When you end an interview with an aching belly from laughing too hard, you know it was a good time. Hayley Atwell plays Evelyn Robin in Christopher Robin, and we were excited to learn more about her role in the film. What we didn’t know was that she would have us all cracking up over her insights, answers, and thoughts about parenting and the sweet residents of the 100 Acre Woods.
Hayley Atwell’s Reaction To The Film
When we interviewed Hayley, she told us that she has seen the film already, but watched by herself. Turns out, that was a wise choice.
“I saw it by myself, which is just as well because I started crying in the opening credits; what I felt coming out of it was the feeling of what a wonderful antidote this film is at the moment, because without it being too sentimental, it’s quite profound as the books are.”
“When I was reading them as a child, there’s this kind of sweet, endearing quality about it. These animals come alive, as an adult reading it; the profound simplicity of it just made me feel that this is a wonderful film to be telling now. It’s just something that’s very refreshing. It’s basically saying you’re enough and I just wanna hang out with you as you are. I’m a big fan of it.”
Getting The Part…In A Life Jacket
Hayley told us the hilarious story of how she got the part of Evelyn Robin, and it included a boat, a jet ski, and a life jacket. While Hayley was vacationing in Greece, her agent called her and said Director Mark Forster wanted to speak with her. She needs to find a place to Skype while in the middle of the ocean, and the captain directed her to a big rock on the shore.
“I went to the captain and I said ‘I need to find a spot where I can Skype someone.’ He said ‘you see that rock over there?’ I went ‘yeah, yeah.’ He went ‘go passed that for about ten minutes, and you’ll find a spot.'”
“I got my life jacket on and I went on a jet ski. I put my phone down the life jacket, and I went very far…until I pretty much couldn’t see any form of civilization. Then, I was able to get reception and I remember answering, ‘welcome to my office.'”
Ha! It’s always fun to find out how actors grab these roles. Sometimes you have to stop your vacation when opportunity knocks.
Playing A Strong Mother
Evelyn is the wife of Christopher Robin, and the mother of Madeline Robin. In this film, Evelyn embodies the ideal of a strong, powerful yet loving mother. I wanted to ask Hayley how was she able to play such a role, and where did she pull from to represent this everyday mom so perfectly.
Well, I have a strong mother, I have strong women in my life. I think it’s from those experiences of being with older women who set the way, and the safety that I have felt from them at times when feeling the world is a big place; and the kind of the calm, kind of voice of reason and strength, but a gentleness that comes with that. It’s something that I’ve experienced over the women in my life.
The Complexity of Evelyn
While Evelyn Robin is can seem like a simple character, there is a complexity to her, and Hayley completely appreciated that about playing this role.
“She’s not sentimental. She’s not passive. She doesn’t sit there allowing things to happen, but she also doesn’t attack (Christopher) for it. I think she’s aware of the complexities of his situation, being heartbroken about the effects it’s having on her daughter, but also not turning her daughter against her father. I think that was a very emotionally intelligent character choice to make, and one that was much more realistic. I think that’s what parents have to do and have to struggle with.”
Imaginary Divas On Set
So. Remember when I said Hayley had us cracking up? It all started with her Piglet tangent. When we we asked if she played any pranks on set (she’s known for playing pranks on her co-stars), she admitted there weren’t many shenanigans, but they did make up some awesome stories about their imaginary co-stars. Namely, Piglet. The storyline they created around Piglet being a diva on-set was legendary.
“Piglet was the diva who never came out of the trailer, was addicted to hay corns, and was a nervous wreck. I thought, in my ignorance, a very valid conversation which is: how does Piglet identify? I’m interested to know like how does he/she identify. I don’t know. How does Piglet identify?”
I can’t with her! I pretty much snort-laughed when she told us that little tidbit. Can you see it? Piglet as a Diva? I totally can.
Chatting with Hayley was so much fun. She does a wonderful job playing Evelyn in Christopher Robin. I can’t wait for you to see the film.
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