Anna Popplewell discusses Military Boot Camp
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is a live-action drama based on the best-selling Xbox franchise that brings a brand-new story to life on a scale never before seen in the “Halo®” universe. Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn delivers an exciting story of heroism and sacrifice, taking fans back to the beginning of the human and Covenant war and leading into the events of Halo 4, the award-winning Xbox 360 exclusive video game.
The Fan Carpet‘s Marc Jason Ali had the pleasure of speaking to Anna Popplewell who brings to life Chyler Silva in Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. She tells us about bonding with the cast, how she got involved with Halo and if she’d return to Narnia given the chance…
Congratulations with Halo, you must be really proud of the result?
Yeah, I’m really proud of the result, and it was a really long project to get to work on. I hope fans are going to enjoy it cut together as a film because it was episodic when it was first released.
How did you get involved with Halo?
I knew very little about Halo when I first came to this project, and they were very secretive about releasing script material, so when I was auditioning I just kinda knew it was this massive universe and this massive video game that had lots of fans.
And then as I got closer to getting it and got the part I did a lot of reading around it and played the game, just tried to immerse myself in the world before we started shooting.
It’s a double edged sword really; having material that has so many fans because on the one hand it’s thrilling and exciting to be part of something that has such a huge audience already and also there’s a reason it has such a huge audience already; cause it’s fab, it’s also quite daunting because you don’t want to let people down and you know there’s a lot of expectation surrounding a project like this.
You mentioned that you played the game, did you get good at it?
No, I’m absolutely terrible, I’m really bad at video games sadly, better at the live action version I hope.
Did that help you get into the spirit of the character?
Yeah definitely, I mean, I think it was the way this project was made was definitely with a lot of regards for fans, and a lot of regard for the history of Halo. We had people from Microsoft on set checking that every Plasma Rifle was right and that everything was as it was imagined in the games and in the books.
This story is situated somewhere, they’re new characters, it’s new Halo fiction. I read Contact Harvest and Reach – two of the books that were really informative and helped me get a scope of the Halo world.
What other research did you do for the role?
When we arrived in Vancouver where we were shooting, all of the principal cast had to do a Military Boot Camp cause we are playing Military Cadets, and I have never done anything like that, I’d never done any Rifle training so that was very new for me and a really good experience to help us get into character and help us bond as a squad, but very difficult as well; physically challenging.
You mentioned the Rifle training, did you have to do anything else?
We did a Military Boot Camp so we did Assault Courses and lots of push ups and Rifle drills and lots of marching, it was five days of pretty intense training.
How was it working with Stewart, Tom and the rest of the cast?
They’re awesome! I’m still in touch with Stewart and I speak to the rest of the cast too.
Stewart’s totally lovely, he had a very tight schedule to work with and he was just always so sure about what he needed and what he wanted but he always had time for the cast too, he was a dream to work with.
And then Tom and Enisha and Kat and Osric and Iain are all totally lovely and we all had a great time and we were all very close. There was a lot of I think sympathy for each other, a lot of bonding after our week of Military Boot Camp.
Are there any memorable moments you can tell us about when making the film?
Yeah lots of memorable moments, I guess one of the things that sticks out in my mind was when we were doing the night shoots in the Warthog – cause we had a full scale working Warthog for this which was pretty cool.
I think some of the chase sequences that we shot in that are the most memorable for me.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on a series for American television called Reign, about the life of Mary Queen of Scots.
Can you tell us anything about that?
Yeah, it’s for the CW Network, and it’s going to be a very beautiful, exciting, plot twisting, thrilling take on Mary Queen of Scots teenage life when she was betrothed to the Dauphin of France and it’s going to start airing in October.
And who do you play?
I play on of Mary’s ladies in waiting who went with her to France.
Would you be up for returning to Narnia if the opportunity arose?
I’d love to, my character is in The Horse and His Boy, and doesn’t feature heavily in any of the other books, but if they can fit me in then I’d love to of course. But I don’t know what the plans are in terms of developing the other novels.
I’m from The Fan Carpet, what are you a fan of?
Lots of things, god I’m constantly becoming a new fan of different things, at the moment I am completely obsessed with Arrested Development cause the new series has just come out on NetFlix and I’m absolutely loving it.
And they’re making a film aren’t they?
Yeah, so that’s very exciting, as someone whose had to wait a few years for more Arrested Development, that’s really cool.
HALO 4: FORWARD UNTO DAWN IS OUT NOW ON DVD AND BLU-RAY