The young actress talks about her role in the fantasy adaptation, future projects and more.
Sarah Bolger is certainly going places. The 17-year-old Irish actress may only have a handful of credits to her name, but after performances in In America and Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker, Bolger is getting noticed. She stars alongside Freddie Highmore in the fantasy flick The Spiderwick Chronicles, which comes to DVD and Blu-Ray on June 24. I had the chance to speak with Bolger over the phone about her latest film, and here's what she had to say.
Had you read these books before signing on for this role and what attracted you to this character, Mallory Grace?
Sarah Bolger: Yeah, I read the books about a year before I even heard about it was being made into a movie. I really liked the books, to be honest. I didn't think that they were just childrens books, so I was very excited when I was told this was being made into a movie. I was eager to audition.
So was this something you actively pursued or did they come to you for this?
Sarah Bolger: Actually, what happened was I met with the producers from Nickelodeon a few months beforehand and they told me this was in the works. They sent me the script but I really wanted the role so I was thrilled to get it.
This is your second role in a row that's from a young adult adaptation after Stormbreaker. Are these the kinds of roles that you pursue or is that just a coincidence?
Sarah Bolger: Yeah, that is sort of a coincidence. I don't know how it happens but sometimes these movies come together in a line. That was a coincidence but the roles I really liked because these characters are strong women who could be role models I suppose.
So The Spiderwick Chronicles is the biggest budgeted film you've worked on. Is it easier or tougher to work on a movie with this kind of a scope?
Sarah Bolger: Well, there's definitely more involvement in this kind of movie because most of the films I've done have either been in England or Ireland. Smaller budgeted sets tend to stay where they originate. In Spiderwick, we filmed some time in Los Angeles and we filmed some time in Montreal. I've never done anything with CGI before and that's what these bigger budget films entail, these amazing visual effects and CGI characters. We got the guy, Phil Tippett, who worked on Jurassic Park, worked on Spiderwick. That's what comes along with these high-end budget movies, which was very exciting.
For green-screen work, I've heard some people say they prefer it, I've heard some people say it's harder. What do you think about green-screen work? Is it tougher or easier than conventional acting?
Sarah Bolger: I think there is more involvement in it because you have to be totally aware of what's happening. You have to absolutely know what this character does, it's movements and it's height. That's the most important thing, eye-line. You have to really look like you're reacting to this character who is, just on set, a tennis ball (Laughs). It's a little weird at the end of the day when you're talking to a tennis ball for five months.
You have a pretty big cast to work with in Freddie Highmore, Nick Nolte, Mary Louise-Parker and David Strathairn. How was that experience and what did you learn from those big names?
Sarah Bolger: Well, gosh, when I saw the list of names that were coming along with this movie, I was amazed. I think Mary Louise-Parker, in Weeds, is fantastic. I was really excited to work with David Strathairn because, after meeting him, he's a total gentelman. He's one of the most professional actors I've ever met in my life, so I was thrilled to work with him.
Do you have any favorite stories, just from hanging out on the set or any favorite scene you did?
Sarah Bolger: Hmm let me think. Well definitely my favorite scene was the tunnel sequence. That was just so much fun. They filmed it in this huge tunnel that was built over these two stages in this studio in Montreal. We were just stuck in this tunnel for like two days. We really had to work ourselves up to be totally scared of this creature. I think it's one of Mallory's first experiences with scary freaky goblins. I think that scene really worked and it's my favorite one. On the set, I mean, every day was fantastic, to be honest. I mean, it was miserable, it was cold, minus 15 some days, but I'd go back in a second.
Have you seen the DVD yet? They have quite a few special features on this.
Sarah Bolger: I haven't, actually. I know there's a two-disc special edition, but I don't know what's on it. I'm very excited to see the making-of, that should be pretty cool.
Both this and Stormbreaker are novel series. Has there been any talks about future movie installments for these?
Sarah Bolger: Yeah. It's in the pipeling. I suppose it's getting everyone back and being free, if they're not working. Obviously, I'll do another Spiderwick, absolutely. I haven't heard about a sequel to Stormbreaker, but I just really want a sequel to Spiderwick. Mark Waters was such a fantastic director to work with and the actors are all fantastic.
You're still in high school so you obviously can't work as much as a lot of actors. Since you can't work as much, are there certain things you look for in a role when you're choosing it?
Sarah Bolger: Yeah. I definitely look for strong women roles because I hate that kind of damsel-in-distress sort of thing and I want to play a role model who's not afraid to get in there, a feisty character. I think that's definitely what Mallory is. She's definitely not going to back down from anything and I think the swordfighting thing was very cool.
Is there anything that you're eyeing up for the future or anything you're working on now?
Sarah Bolger: Yeah. Do you know the TV series The Tudors?
Sarah Bolger: I'm in the second season of that, which is airing in the U.S. and I'm filming the third season at the end of June.
Are there any other films that you're eyeing up?
Sarah Bolger: At the moment, well I have to finish this but who knows. There are a few scripts going around and you never know if they're greenlit or not.
Finally, how would you sum up your whole experience on Spiderwick, and for our readers who haven't caught this film yet, what would you say to try and persuade them to pick it up on DVD?
Sarah Bolger: Well, I think this is a fantastical movie. It's fast-paced, it's exciting, it's full of adventures. I think there is not one boring bit in this movie. It's completely on the go. It's quite funny, I think. I've seen it 8 times and I'm not sick of it (Laughs).
Well, that's about all I have for you Sarah. Thanks a lot for your time today.
Sarah Bolger: Thanks very much. It was nice talking to you.
You can find Sarah and the rest of the cast of The Spiderwick Chronicles when it hits the DVD and Blu-Ray shelves on June 24.