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Interview with "Peter Pan" Star, Jeremy Sumpter


Jeremy Sumpter Peter Pan

Jeremy Sumpter at the World Premiere of "The Cat in the Hat."

Photo By Rebecca Murray
Jeremy Sumpter ("Frailty") stars in the upcoming live-action version of J.M. Barrie's classic tale, "Peter Pan." Sumpter is breaking new ground as the boy who wouldn't grow up. Director P.J. Hogan's big screen adaptation marks the very first time in film history the part has been played by a real boy.

I caught up with the "Peter Pan" star at the World Premiere of another Universal Pictures' film, "The Cat in the Hat." Looking collected and ready to relax and enjoy the festivities, Sumpter enthusiastically talked about his upcoming film.

What can we expect from “Peter Pan?”
This movie has everything a person wants in a movie. It has action, it has love, it has drama, [and] it has adventure. It’s a movie for all ages. It’s going to be a great movie.

What kind of training did you have to go through for “Peter Pan?”
I had to train for five months before the shoot. I had to do harness training to learn how to fly and learn how to swordfight. It was really difficult. You had to get some back muscles and some abs and stuff so you can actually hold yourself in the air. It was hard work.

What was the training like? Walk me through a day.
We trained for four or five hours a day, and in that period I had to do school. I’d do like an hour there, come back and do an hour of school, and then come back and do an hour [of training].

What you do is, you had to learn how to swordfight. My main problem was I had to learn how to keep my knees straight, which was really hard. My knees kept coming in and won’t go straight. You had to make a perfect ‘T’ with your feet. You just had to be relaxed, just be fluid.

What was your favorite scene to film?
My favorite scenes [were] the pirate ship scene and the Black Castle. Those were my two favorites. They are really amazing scenes.

What were the sets like? Did you feel like you were in a fantasy world?
We had eight stages. There were eight stages on this lot and we had all of them. One sole stage was the Black Castle. We had a pool inside, we had a pirate ship, and we had the nursery. We had it all. It was a fantastic place.

Did you do battle against Jason Isaacs a lot?
Oh yeah, he’s great. You don’t want to mess with him when the camera’s rolling.

Even with all the training, were there any accidents?
I got stabbed a couple of times with a sword. I actually have a scar here [indicating his side] to prove it (laughing). It’s a little scar but… We were doing a scene, me and Jason were coming back blindfolded, and I actually hit him right on his upper lip with a sword. It knocked him on his back. His lip went, “Poof” [indicating blood flying].

"Peter Pan" was directed by P.J. Hogan and will be released on December 25, 2003.

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