Child star Will Tilston made his acting debut as lead character Christopher Robin in 2017’s award-winning film Goodbye Christopher Robin shown in cinemas worldwide. Starring alongside Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie and Kelly MacDonald, the young actor has had a great start to his career and has already made appearances on ITV’s Lorraine and the US show Good Morning America. Catching up with Will recently, we discuss being on the set of a major production, preparing for the audition and his red carpet experience at the London premiere.
You played Christopher Robin in Goodbye Christopher Robin, what was it like playing such an iconic role?
I was just delighted to get the role and did my best.
We understand Christopher Robin was your first ever audition, how did you prepare for it?
I read extracts from CR’s biography. That was really helpful. I also dug out and read my old Winnie the Pooh books.
Was there a reason you chose Goodbye Christopher Robin as your first ever audition?
No, it was just good luck that that role came up so soon after I joined an acting agency. The description of the role did, however, sound just like me.
Was being on the set of a big production what you thought it would be?
Not at all, I thought that everyone would be so busy that nobody would have any time to talk to me and that they’d all be very serious. Luckily, even though everyone was really busy, they were also really lovely and chatted to me and made sure I was ok.
What was it like on location?
The whole film was shot on location so it was just normal for me. They were all lovely locations. My favourite, however, was playing pooh sticks on the same bridge that Christopher Robin had all those years ago, such a privilege.
Did you have to take Winnie the Pooh with you wherever you were whilst on set?
I didn’t personally have to take Winnie the Pooh everywhere with me; he was far too precious to trust me to look after. The prop department took great care of him and always had him to hand. He didn’t have his own trailer though! Lol.
Did you have to work closely with Alex Lawther, who played the older Christopher Robin?
Not really, because we were in different parts of the film. When we were together I thought that Alex was really nice. He had to wear brown contact lenses to look more like me and also walked the same way too.
You attended the film premiere, how was the experience on the red carpet?
That was so exciting. I loved every minute. Leicester Square looked amazing with the giant billboards and screens, the lights, the Grenadier Guards playing, all the people cheering. So cool!
What was it like seeing yourself on the big screen?
That was pretty amazing too. I had no idea how it would all come together on the big screen. I’d seen bits on a large TV screen during editing but still had no idea what to expect. It was like “Wow!”.
Did you go and watch the film when it was released in cinemas?
I went to two cast and crew screenings of the film, the London and New York premieres and finally we had our own friends and family premiere in our local cinema in Greenwich. After all of those, I didn’t really need to go again. I loved seeing all the posters, with me on them, at stations and on buses and in the cinemas. Those made it all feel real.
Was it easy settling back into school after taking a term out to film?
It was actually just half a term. The pre-production part started during the last few weeks of my summer holidays. Settling back into school was fine. After such a busy filming schedule, school felt much easier. That feeling didn’t last unfortunately.
Are there any actors you look up to?
Domhnall Gleeson, he was so funny and friendly and also really supportive during filming. He gave me lots of advice. I’ve watched so many of his films now.
Have you always wanted to become an actor?
When I was much younger I really wanted to be a dancer. As I’ve grown older I’ve become more interested in being an actor. I still like dancing though.
Do you have any other projects coming up that you can tell us about?
Hopefully I’ll have some exciting news to share about my next project very soon.
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