Mackenzie Foy is on the cusp of adulthood, and just days away from turning 18 years of age, she is flying high as the lead in Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
I had the opportunity to sit down with her earlier this week and am thrilled to bring you behind the scenes with this Mackenzie Foy Nutcracker interview.
(Disney and ABC have invited me to California on an all-expenses paid trip, in exchange for our coverage of events. As always, all opinions are my own. Affiliate links in post.)
Mackenzie Foy Nutcracker Interview
It was clear that Mackenzie Foy was destined to play the Disney version of Clara. An avid fan of one of her favorite Disney movies of all time, Cinderella, Mackenzie talked of maybe going to Disneyland for her big birthday coming up. Or a bookstore. I knew instantly we could be friends – a lover of all things Disney and books. Yes!
We got right down to business and asked her questions about the film, life on the set, and being a role model to girls.
How does it feel to be a classical holiday character now?
It’s really fun. What’s beautiful about the Nutcracker that it’s such a beloved story throughout many, many years, so it’s really, really, really fun to be able to play a character that so many people all over the world can relate to and have this childhood connection from seeing the ballet when they were young, and I think that’s really important to be able to do.
What was it like to get the call that you were gonna be Clara with the movie?
It was really exciting. So I was actually in the shower and doing my hair when my mom ran in, and she was like, ‘the director’s on the phone’. I was like, oh my gosh, okay, and so I put a towel on and I answered and the director was like, ‘would you be our Clara?’ I was like, oh my goodness, yes. Thank you so much. And he’s like, all right, see you in a couple weeks.
Can you tell us about the interview process?
The audition process was actually quite long. It was about two months, which isn’t really, really long, but it is more than usual. And it was really fun. Once I did a screentest, they flew me to London to do it in full costume- hair and makeup; a partial set; real camera, it was like, oh my goodness. I didn’t really have too many details about the story of the character when I first got the audition. I just knew that it was a British character and that immediately piqued my interest.
Talking about Stunts – WHOA?!
I actually did a lot of stunts and stuff, which was really fun. I did horse training, which was awesome, and I went to this place- it’s called The Devil’s Horseman; they’re film horses, and so they’re proper stunt people. It was really, really cool being with these horses. It’s what you think of, the English countryside – that’s what it looked like there. So it was actually amazing training outside on these beautiful horses. It was crazy.
What was your favorite realm in the film?
Which realm? It’s everchanging. Right now I really love the Land of Snowflakes just because it’s very blue and shiny, and very sparkly, because it’s still kinda hot here. I’m dying for winter weather and winter cool.
What was your favorite costume to wear?
I wear quite a few costumes in the film which was really, really fun. They were all handmade- all very, very intricate, which is really amazing. But I really love the purple party dress because that one has a bustle- and it’s really fun. Actually I have a couple bustles in the film. I have a proper cage and then I have a bum pad.
NOTE: As you can probably imagine, Barbie has created an incredible line of dolls for The Nutcracker and Four Realms, available now!
I spotted this Clara’s Light-Up Dress Barbie, just one of the many beautiful Barbie’s available, this one made perfect by adding the egg (a gift from Clara’s mother) and key around her neck. You’ll have to watch the movie to understand the importance of it all.
Mackenzie Continuing on about Costuming and Makeup
It was very beautiful, but there’s a lot of detail that went into the costume design, from the tights, to the shoes, to the many skirt layers, and the bodices, and the corset. So I have a very high respect for all of the costumes, and also they have kind of a different character to them, They kind of go with Clara’s evolution, which I really like.
I don’t really wear a lot of makeup in the film, just a little bit of concealer if I have a pimple or something. Then hair wise, it would vary, and there’s a couple of looks that took – I’m bald from wrapping my hair around wires and stuff. But there’s all the twisting with the braids and all that kinda stuff. The hair and makeup team was really, really amazing, and I loved talking to them every morning. I really enjoyed going in there because that’s kinda like a time you get to just sit and talk, and see how everybody’s doing. The actors coming in and out, and you talk to the hair and makeup people, and it was just really fun every morning.
Of course it’s always a treat if in a sea of bloggers you get the chance to ask one of your own questions. With Mackenzie Foy I did.
What is your favorite scene in the film and why?
Misty Copeland performs a dance scene in this, and it’s really, really quite beautiful. What’s really cool, because you guys are gonna see it tonight, the sets in that scene, well, in a lot of the scenes in the film, were real. So when she’s in the trailers, you see she’s walking through and this castle pops up, and the flowers open in the ground. Those were real. Those are real people really making it all work. And so that’s actually a really cool thing about that.
And if you look in the background behind, the chairs, all of the extras are color-coded, and so they had an ombre effect. Wrapped around the set was this canvas of night sky, and they actually poked giant holes in it and then shone lights behind it so it looked like stars. And so the sets in this film are very, very intricate, and that one was one of my favorites just because it was so beautiful.
The cast is amazing. So do you have any funny stories that you can tell us?
I feel like there’s probably a lot of really funny stories. It’s hard to pinpoint one. With Jayden and I, we always got into kind of mischief. We were always hoarding chocolates and stuff on the set and so that was pretty fun. And what was really fun because we filmed this in the winter, during Christmas, because we were doing a Christmas film. We were gonna do it properly.
There was a little competition within the departments to see who could decorate their trailer, and we went all out. So even Jayden and I, and our teachers, because we shared a schoolroom, we had to try to decorate and outdo each other. And it was really fun. If you ask him, he will say that he won it, but I had a little Christmas tree- I’m just saying.
What advice do you have for young girls that look up to you and wanna follow in your footsteps?
As for young girls, I hope they see this film, and I hope they see that Clara is unapologetically herself. That even though she’s this young inventor in her time period, it wasn’t really socially acceptable, but she still says – This is who I am. This is what I love to do, and I’m gonna do it. And I hope they see that and know you can do that. You can be interested in science. You can be in interested in mechanics. And you can still wear dresses and like those kinds of things.
What was it like working with Morgan Freeman? He seems like a father figure, so what was that like?
He’s a really nice guy. He’s very joyous and has a very fun sense of humor, so it was really fun just getting to know him and getting to talk to him, and seeing what he was like.
Can you tell us what a typical day would look like for shooting?
Yes. A typical day of filming – putting on the costumes and playing and working with them which was really fun. The set on this film- the cast and crew- everyone was really, really nice, so it was a really fun, and very happy environment. I actually still keep in contact with a lot of the crew. It was really amazing.
There was a lot of young women in the crew, and so we all go along really, really well, and we’d talk about our shows that we watched on the weekend, and all of that stuff. If you’re a kid, you still have to do school – because of my age, I have three to five hours of a school a day. Whenever there was downtime, if they had to change the cameras and stuff like that, I would go and do schoolwork.
On being a main actor versus a supporting actor.
Well, every character, no matter how big or small has its own challenges because they’re all unique, and you have to do the research in order to properly create them. But I would say with Clara, and her being a main role, there was definitely- this is the story- it follows my character, so I have to make sure that everything is in line.
I have to make sure the past is in my head, and I have to make sure I know where she’s going. So with the bigger part, you have to go more in detail to all those things, especially how they relate to every single character in the film.
Do you see this film as being one of those traditional holiday movies that families will continue to watch every year?
Well, I definitely hope it is something that people want to see every year. I think the film really captures the spirit of the holiday season -when it starts to be cold, and you just have that joyous feeling. I think it really captures that, and I think it also has elements of the book and the ballet to where if you are older, you have seen it many times, you have that nostalgic feeling, but it also has kind of a new twists and turns, and so it kind of brings in the younger and all ages. It kind of brings everyone in together to watch it. So I hope that families like it, and that they go and see it every year.
What a privilege it was to meet Mackenzie Foy! You will have to watch her in The Nutcracker and The Four Realms and see how she brings Clara to life in this extraordinary tale, one you don’t quite know.
PARENTS: Be sure to read my no-spoiler review to get your questions answered: Is The Nutcracker and The Four Realms Scary? Be on the lookout for my interview with Misty Copeland, the ballerina, coming soon!
The Nutcracker and The Four Realms – In Theatres Playing Everywhere Now!
Let’s take a look…
Read about my conversation in the dinner line with Morgan Freeman here in my The Nutcracker and The Four Realms red carpet premiere post.
Plus, see my dress and all the red carpet fun I had: