Stars of TV film tell of ter­ror

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

THE cast of Water­ship Down have shared the ter­ror they felt as they watched the film’s orig­i­nal an­i­mated ver­sion as chil­dren.

James McAvoy, John Boyega, Gemma Arter­ton and Ni­cholas Hoult are among a star-stud­ded cast voic­ing the rab­bits in the BBC One ver­sion of the best-sell­ing novel, which was fa­mously adapted into a film in 1978.

McAvoy, who plays Hazel, said watch­ing the orig­i­nal an­i­ma­tion as a child had struck ter­ror into him. Asked why he had taken the role in the re­boot, the 39-year-old replied: “From the deep love and ter­ror that watch­ing the 1978 an­i­ma­tion put in­side my bones, and then from read­ing the novel later in life when it blew me away all over again.”

Arter­ton, who plays naive hutch rab­bit Clover, said she had been “pet­ri­fied” by the “har­row­ing” orig­i­nal af­ter watch­ing it at a young age.

The 32-year-old hailed the tale as a “classic” of Bri­tish lit­er­a­ture which had lessons to teach the pub­lic in en­vi­ron­men­tal­ism.

She said: “Water­ship Down is such a classic story in Bri­tish lit­er­a­ture. I re­mem­ber see­ing the 1978 an­i­ma­tion when I was very young - and be­ing pet­ri­fied by it.

“Hav­ing re­vis­ited the story as an adult, it’s so per­ti­nent, es­pe­cially for these days and these times.”

Hoult plays Fiver, who is able to see vi­sions of the fu­ture and fore­tells the de­struc­tion of the rab­bits’ home, San­dle­ford War­ren. He said he had found his char­ac­ter’s night­mares es­pe­cially ghoul­ish.

He said: “The story is scary at times. Par­tic­u­larly for me, watch­ing Fiver’s night­mares, as they are fairly ter­ri­fy­ing. But it’s all there for the story, and not un­suit­able for your chil­dren to be watch­ing with you.”

Stars War ac­tor Boyega, 26, de­scribed the orig­i­nal film as “dev­as­tat­ing” but sug­gested the emo­tional stakes were higher now with the added re­al­ism that com­puter gen­er­ated im­agery al­lowed.

“This ver­sion, whilst still an­i­ma­tion, looks a lot more real now, and it’s so in­ter­est­ing to take that ap­proach. With CG you can add a sense of re­al­ity, which in­creases the emo­tional stakes for those watch­ing it.”

Water­ship Down will air as two fea­ture-length episodes on BBC One on Satur­day De­cem­ber 22 and Sun­day De­cem­ber 23.

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