In last year’s release of Prancer: A Christmas Tale, Darcey Ewart starred as Gloria, alongside a cast including James Cromwell as Bud (grandfather). Darcey played Olivia in the 2021 feature film To Olivia, which was based on Roald Dahl’s life away from his books, with Hugh Bonneville and Keeley Hawes playing her on-screen parents Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal. For her first screen role, Darcey played Emily in the Christmas film Click & Collect, and with voiceover experience, she has voiced Bev Beaver in Brave Bunnies. Talking with us, Darcey chatted about playing Gloria in Prancer: A Christmas Tale, her time on set of feature film To Olivia and her voiceover work.
What was Gloria like to play in Prancer: A Christmas Tale and can you tell us about your character?
Gloria and I have a few common traits, she’s confident, strong-minded, and a bit stubborn, so I channeled those. She’s also quite sad at the start of the film (which I’m not) because her dad broke a promise. This means I had to play a sensitive role, and understand why she gets upset.
How was it filming alongside James Cromwell and the rest of the cast?
Amazing. He taught me so much, including all about his animal activism. We had a real connection, both on and off screen, which made it really easy to be alongside him. But he’s 6’7″ and I’m 4’9″, so it was sometimes difficult to fit us both in frame! The rest of the cast and crew were like a second family. Really close and supportive and they took great care of me and my mum.
How did you find the experience working on set of a Christmas film and how did you feel when it was released last year?
The Christmas set was really magical and Romania is a beautiful country, with all the snow and lights, although it was a bit weird getting in the Christmas mood in February. It felt like such an achievement when it was released, because all that effort and dedication really paid off.
Who do you think will enjoy watching Prancer: A Christmas Tale?
I think it’s basically a film for everyone. It’s about Christmas magic after all! I invited lots of my family and friends to watch the film and everyone seemed to enjoy it, no matter the age.
You voice the role of Bev Beaver in Brave Bunnies, how different do you find working in voiceover opposed to on screen acting and how was it seeing the completed animations for the first time?
A whole different experience compared to a live-action film. I sit in a recording studio (with lots of water) and just narrate the script and use my imagination. The animation is then created afterwards, to match my words. It’s really cool when I see the final show, and how they take my voice and turn me into an animal.
In 2021, you played Olivia in the feature film To Olivia, can you tell us about the film and how did you feel finding out you’d booked the role?
To Olivia is the story of Roald Dahl’s life, outside of his books. It explores his relationship with his children and wife, and it’s not always a happy story. I couldn’t believe it when I was awarded the job, because so many other talented actors had also auditioned, so I didn’t think for one minute it would be me.
What are some of your favourite memories from filming To Olivia and how was it having Hugh Bonneville and Keeley Hawes as your on-screen parents?
My favourite memory is hanging out with my co-star Isabella Jonsson, because we struck up a really good friendship. Working with Hugh and Keeley was really cool. I knew Hugh from Paddington, so I was already inspired by his work. The three of us really clicked, and we had great chemistry as a ‘pretend’ family.
What do you remember from playing Emily in the BBC Christmas film Click & Collect for your first screen role?
This was my first ever role, and so it holds special memories for me. The role was central to the script, but my actual part was quite small, so it was good one to get me started without too much pressure. Stephen Merchant is also 6’7″ like James Cromwell… so maybe I’m destined to work with really tall co-stars!
Where does your love of acting come from and was it something you always wanted to do?
It started with singing. When I was little I always used to sing and dance around the house and put on little shows for my family. So when I was six, my mum signed me up for West London Drama Training, and it took off from there.
Do you have any favourite films and TV shows to watch?
I love Never Have I Ever on Netflix and The Lorax. I’ve also been watching some Richard Curtis films recently, and really enjoyed About Time.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Hanging out with my cousin Sophie, shopping for clothes, and makeup. I adore makeup and the GRWMs.
Have you been given any advice over your acting career so far that has stuck with you?
Phil Hawkins, the director of Prancer: A Christmas Tale, taught me so many things and I was lucky to have learned so much from him. He said “just act natural and forget the cameras are there”. This really helped at the time and has stuck with me ever since.
What are you hoping the rest of the year brings for your career and do you have any upcoming plans that you can tell us about?
No upcoming plans at the moment, so I’m just enjoying the summer with my family, but I’m doing lots of self-tapes and have my fingers crossed for the future.
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