Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” stars teen actress Mackenzie Foy (“Interstellar,” “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”) as Clara, an intelligent 14-year-old with a penchant for science.
Based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale and “The Nutcracker,” the big-screen adventure showcases the wondrous journey of Clara, who finds herself in the mystical world of the Four Realms, home to a host of eccentric characters and no shortage of surprises.
According to screenwriter Ashleigh Powell, Clara isn’t really comfortable in her skin. “She’s kind of a fish out of water,” says Powell. “She doesn’t fit into the normal stereotypes of a Victorian girl—she’s not interested in fancy dresses and the like. She’s more of a tomboy. She likes creating and building and figuring out how things work. In that respect, she’s very similar to her godfather, Drosselmeyer, so they’re kindred spirits.”
But Clara struggles with the recent passing of her mother. “It’s the first Christmas that her family is spending without Marie,” says Powell. “And her mother has left behind Christmas presents for Clara and her siblings, which sets everything into motion.”
Clara receives an egg-shaped music box with a note that reads, “Everything you need is inside.” But the box is locked and, surprisingly, there is no key. Clara is disappointed and confused, but determined to unlock the music box and the secrets it holds. Her confusion persists until a golden thread, presented to her at her grandfather’s annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. She is welcomed with open arms by the regents, particularly Sugar Plum Fairy, who confides that she was once very close with Marie.
But this strange new world is not whole. It is scarred with past conflict—one regent is in exile, her realm forgotten and crawling with mice who serve as her soldiers. Clara and Phillip must brave this ominous Fourth Realm, home to the regent-turned-tyrant Mother Ginger, to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world.
Says director Lasse Hallström, “Clara learns through the course of the story that she’s worthy of trusting herself and worthy of being herself.”
Mackenzie Foy brings the character to life. “Clara is a very complex person,” says Foy. “She has all these different emotions—she’s hurting, but she doesn’t want people to see that. She’s also an outcast for being an intelligent young woman in a Victorian society. She doesn’t yet realize what a wonderful thing that is.”
“Mackenzie is a brilliant young actress,” adds Hallström. “She’s so alive, she’s technically brilliant and she has impeccable instincts.”
“The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” opens in Philippine cinemas October 31, 2018.
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