Author Topic: The Lost Boys memories from Paul Spurrier aka Michael Llewellyn Davies at age 6!  (Read 1686 times)

Dani1923

  • Member
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 48
    • View Profile
Yes you read that right! This is not a joke! I managed to contact Mr. Spurrier and asked him to say any memories that he had from doing the film! Here is his amazing response:


Hi,
I wish I could be more help.
I remember remarkably little. 
I knew nothing about Michael Llewellyn Davies. I knew nothing a
bout J.M Barrie. 
My only connection with Peter Pan was that my first eve
r experience as a child actor had been to
appear in 'Peter Pan' at the London Palladium.
I was the understudy to Michael, and more importantly the
'raccoon', who got to dance with Lulu. 
Ten years later, I returned to Peter Pan at the Darlington
Civic Theatre, playing John.
The story of Peter Pan has a strange power

 in a way it is so remarkably simple and childish, and
yet there must be something elemental about it that has a
llowed it to last so long and affect people
so much.
I was ten or eleven when we filmed, and my memories are ver
y hazy.
I remember Anna Cropper being lovely.
I remember Tim Pigott-Smith being a very smart and friendly
 guy. I remember him getting quite
worried, because he started to develop the symptoms of the can
cer that afflicted his character, and
realized that he was perhaps going too 'deep'.
I remember William Hootkins being hilarious. He was one of the f
irst Americans I had ever known,
and he was such fun I wished I could be American. 
I remember Ian Holm as being a little distant and intense
. At the time I simply thought he wasn't
very friendly. He certainly wasn't in any way unpleasant.
I realise now that while much of the rest
of the cast could switch our characters on or off, it
was a different and more intense process for Ian
Holm. I sort of wish I could have spent more time understa
nding his process, rather than simply
thinking he wasn't much fun.
The great thing about filming things for the BBC was the rehea
rsal time. We would all gather in the
rehearsal rooms

 I seem to remember they were at North Acton. The first da
y would be a read-
through, and it would be a little strange to meet all these
 new people. Then for the next week one
would rehearse each scene many times over.
I remember being a little annoyed to find there were other c
hild actors in 'The Lost Boys'. I didn'
t
like other children very much. In the previous series I had be
en in, I had often been the only child
actor. I liked it that way, not least because I would get dre
adfully spoiled by the other adult actors
who would bring me sweets.
At rehearsals, you would have to be quite patient, sitting qu
ietly while the actors rehearsed other
scenes that you weren't it. I remember the director, Rodn
ey Bennett getting quite angry at some of
the other child actors because they would chatter and play
together and sometimes disturb the
rehearsals.
I determined that I was not going to be one of them. I expec
t the other children thought I was
horribly stuck-up and aloof. They were probably right. But I c
ouldn't bear the idea that I might be
admonished by the director. That would be dreadfully unprofes
sional. So I think I saw myself as a
junior member of the adult cast, and really had nothing to do wi
th the other child actors.








I loved everything about acting. I loved that I could get away
 from school. I loved that I could do
a
job where adults would treat me with respect, and not talk down
 to me. I loved the whole technical
aspect of being around cameras and lights. I loved those r
ehearsal rooms with the tape marks on the
floor delineating the rooms and the wooden posts marking door
frames. 
I loved the canteen, where they sold Club biscuits. I r
emember buying them, very carefully
unwrapping them, taking out the biscuit to eat, then reassembling
the packet and stealthily putting it
back on the shelf. I loved watching other customers picking up a
 Club biscuit, realising it was too
light and complaining to the staff. In spite of my maturity
 in other areas, I was still very much a
child.
And then of course there was Andrew Birkin.
I suppose I had met the writers at the BBC before, but I d
on't really remember them. Most writers
would stay quite distant from the rehearsal and filming proce
ss. They would be simply a shadowy
figure who would appear at the read-through, look very serious,
 and sometimes whisper things to
the director. Then they'd be gone.
Andrew was very much there.
The connection between the story of Peter Pan  was very
 close to Andrew. By that, I don't simply
mean that he had studied it, obsessed over it, spent year
s researching it etc. 
There was something deeper.
'Peter Pan' is of course about the conflict between childh
ood and adulthood. 
And of course that conflict exists in all of us.
But I think it existed more strongly in Andrew.
I remember being a little enchanted with him at the time.
He was in some ways incredibly adult and intense. He is proba
bly one of the most intellegent
people I have ever met. I remember him discussing extrao
rdinary things like astrophysics, but
somehow communicating it with a sort of child-like enthusi
asm

 as if he was talking about th
e
latest Pokemon he had collected.
He was 'weird' and I wanted to be 'weird'. 
'Normality' was the greyness of school and geography and kids
 who liked to play football, and
buses. 'Normality' was my worst nightmare.
I have never told anyone this before, but my parents were act
ually a little worried by my friendship
with Andrew Birkin. They even rang up a mutual friend and asked i
f he was 'safe'. 
Of course he was 'safe'

 at least in the sense my parents were concerned. 
But in other ways

 in a deeper more subversive way, in the way he changed your
way of looking at
everything, he was utterly and wonderfully dangerous. 
I just made a film in Thailand about a young girl who escapes
an unpleasant life by venturing into a
fantastic forest where she befriends a young boy who li
ves on his own with no parents, and may or
may not be of this world.
It is called 'The Forest' and it will be released in Thaila
nd in a few week's time.
It is strange. It  wasn't till just now that I realised how m
uch it has in common with 'Peter Pan'. 
While I have so disappointingly few memories of the experien
ce, it must have affected me far more
deeply than I realise.















 









 







andrew

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 246
    • View Profile
Thank you Paul for that... I actually feel a little humbled - rare for me. I love the bit about your parents being worried... and how right they were, but not (as you say) in "that" way, and given my fondness for the minds of children, I thank God it's not also for their bodies, at least not in any sexual sense. I'm quite certain too that Barrie had no lustful desies in that direction. Unlike myself (being rather boringly hetero), I think he was asexual, and - as Nico so succinctly put it - felt "no stirrings in the undergrowth for anyone: man, woman, child or dog."
I'm so glad you've found happiness in Thailand - I loved your water-fight video - and I'll look out for The Forest, which sounds intriguing.
In closing, let me add that you brought something quite indefinable to the young Michael, a quality that really allowed the audience to empathise with Barrie's fascination for you. Beautiful being, rather than acting. Thank you.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2016, 06:53:52 PM by Andrew »

Dani1923

  • Member
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 48
    • View Profile
@Andrew Sorry to disappoint Andrew, but Paul did not physically write his words on the forum. He wrote them to me, and I copied and pasted, with his permission, his words above. I contacted him from his Facebook page. I will let him know that you responded and he should check out this site!