ANNABELLE DAVIS AND HER TIME ON SET WITH HARRY POTTER, STAR WARS, AND JACK THE GIANT SLAYER
My name is Annabelle, I’m 21 years old. My Dad, Warwick Davis is an actor, director and producer and whilst growing up we would always get to travel and visit wherever he was working. He has appeared in all 8 Harry Potter films and this is where most of my memories of visiting on set come from. I even got to have my 13th birthday in the Great Hall at Hogwarts where the entire cast, including Alan Rickman in full Snape costume and wig sung ‘Happy Birthday’ to me.
"CLEVER GOBLIN" IN HARRY POTTER
Growing up in this magical world, I fell in love with films and being on set, there really is nothing quite like it. Seeing how much me and my brother, Harrison enjoyed hanging around the studios, my Dad put in a word with the producers and, when I was 12 and Harrison only 6, we were lucky enough to appear as Goblins in last film, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - Part 2.
For this, I had to have a life-cast, so they could sculpt a goblin head for me. The whole process takes around 45 minutes, and involves layers of alginate and plaster to create a mould of your head. It was like the best face mask ever, and I love a face mask. The milkshake like substance is applied cold but gradually warms up as the layers build up. Although it looks claustrophobic, I loved it. And don’t worry, you’re in safe hands as there is one person just concentrating on keeping your nostrils clear.
Filming Harry Potter was so much fun, especially for a 12 year old who loved dressing up. Getting to wear a goblin head and hands and walk around in extremely long shoes was far better than anything in my dressing up box at home. Between takes, I would refuse to take the head off because I loved it so much. But being a kid on set can be tiring though as my brother proved when he refused to do another take unless he had a banana. Our goblin heads can be seen today at the Harry Potter Studio tour.
JACK THE GIANT SLAYER
We then both got to work on Jack the Giant Slayer. As this took place during our school term time, we had to have an on-set tutor which was another new experience for us. Doing school work whilst dressed in period costume was a bit odd but fun.
For this film, my dad got to create a medieval pantomime to explain how the giants came about. Most of what was shot didn’t make the final cut though, but it was amazing! The stage and wings were all real, all the cloths and moving pieces of scenery were real. The whole show was run by the actors like clockwork, it all had to be so precise.
ANNABELLE IN STAR WARS
I have also been lucky enough to work on the latest Star Wars films which was such an amazing experience. Being a part of something that has such a legacy and is so beloved by fans was just incredible. Being a fan of the films myself, to be able to walk into that galaxy far, far away was so cool!
In the most recent film, Solo, being able to work alongside my dad in something like this was amazing. It was physically very hard work though but so much fun! Most of the heads you wear, you have very little or no vision at all, so you have a puppeteer directing you via an ear piece. Some of the costumes are also incredibly heavy, and at the end of each take they would take part of the costume off and give me a sip of Ribena whilst I’d get a pep talk from dad. He was great in explaining that you have to put the heat to the back of your mind, and focus on keeping your character constantly alive with small gestures and movements. In a costume you tend to make your movements bigger, to make them read, but really its the complete opposite. Subtlety works best.
The atmosphere was always amazing, everyone around gets you pumped ready for the next take. There really is nothing quite like it. Sadly, I cant say much more, we’ve all got to wait until May 25th when Solo is released.