crew. It was really amazing. There was a lot of young women in the crew, and so we all go along really, really well, and we’d talk about the shows that we watched on the weekend, and all of that stuff.
Schoolwise, if you’re a kid and you still have to do school. Because of my age, I have to do three to five hours of a school a day.
And whenever there was downtime, like if they had to change the cameras and stuff like that, I would go and do schoolwork.
Do you have any holiday traditions?
Mackenzie: Making cookies with my family on Christmas Eve.
What advice do you have for young girls that look up to you and wanna follow in your footsteps?
Mackenzie: And as for young girls, I hope they see this film, and I hope they see that Clara is unapologetically herself- that even though she’s this young inventor in her time period, snd it wasn’t really socially acceptable, but she still is this is who I am. This is what I love to do, and I’m gonna do it, and I hope they see that and know you can do that. You can be interested in science, you can be in interested in mechanics, and you can still wear dresses and like those kinds of things.
How much time did you spend getting your hair and makeup done?
Mackenzie: In this, I don’t really wear a lot of makeup in the film. Just a little bit of concealer if I have, like, a pimple or something.
Hair wise, it would vary. There’s a couple of looks that took- I’m bald from wrapping my hair around wires and stuff. But all the twisting with the braids and all that kinda stuff. And that one took a little while. But it was really fun. The hair and makeup team was really, really amazing, and I loved talking to them every morning.
I really enjoyed going in there because that’s kinda like a time you get to just sit and talk, and see how everybody’s doing. The actors coming in and out, and you talk to the hair and makeup people, and it was just really fun every morning.
What is your favorite scene in the film and why?
Mackenzie: Misty Copeland performs a dance scene and it’s really, really quite beautiful. And what’s really cool, is the sets in a lot of those scenes were real. So when you see she’s walking through and this castle pops up, and the flowers open in the ground. Those were real. There were actually people cranking them and those are real people really making it all work. And so that’s a really cool thing about that.
And if you look in the background behind the chairs, all of the extras are color-coded, and so they kinda had an ombre effect. They wrapped around the set like this canvas of night sky. And they poked giant holes in it and then shone lights behind it so it looked like stars. And so the sets in this film are very, very intricate, and that one was one of my favorites just because it was so beautiful.
We were able to take a group photo with Mackenzie before she headed out to get ready. She looked amazing in her dress. I was able to meet up with her and get a picture.
Our interview with Mackenzie Foy was very fun and we learned a lot about Mackenzie, her role in the movie and a little bit about her life. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is now playing in theaters everywhere! Go see it this weekend with your family!
About Disney’s The Nutcracker and The Four Realms:
All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale.
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THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS opens in theatres everywhere today!