The Topshop site interviewed Ellie about her new movie ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms‘ which will debut this week in theaters around the world.
Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is set to be the Christmas movie of the year, transporting us to the magical world of The Sugarplum Fairy and The Mouse King with a new spin on the classic E.T.A. Hoffmann tale. We spoke to up-and-coming British actress Ellie Bamber (Nocturnal Animals) – who plays Clara’s older sister Louise in the movie – to find out what we can expect…
How did you get cast in this movie?
I auditioned and met with the director Lasse Hallström. Then I actually didn’t hear anything for a couple of months, so I kind of forgot all about it. I was so excited when I eventually got offered the role and I was really keen to work with Lasse.
Can you tell us a bit about your role as Louise?
I play Louise, she’s Clara’s older sister. In the first scenes of the film you get to know the Stahlbaum children, the family’s situation and how Louise has to step up to look after the family and take care of Clara.
What was your initial reaction when you read the script?
It takes you straight into this magical fantasy. I was instantly thinking about what the sets might look like that would create all of these different worlds. And I was instantly excited to see what the ballet would look like on screen.
How would you describe the film in three words?
Epic, magical and dreamy.
How did you prepare for the role?
A lot of it was hearing Lasse’s ideas and talking to him about the character, and how he sees her looking after her siblings. We came up with new ideas together, which meant I had creative input into the role to some extent. Lasse was very keen for us to really work on it together and see what my ideas were and what I could bring to the role.
Did you go see the ballet in preparation?
It wasn’t on at the time I was preparing for it, but I did see the ballet when I was little and have very nostalgic memories of it. I think having seen it, even though it was a while ago, helped me with this role to some extent.
What is your first childhood memory of the nutcracker tale?
Me and my brother once got this actual wooden nutcracker and you could crack peanuts in its mouth. I remember being so captivated by it, and even though it was meant for me and my brother I loved it so much that I just took it into my room and played with it on my own. I think my brother was actually quite afraid of it, but I loved it so much that we eventually went to go see the ballet.
Did your experience working as a theatre actress help being in such theatrical, ballet-inspired film?
Because the theatre is where I was trained, I think it usually has an effect on all of my work. And then of course even more so with a film like this.
What was the best moment on set?
The sets themselves! They were incredible. We even had snow machines and everything. Just seeing the whole thing when I first stepped onto the set was so impressive that it kind of took my breath away. It all felt so real. As an actor it’s a real pleasure to be working on a set like that.
What was the biggest challenge?
Probably actually meeting Lasse, and seeing if he liked my work.
What was it like being in a film with such a talented cast and actual ballet dancers like Misty Copeland?
It was so inspiring, all the actors were actually amazing and it was a real joy. I love the ballet, so to have real dancers in the film was an amazing asset. I’m sure it will have an incredible effect on the audience.
What was it like wearing the incredible costumes?
One of the dresses that I wear, which is my mother’s favourite dress in the film, was so beautiful. I had several fittings for it and just fell in love with it. Especially with a period film it’s just great to see the costumes and how fashion has evolved. I loved spending time with the costume designer Jenny Beavan, and going to a fitting is always amazing because they have all these rails of costumes from lots of different periods. When costumes are so beautifully crafted it always transforms you somehow.
Why do you think people should go see this film?
I just think it’s spectacular and it’s got something for everyone. And Mackenzie Foy really brings the film to life, I think she’s fabulous. It’s just a magical experience all around.
What is your all-time favourite Christmas movie?
I think probably Elf or The Grinch. I love the Grinch.
What is your favourite Disney film?
I love all the classics, like Cinderella, Snow White, The Little Mermaid and Lady and the Tramp. I also really love The Nightmare Before Christmas. There are just so many really incredible Disney films and having grown up watching them it’s quite crazy to be a part of one now.
What do you enjoy doing on a day off?
Mainly catching up with my friends and family. When I’m away filming it can be hard to find time to see them. And also obviously shopping!
Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is out in UK cinemas 2nd November
Click on the thumbnails below to see the first official photo of Ellie as Louise in ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’.