New Netflix fantasy Damsel sees Millie Bobby Brown fight fire with fire in the fairytale story that’s finally being told the right way.
The Stranger Things star plays a young woman set to marry a handsome prince, only to find out their union is a trap. As she's thrown into a cave with a fire-breathing dragon, she must use her wits to survive. Speaking to Total Film in our new issue, which features Dune 2 on the cover and is out this Thursday, director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo tells us that Brown is breathtaking in the role.
"She was exceptional," he says, speaking to the way she approached the film’s brutality, as well as the emotional demands of the tough shoot. "She understood that this needed to be an extreme survival experience. And in order to make that believable, you have to convey suffering and pain.
"This is a movie about a transformation – about a girl becoming a woman – and you need to really feel the intensity of it. We didn’t want to cheat any of that, and that’s why we pushed all the limits to make this a huge roller coaster of an experience for the audience."
We've also got an exclusive new image of Brown looking bruised and bloody as her character Elodie too, which you can see above.
Fresnadillo adds that the Portugal-based shoot provided some big challenges for Brown too, especially filming in an elaborate labyrinth of caves. "The caves were a huge problem in terms of light, and in terms of design, because you’re dealing with an environment that’s really tight and dark," he adds – mentioning Alice In Wonderland as a thematic inspiration, and shrugging off one horrifying scene he chose to light entirely with a flock of flaming sparrows.
"It’s not always easy to shoot that kind of stuff," he says, "but it’s a much bigger challenge for Millie to go through almost half of the movie in such a difficult environment. You’re dealing with rocks, hard surfaces, cramped ceilings, fire, water, darkness… If you want to be realistic, which was the goal, you have to really believe it. And that kind of realism implies toughness."
Alongside Brown, the new Netflix movie also stars Angela Bassett as Lady Bayford, Robin Wright as Queen Isabelle, Ray Winstone as the King, and Nick Robinson as Prince Henry.
Damsel releases on Netflix on March 8. You can read more about it, and a whole lot else besides, in the new issue of Total Film when it hits shelves and digital newsstands on Thursday, February 1. Check out the covers below:
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