Warwick Davis, 43, has featured in some of the most successful movies of all time. Ahead of Willow’s 25th anniversary Blu-ray release, he talks to Roger Crow about that fantasy adventure, sitcom Life’s Too Short, and his thoughts on turning to the Dark Side in JJ Abrams’s Star Wars VII.
WARWICK, HARD TO BELIEVE IT’S 25 YEARS SINCE WILLOW WAS RELEASED. WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF MAKING IT?
As you say, it doesn’t feel like a film that we made 25 years ago, but I had an amazing experience on it. I was 17 years old; for me, it was a wonderful opportunity to do something where I wasn’t hidden behind a mask.
YOU’D PROVED YOU COULD CARRY A SCENE AS AN EWOK IN RETURN OF THE JEDI AND THE SPIN-OFF TV MOVIES. WAS THERE PRESSURE TO PROVE YOUR WORTH AS AN ACTOR WITHOUT MAKE-UP?
The level of performance is still the same whether you’re behind a mask or not; it’s a different set of skills. When the mask is removed, it all becomes about subtlety, because you’re not having to ‘push it through’, and you have body language to go with it. It’s all about the subtlety of expression. (Director) Ron Howard was brilliant.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH VAL KILMER?
It was great. He’s a bit of an enigma, isn’t he? He’s one of those actors you kind of know stuff about; he’s normally in glossy gossip magazines. That’s not really him. He’s crazy and he’s out there, but he’s quite a regular guy. We got on so well. I couldn’t have got through that film without people like him. Val kept me from taking it too seriously. He was always there to lend a bit of advice on acting.
DID YOUR SITCOM LIFE’S TOO SHORT HAVE AN EFFECT ON PEOPLE’S INTEREST IN WILLOW?
Yes, it actually gave Willow somewhat of a renaissance; even the people that hadn’t seen it were like, ‘What are they on about? I need to check this out’, and other people said to me, ‘I love Willow. I can’t believe nobody’s ever heard of it’.
VAL’S GUESTING IN THE LIFE’S TOO SHORT EASTER SPECIAL. CAN YOU REVEAL ANYTHING ABOUT IT?
We were offered a series but Ricky’s (Gervais) got so many commitments. We had a finite amount of time to do it, but the story that they’ve written works so well as a mini TV movie; you can just get into it. I wish I could tell you about it. It is so good.
* Willow 25th Anniversary Blu-ray is available on March 11 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment