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Published:December 4th, 2011 15:31 EST

Neverland Is a Prequel to the Peter Pan Story

By Paulette Cohn

Did you ever wonder how Peter Pan and the Lost Boys got to Neverland?  Or how Captain Hook lost his hand? Then check out the upcoming Syfy two-night special Neverland. 

In the prequel to the story that we all know and love, Neverland stars Charlie Rowe as the irrepressible Peter Pan, Rhys Ifans as Jimmy Hook " not yet captain, and Anna Friel as Elizabeth Bonny, one of the only new characters in the book " and a female pirate captain to boot!

In this exclusive interview, Paulette Cohn talks to Charlie Rowe to find out what it is like to play the boy who never grew up, flying ... with a little help with cables and more Neverland news!

This is your first starring role?

Yes, this is my big thing.  It`s extremely exciting.  Yes, it`s very daunting. I`ve got big boots to fill.  But it`s just very exciting at the same time and I am very excited for it to come out.  It`s every boy`s dream, so I try not to think about what people think, just try and do what I do.

Were you into Peter Pan before you got this role?

I think every young boy is and little girl " all little girls want to be Wendy, all little boys want to be Peter Pan, sword fighting.  Obviously I read the book, had seen all the films and just loved it.  Loved the whole fantasy of it and the magical world, that`s why I was so excited.

Did they tell you why they cast you? Was there some English quality about you or something that they told you that`s why you got that part?

The director just said, You walked through the door and I knew that you should be Peter Pan. "

I can totally see it.  So this is a different Peter Pan than we`ve seen before because it`s a prequel.

Yes, but it`s a back story to Peter Pan, like Wicked is to the Wizard of Oz.

Right.  Can you tell us a little bit?


Peter Pan`s starts off as a ragamuffin in London Town with this gang of lost boys, and then there`s this man called Jimmy (Rhys Ifans) who`s the owner of a fencing club, who`s his father figure I suppose.  He sort of is a Fagin-type character. He takes care of these little boys, makes them work the streets of London, picking pockets and doing robberies and stuff like that.  Peter Pan always wants to grow up -- and that`s what`s really different about the story is he wants to grow up.  He wants to be standing beside Jimmy being the leader, and he can`t.  Jimmy says, When you`re older you can, " and Peter Pan doesn`t like that.

Then loads of stuff happens and they get transported to Neverland where times stands still and Peter can`t grow up, and that`s really hard for him.  He doesn`t really know how to act to that.

But he still becomes the leader?

Yes, he still does.  Throughout the story he realizes and tells the story without knowing he does grow up and he turn to be this respectable adult, which he leads the Lost Boys.  Then he has to turn into his Peter Pan that we all know and love for the safety of his Lost Boys, and yes that`s very quick.

Do  you fly in it?

Yes.  Well, it`s great and fun and a really great feeling, sort of up there in the sky and everyone is down below sort of just looking up.  You have this harness and your wire is attached to you, and they pull you up and they pull you across.  So they`re sort of moving you around, but it`s all down to where do you position your body, like you have one arm out and then you`ll fly down; if you have two arms out then you`ll stay straight, if you have one arm up, you`ll do a somersault and things like that.  So it`s all about the way you hold the body.  It`s really great fun and really good for you, and really healthy but it hurts.

You had to learn how to fence for this?

Yes.  This whole thing was every boy`s dream, sword fighting, flying, everything.  Yes, they were lots of days just learning to pick up a sword, flinging them about, having sword fights with Rhys Ifans, Anna Friel the lot of them.  It`s amazing.

Was most of it was shot using green screen, or did you actually go to some beautiful island?

I wish.  Seventy-five percent of it is greenscreen and animation, which is it`s really cool because it allows you to create  much of the world.  It`s quite hard to act with nothing around.

You do get to act with other people but you don`t "

Yes, all these other people but you don`t have surroundings or the atmosphere.  But it`s good, it`s challenging, and that`s what we like. We like to be challenged.

Neverland premieres on Sunday, December 4th and Monday December 5th at 9 p.m. on Syfy. Don`t miss it.

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