The up-and-coming star of new movie The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Jayden Fowora-Knight discusses his first role in a movie and what really goes into making The Nutcracker.
Coming November 2nd to theaters, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a readaptation of the classic story of The Nutcracker, turning it into a fantastical and amazing journey through mystical worlds. The film stars Mackenzie Foy alongside a cast that includes Morgan Freeman, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, and many more great actors. The Knockturnal spoke to one of the stars of the film, newcomer Jayden Fowora-Knight who plays Philip, the titular Nutcracker in the story.
The Knockturnal: So first of all, I’m really looking forward to seeing Nutcracker. It looks really cool. This is your first major role, correct?
Jayden Fowora-Knight: This is my first major role in a movie. This is pretty much my first role in a movie.
The Knockturnal: What was it like working on set? Especially with a number of filmmakers and actors who have been in the industry for forever?
Jayden Fowora-Knight: It was tough to get up to speed on what they were doing, but to me, everyone was quite helpful knowing that I’m new to this stuff. But it was actually really fun, the whole filming process and everything. Everyone was accommodating, everyone was so… I don’t even know how to describe it. It was fun! It did get really busy, and very low-key stressful at times, but people were there to help you through it so it was all gucci, yeah.
The Knockturnal: So what’s your background, how did you get into acting and this film in the first place? Have you always been an actor or a dancer or—
Jayden Fowora-Knight: My background before Nutcracker was theater, so acting and singing. But to get into The Nutcracker I just auditioned and [agent Lucy Bevan] really helped me when it came to the audition process. But because of Nutcracker, it was the first time I ever really auditioned for a big movie role, so I went to Pinewood [Studios, where The Nutcracker and the Four Realms was filmed] and—I think it was the first time I had ever been there and wow it was crazy—I went there for about three or four days straight because of the auditions back to back.
The Knockturnal: Did you know that you were auditioning for basically the title role of the movie during the auditions?
Jayden Fowora-Knight: Initially I didn’t, but my mum had done her research and told me what I was actually going out for. And that added the stress a little bit. But yeah, I didn’t know that it was going to be a big thing at the time I guess, how big it was going to be.
The Knockturnal: What can you tell audiences about your character, Philip the Nutcracker?
Jayden Fowora-Knight: In this story, the Nutcracker is a little more adventurous and a little more outgoing and a little more daring. However, it does take him a minute to get there. So bare with him! Some might think he’s a goody-two-shoes, but he is full of surprises.
The Knockturnal: The Nutcracker is best known as a ballet. Do you do any dancing in the movie?
Jayden Fowora-Knight: I don’t personally do any dancing in the movie. We have a little bit of dancing as a nod to Tchaikovsky, it’s done by Misty Copeland and Sergei [Poulnin]. The way they do it, their dancing is brilliant. Like there isn’t that much dancing in the movie, but the bit we have is… woah.
The Knockturnal: What was the most surprising part of being in the movie for you? What surprised you about what was going on in the movie?
Jayden Fowora-Knight: I guess it was the fact that I didn’t know the whole movie process. I was just taken with how long it takes to make a movie. There are a lot of different jobs that go into making a movie, and a lot of different behind the scenes people. Even when you look at behind the scenes things, there is so much you don’t really see. It’s just like… this is a big industry and it’s so unseen. I was just amazed by the work that goes into it. I gotta give props to everyone in the film business. Their work is incredible.
The Knockturnal: You and Mackenzie Foy are basically the leads of the movie. Who else were you excited to perform with?
Jayden Fowora-Knight: A lot of my scenes are with Mackenzie, so she and I spent a lot of time together on set. But I did do a number of scenes with Jack Whitehall and Omid Djalili, and that was just jokes the way through.
The Knockturnal: I’m sure it is a really exciting time right now, especially now that everything is ramping up for the release.
Jayden Fowora-Knight: It really is. I’m so excited to see how everything turns out. I haven’t seen the movie fully yet, so from what we were doing on set, and from what I’ve seen it’s looking gold. I am excited to see the finished product.
The Knockturnal: What do you think will most surprise and astonish the audience about The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Jayden Fowora-Knight: It is such an old story that has never really been changed this much. We’ve added our own backstory and our own twist and our own flavor to it, and I think people are going to be shocked at the way we really created a whole world out of such a historical story. It’s a good book, but this is taking it to new places.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms comes out on November 2nd in theaters everywhere.