I enjoy interviewing kids. Especially when they are new to the interview process. Cute, full of wonder, just as you would want them to be, the kids of Mary Poppins Returns Pixie Davies (Anabel Banks) and Joel Dawson (Georgie Banks) gave us a taste of what it’s like to be a kid on the set of what will be another iconic Disney movie during the Mary Poppins Returns Event.
The Kids of Mary Poppins Returns
Pixie Davies and Joel Dawson Interview
What was your favorite part of filming the movie?
Joel: I really liked the part when I had to dive through the bushes and then got dragged along by the kite. That was a really fun scene.
And what about you Pixie?
Pixie: I think it was Tripping the Light Fantastic because it was just incredible watching the dance. It just gets better every time.
Talk about the chase part of the animation sequence.
Pixie: That was so much fun. It was because the music was being played, I actually felt like we were actually in a chase and it was really awesome, yeah.
How did you feel once you saw the animation completed?
Pixie: It was really surprising because you don’t know all the details that are gonna be there, and then you watch it and it’s there.
What did you think of the costumes you guys got to wear?
Pixie: They were beautiful. They were. I really liked them ‘cause I like dressing kind of funky. And it was really awesome wearing some really cool clothes from another century.
Did you all see the original Mary Poppins?
Pixie: Yes we did, yeah. It was my favorite film before I was in this one.
How did you feel when you found out you got the part?
Pixie: Yeah, I thought I was gonna burst.
Joel: Well my agent already knew, so she came over and then Rob Marshall called me. He said we want you to have the part. And then I had it on speaker phone. Everyone was just so silent, and my eyes were watering. And my mum was squealing after the phone call.
What is your favorite song in the movie?
Joel: Underneath the London Sky.
Pixie: I do really like that one.
Joel: Yeah, that one is really nice.
Pixie: Still Tripping the Light Fantastic, I want to say it’s just a good song. It’s really like fun and dancey.
Joel: They’re all really good. Really it’s very hard to choose.
How long did you film?
Pixie: Seven months. Two months of rehearsals, five months of shooting.
What did you guys do in between filming?
Pixie: We had tutoring a lot, which was, it was okay, you know, it was tutoring. But we had quite a lot of fun. We had like tents, and there was a place called craft services which is the most magical place on earth. There was lots of food, and it was great.
Joel: I remember one day they had a chocolate water fountain with marshmallows and cookies.
Pixie: It was great.
Joel: And strawberries.
How was the scene with Meryl Streep?
Pixie: It was really, really, really crazy because you don’t look at things in that perspective, ever, unless you look between your legs and nobody really does that. And so that was really, it was really fun.
Was there anything surprising when you saw the film?
Pixie: Yeah, the green screen because you’re in a green room and then you watch the film, you’re like oh, that’s so detailed. And even if you were, like on topsies, there are things on the camera that it picks up, that you don’t pick up in your eye, and you sort of watch the film and you’re like oh, I didn’t realize that was there, or oh yeah, I remember that. And then sometimes it’s just a bit of a surprise ‘cause if you were actually there, then it’s a bit confusing if you see something that wasn’t there.
Was there anything that you learned from the older actors on set?
Pixie: Just be yourself, do what you think is right, and then if you get a note, then you get a note. It’s okay.
What was it like to do the scenes where you are on a crane and flying?
Pixie: Very, fun, very, very fun.
Joel: It was fun, kind of uncomfortable though.
Pixie: The harnesses are like, they’re uncomfortable, but that’s okay.
Joel: They’re very, very stiff so you really itch.
Pixie: But people think that they just hold you up, but you have to hold up your legs and your head and your core. It just holds like that bit, and you have to like hold up everything else, so it kind of hurts after a while [LAUGH] and your legs kind of go dead.
What advice would you give other kids that want to go into acting?
Pixie: If you really want to pursue it then just do, because honestly it’s the greatest feeling when you’re on set, and it just gives you that buzz.
Joel: Business is business.
Have any of your friends seen the movie?
Pixie: No, they’re still waiting to see it.
How do you think they’re going to react to seeing you on screen?
Pixie: I just know that they’re gonna love it because it’s Mary Poppins and it’s iconic, and it’s amazing. And I really hope they’re gonna like it, because if they don’t, then hmm. But yeah, I know they’re gonna love it because some of my friends love the first one and it’s gonna be great, yeah.
What do your siblings think about you being in the movie?
Pixie: They’re all really proud of me, and it’s really fun because they all love Mary Poppins and they’re really happy and they’ve seen, well two of my siblings have seen Returns and they really loved it. They’re really excited to see it again tonight.
Joel: Yeah, my sister, she’s been really supportive of me during the past few months that we have had where we’re not allowed to tell anyone. I remember one time when I just blurted it all out accidentally because I had signed the papers to say, no I’m not gonna do it, but I still hadn’t got the job. I didn’t know so it was like, I just accidentally blurted it out when my teacher said hey, what are we all looking forward to? And I just accidentally just blurted it out.
Was there anything you would’ve wanted to take home from the set?
Pixie: Costumes, because they were amazing, and the animated sequence, that was hand-painted and handmade. Well, all their costumes are handmade, but the hand-painted ones are really, really special because they had gone through so much of a process of doing all of that and that was really so special that people go through all of this hard work just for you. And it’s kind of like oh, for me?
Joel: If it were really magical, I would take the bath(tub).
What did you enjoy the most about working under Rob Marshall’s direction?
Pixie: He’s such a lovely director, honestly. He is the nicest man. And he’s so helpful because if you don’t really understand the note then he’ll explain it a bit more, or he’s just such a nice, lovely man.
What was it like working with Dick Van Dyke?
Pixie: Amazing. Words cannot describe it. It was so incredible because he was in the first one and it’s just iconic. He’s a legend. And well he’s a legend to me because he was in the first one. He was in a lot of other Disney movies, and yeah, it was really, really special.
Besides Mary Poppins, what’s your favorite Disney movie?
Pixie: I really like The Little Mermaid and The Aristocats, and Saving Mr. Banks because it’s fun seeing it all behind the scenes. I like Pocahontas. Yeah, I like all the Disney movies, like the classic Disney movies, yeah.
What’s something that your friends want to know about this experience?
Pixie: Food, costumes, hair, makeup.
Joel: Most of the time people keep having to ask me when is it coming out, when is it coming out? I don’t know why they say it. It’s just they forget.
Mary Poppins Returns in theatres December 19th!
I was invited by Disney to attend the #MaryPoppinsReturnsEvent. All opinions are my own.