This past Monday, The Knockturnal was able to sit down with the cast of “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” to find out which stunts were the hardest, what it’s like to work with Tim Burton, and most importantly, what peculiarity they would want for themselves.
When asked which peculiarity they would want for themselves, Finlay MacMillan, who plays Frankenstein-in-training Enoch, jumped in immediately, “I call fire!” It’s obvious that not only had they all thought about this extensively, but fought over it a bit as well. Ella Purnell, who plays Emma an air user and Jake’s (Asa Butterfield) love interest, went with Hugh’s peculiarity of having bees live inside her. When asked about her choice she explained, “This is a competition and I will win.”
The cast assembled, (Ella Purnall, Asa Butterfield, Lauren McCrostie, and Finlay MacMillan) are amongst the oldest of the peculiar children, but still range in age only from ninteen to twenty years old. Despite their young age, they each have extensive training and experience and it shows when they speak. When discussing their experience working with Tim Burton they spoke in reverent tones, listing a backlog of Burton movies that inspired them in their careers–many of which were released when they were toddlers.
On the other side, they are still young and it showed when they discussed their favorite scenes to film. Purnell referenced a scene toward the end of the movie in which the children all got to lob cotton candy and foam from the top of a carnival amusement, while MacMillan discussed a scene that involved fake rain. He had never been in a major film before, so seeing how fake rain was created was a source of wonder.
The tone in the room was light and humorous, even as the cast fielded tough questions about entering a pre-existing fanbase. Butterfield called it “scary,” while MacMillan opted for the word “intimidating.” Early on, when it was revealed that two characters, Emma and Olive, would be swapping peculiarities for the film, the Internet exploded with activity citing the switch as an injustice to the book created by Ransom Riggs. Despite this, the cast continue to feel confident about the changes. Purnell, who received the most flack, stated that she believes the book and film are separate entities in the same universe, meant to be enjoyed separately. She even refrained from reading the series until the third week of filming in order to solidify her grasp of “Film Emma” before delving into the Emma from the series.
Apart from the intial fan outrage, the cast also had to overcome some very real fears for their stunts. Burton is known for trying to limit the use of CGI and special effects in his films whenever possible, so many of the stunts were actually performed. As far as which was most difficult Purnell said, “Floating, because I can’t float.” She then went on to describe the difficulty that she and Butterfield had while filming scenes underwater. Purnell had to learn how to swim and both she and Butterfield were blind as they were able to wear their corrective lenses in the tank. To see these stunts and others for yourself, check out “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” on September 30th.