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Living the fantasy

June 25th, 2007 by Paul Martin

The teenage Kiwi cast of The Bridge to Terabithia talk about making the fantasy film and going to Hollywood

The Bridge To Terabithia was filmed in and around Auckland’s Riverhead Forest, using the special effects of Wellington’s Weta Digital.

The film adaptation of Katherine Paterson’s popular young adult novel, first published in 1977, is from the producers of the Narnia films, backed by Walden Media and Disney.

And while its two teen leads, Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb, are rising American stars, the film gave roles to a group of young Kiwis who attended its premiere in Hollywood earlier this year.

TimeOut asked three of them what the Terabithia experience was like …

Elliot Lawless (who plays Gary Fulcher)
Age: 14
Previous experience: Includes being a Whacked presenter for Nickelodeon, roles in Power Rangers, Maddigan’s Fantasia and PET Detectives. Also in the upcoming NZ-shot fantasy film The Waterhorse

Devon Wood (who plays Brenda Aarons)
Age: 16
Previous experience: Was in the Treasure Island Kids series of films shot here in 2003.

Cameron Wakefield (who plays Scott Hoager)
Age: 14
Previous experience: Roles in TV series The New Tomorrow and The Killian Curse.
How did making Bridge to Terabithia compare to your previous acting experiences?

Elliot: The make-up and wardrobe was the same but what was totally different is the relationships with the people. It’s amazing how close we have all become.

Devon: Bridge to Terabithia was a much larger-scale production with a far bigger budget than the other films I was in.

Cameron: It was great to be involved in a Disney movie especially with it being a true story. I knew a lot of the crew from other sets so working was like being with my second family and friends. To be able to have had the experience of working with [director] Gabor Csupo was real cool and the legendary [director of photography] Michael Chapman was an honour. Hanging out with the American cast was cool. I have stayed in contact with them and look forward to hopefully working with them again soon.

What sticks out most in your memory about the time you were making the movie?

Elliot: The Kiwi kids having their own trailer and the fun we had during breaks. Also the classroom scenes.

Devon: I guess that would be hanging around on the set with the other cast members, chatting and getting to know them.

Cameron: The scene where my character got punched by the good guy because I bullied him. Everyone on set cheered when he nailed me. They set up cups full of confetti to land on me when I impacted! It looked really good in the movie. Also meeting David Paterson, one of the producers and screenwriter, as he was the boy who was bullied in real life and his mum Katherine who wrote the book.

[NZ Herald for page 2]