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Director PJ Hogan Discovers Neverland With "Peter Pan"

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PJ Hogan Director Peter Pan

Director P.J. Hogan at the Premiere of "Peter Pan."

Photo By Rebecca Murray
Director PJ Hogan has been described as a walking encyclopedia of knowledge when it comes to "Peter Pan" and the works of author J.M. Barrie. As the man behind the camera for the very first live action movie that actually features a real boy playing the title role, Hogan had that knowledge put to the test as he strove to remain faithful to the spirit of the source material.

At the December 13, 2003 Premiere of "Peter Pan" held at the center of old Hollywood, Grauman's Chinese Theater, director PJ Hogan discussed the challenges of bringing "Peter Pan" to the big screen and the casting of Jeremy Sumpter as Peter.

DIRECTOR PJ HOGAN:

What’s your favorite memory from working on “Peter Pan?”
There’s so many, it would be difficult to pick one of them. I love working with the kids. The kids were terrific.

And there were so many of them. Was that difficult?
Sometimes I had over a dozen of them on set at the same time, sometimes on a small set. The toughest part was us trying to stop them from trashing the set (laughing).

What was the most challenging scene to film?
The flying was really difficult, time-consuming, and really tough to do. I think actually at the end of the day, it was tougher on the kids than it was for me. They were up there on the harness 12’ off the ground, having to make it look like flying is easy and fun.

Does your directing style change when you’re working with kids?
No, it’s exactly the same. I treat the kids exactly like I would any other professional actor. I expect a lot from them, and I think they really appreciate that. Kids don’t like to be patronized.

Was there anything you asked Jeremy Sumpter to do that he couldn’t?
Actually no. I thought there would be something that he couldn’t do but he really went beyond my expectations in this part. It’s a tough role and he makes it look so easy. But there’s nothing easy about this part.

What was it about him that made him the perfect Peter Pan? Could you have done it with another child actor?
No, I don’t think so. I always said to the producers that for the part of Peter Pan, we are looking for Errol Flynn age 12 years old. That’s easier said than done. Really, Jeremy was everything we were looking for.

What do you think is the best thing about being a kid?
There’s so many good parts about being a kid. I think the days are endless, they go on and on. When you say when you’re a grown up that there aren’t enough hours in the day, there are when you’re a kid. I wish you could capture that. I wonder how they do it.

If you had your own Neverland, what would it be like?
Well, it’s up there on the screen. I got to have my own Neverland. My Neverland is what you see on the screen. That would be my adventure.

Additional “Peter Pan” Cast Interviews:
Jeremy Sumpter, Lucy Fisher/Douglas Wick/Don McAlpine/Patrick McCormick, and Ludivine Sagnier and Carsen Gray

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
"Peter Pan" Photo Gallery
"Peter Pan” Trailer, Credits and Movie News

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