Who steals the screen in Nanny McPhee Returns? Not Emma Thompson, not Maggie Gyllenhaal, and not the cute little piglets (although they come really close). It’s the young cast members, the five kids who really are the focus of the film. We got a chance to talk to three of the kids- Lil Rounds, Eros Vlahos and Rosie Taylor-Ritson – about how they got into acting, how much they hate mud and whether doing the film was more work or play?
Meet the Lil, Eros and Rosie here!
It looked like such a fun and amazing set. Did it feel more like work or play?
ALL: Play, definitely.
ROSIE TAYLOR-RITSON: You would get on the set and when you’re acting it’s really fun really and we were the most friends so it’s more like play definitely.
LIL WOODS: yeah and we didn’t see it as work ‘cause definitely with work a lot of people, I know from sort of seeing films and things, people get up and want to go oh work but we used to get up in the morning and go oh yeah, filming.
EROS VLAHOS: Yeah, definitely I agree with these two because like already said, everyone’s a big family there. You know all the cast and crew get on really well and so you come in the morning, everyone’s smiling, everyone’s happy. You know so it really doesn’t feel like work.
Now each of you what was your favorite scene to film and were there any fun, off-camera antics that went on?
ROSIE TAYLOR-RITSON: Probably my favorite film, scene to film was when me and Lil and Oscar who plays Vincent have to chase these piglets into a pond and they do some synchronized swimming in the pond and Emma was behind the camera and was like, ‘you know you guys aren’t really laughing because this is hilarious’ and you know obviously you can’t really laugh at something that’s not there. Well you can but it’s not brilliantly convincing so when she said action, for like one of the takes, she decided ‘alright then’ and she got up behind the camera and got one of the director’s helpers to push her into the pond. She started doing a bit of synchronized swimming!
LIL WOODS: My favorite scene was probably the fighting scene. We spent about 4 weeks rehearsing it and then we got there and we spent 5 days shooting it for about 3 minutes of film but it was really good fun to film.
EROS VLAHOS: Yeah, I have to agree with Lil. I think that was by far the funnest scene because it was all of us together and Emma as well and we were just like throwing ourselves all over the living room and then they like padded the whole thing out so nothing hurt so we could just like …
LIL WOODS: Yeah, they had like padding underneath the carpet.
EROS VLAHOS: Yeah and on one of the walls they’d taken out and replaced it with foam so you could literally like, there’s one bit where I bang my head against it. It looks really painful but it’s just foam.
Now in what ways are each of you like your character?
LIL WOODS: I’m quite, well I live on a farm myself at home so I’m quite like Maggie in that kind of respect but I’m definitely not as tomboyish. I’m definitely more girly.
ROSIE TAYLOR-RITSON: Like Celia, I hate mud. I can’t stand to be near it. It scares me ‘cause I just know that, because the mud was about this thick, if I put my foot in with a shoe on and I ever want to lift out, the shoe’s not going to be on my foot anymore because it swallowed it all up.
EROS VLAHOS: I’d like to think I’m not too much like my character because he’s not the nicest of fellows to begin with. I mean he does get better but I mean he’s quite, he’s quite witty and funny and I like to think sometimes I can be funny like him.
How did each of you get into acting?
LIL WOODS: Well, it’s a complete fluke really. I used to go to an after school class and a casting agent came along to cast some people for a little independent film called Blast and I went along to that and managed to get picked for the film. So I was in that. And then when that started to come out, my mom decided it was best to get me an agent, to sort everything out and things and so my agent got me Nanny McPhee and that’s how I got it.
EROS VLAHOS: Yeah, well I do a bit of stand-up comedy. I basically was a bit of a class clown when I was at school. So I just sort of started doing comedy really, on the stage you know. Five minutes and then it builds up and then it got to a point where I did a show and then there was quite a lot of media and so my mom couldn’t handle it so she got an agent and then she got auditions and then Nanny McPhee came up.
ROSIE TAYLOR-RITSON: And for me, I always loved acting when I was little and I went to acting class until I was about seven. And I’ve been going since, loads. And then I decided to go for a different acting class and one day when I was in my acting class, they went for talent spotters and they asked me to audition for the agency and my agent decided that he wanted to bring me on. And Nanny McPhee was actually I think my fourth ever audition and I happened to get it which was really good.
And for all of you guys, what do you, what do all of your friends think of you being in the new Nanny McPhee movie?
LIL WOODS: Friends don’t think it’s any different from anyone else really. Whenever I go somewhere with them they go can I tell all these people that you’re in this film and I’m your friend? I went no, no, just don’t do that. But yeah, they’re proud of me but quite a few of my friends haven’t bothered to go and see the film so.
EROS VLAHOS: Yeah, my friends they’re just pretty relaxed about the whole thing. I mean I just sort of came back into school and that was really it. I mean when it came out, when it came out I think that they all knew but don’t think any of them saw it. Which is probably for the better in a way because I don’t know if I would have wanted them to see it because I don’t know, just get embarrassed when my friends see stuff that I’m in.
ROSIE TAYLOR-RITSON: Oh me, oh. Okay, sorry. There’s no real difference really. I just went back into school and sorry, I’m, yeah, there’s no real difference.
What was your favorite part of filming? The location, the cast or the pigs?
LIL WOODS: Everything.
EROS VLAHOS: Yeah.
ROSIE TAYLOR-RITSON: Yeah, but if we had to pick one, I’d say the cast ‘cause we’ve just grown so close and it’s really nice just to have some really close friends that, you just, even if they don’t go to your school and we’re all from completely different places. Eros is from London. Lil’s from Wales and I’m just from Brighton. It’s like those kind of people that you never actually get to meet and you meet them and it’s really nice.
EROS VLAHOS: Yeah, I agree. The cast and the crew as well. You know there was such a great like family.
And last question. Have any of you ever had a babysitter or a nanny like Nanny McPhee?
LIL WOODS: I’ve never had a nanny but I did have a babysitter. I’ve had a couple of babysitters. They’re usually my mom’s friends’ daughters usually but then sometimes, I usually really like them. Sometimes my sister doesn’t like them as much as me but it works out. We’re not that naughty.
ROSIE TAYLOR-RITSON: When I was little, I used to get nannies all the time because my parents both work full-time. And so we have had about, me and my friend got nannied at the same time together and me and my friend have had about 7 or 8, loads of nannies. And there have been some chaotic ones like Nanny McPhee.
EROS VLAHOS: Oh yeah, I’ve never had a nanny. I don’t think I’ve ever really had a babysitter, well I sort of have but then normally it’s been like a friend of my parents or most of the time, I babysit my brother and he’s a nightmare. He’s terrible.
Also check out our interviews with Emma Thompson and Maggie Gyllenhaal right here!