Meet the four regents of ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’

The filmmakers behind Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” relished the idea of reinventing a time-honored story.

Based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale and “The Nutcracker,” “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” showcases the wondrous journey of Clara, who finds herself in the mystical world of the Four Realms, home to a host of eccentric characters and no shortage of surprises.

Foremost of these characters are the Regents of the Four Realms — the Sugar Plum Fairy, Mother Ginger, Hawthorne and Shiver. Let’s get to know them better!

SUGAR PLUM FAIRY is the beloved regent of the Land of Sweets, the yummiest of the realms with its gingerbread architecture and gum drop décor. Elegant, ethereal and naturally sweet, Sugar Plum wears a gown that sparkles like crystalized sugar. She welcomes Clara to the Four Realms with open arms, declaring her the guest of honor at an extravagant pageant. Clara’s mother, Marie, was once Sugar Plum’s dearest friend, so Clara is family.

“Sugar Plum is the personification of femininity,” says Keira Knightley, who portrays the character. “I like to do a lot of research, so I started with the actual music of the Sugar Plum Fairy, which led to her laugh. I later found her high-pitched, girly voice that has two sides to it: pristine femininity and at the same time, quite assertive.”

MOTHER GINGER, leader of the dark and ominous Fourth Realm, is feared by all who inhabit the other realms. She once presided over the beloved Land of Amusements, a place of wisdom and entertainment, but a fierce dispute among the regents led to her banishment and her realm became a forgotten fairground with an abandoned carousel and wayward polichinelles. Mother Ginger sports fiery red hair and a face that’s chipped and cracked like a broken doll, a look that surely underscores her reputation as an evil tyrant.

Helen Mirren fills Mother Ginger’s shoes. “She is a very wise character—she has great insight,” says Hallström. “Helen Mirren has the authority and intelligence to play a character like that. She’s so smart and she’s funny.”

HAWTHORNE is the emotional and flamboyant regent of Land of Flowers, a fragrant and colorful realm with windmills, emerald foliage and blooms abound. Always smiling and filled with enthusiasm, Hawthorne heartily embraces celebration and pageantry. But he tends to shy away from conflict and often finds himself overshadowed by his fellow regents. He worries about the instability that threatens the realms—though he’s quick to set his concerns aside when Clara arrives. In fact, Hawthorne is the first to react—bursting with unbridled excitement, much to the chagrin of the more reserved Shiver and Sugar Plum.

According to Eugenio Derbez, who plays Hawthorne, the look of the character leaves no mystery as to which realm he oversees. “I’m like a walking bouquet,” says Derbez. “I’m covered in flowers! It took two hours in the makeup chair each day to complete the look because they had to strategically place a lot of small detailed flowers on my face.

SHIVER is the regent of Land of Snowflakes, a stunning winter wonderland with ice castles and alpine villages set against a white-peaked mountain backdrop. Shiver is a well-mannered gentleman who’s concerned with the future of the realms and nervous to a fault, Shiver wrings his hands with angst and uncertainty. He might come off as serious and unengaging—some would say cold—but Shiver is quite friendly underneath all of that frost.

Richard E. Grant was called on to portray Shiver. “I have snowflakes all over my face,” says Grant. “My beard is made of icicles, I have a 19th-century wig with icicles coming out of my head, and my fingernails are very long icicles, too. Jenny Beavan’s extraordinary costume design, combined with Jenny Shircore’s brilliant icicle make-up and wig design, instantly conjured up a severe looking, Arctic regent, obsessed with preserving his snowy realm from being changed or destroyed by evil forces. Shiver is willing to risk everything to support and protect Clara.”

“The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is now playing in Philippine cinemas nationwide. Join the conversation online and use the hashtag #DisneysNutcracker

About “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”

All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale.

Mackenzie Foy plays Clara in ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’

Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” stars teen actress Mackenzie Foy (“Interstellar,” “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”) as Clara, an intelligent 14-year-old with a penchant for science.

Based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale and “The Nutcracker,” the big-screen adventure showcases the wondrous journey of Clara, who finds herself in the mystical world of the Four Realms, home to a host of eccentric characters and no shortage of surprises.

According to screenwriter Ashleigh Powell, Clara isn’t really comfortable in her skin. “She’s kind of a fish out of water,” says Powell. “She doesn’t fit into the normal stereotypes of a Victorian girl—she’s not interested in fancy dresses and the like. She’s more of a tomboy. She likes creating and building and figuring out how things work. In that respect, she’s very similar to her godfather, Drosselmeyer, so they’re kindred spirits.”

But Clara struggles with the recent passing of her mother. “It’s the first Christmas that her family is spending without Marie,” says Powell. “And her mother has left behind Christmas presents for Clara and her siblings, which sets everything into motion.”

Clara receives an egg-shaped music box with a note that reads, “Everything you need is inside.” But the box is locked and, surprisingly, there is no key. Clara is disappointed and confused, but determined to unlock the music box and the secrets it holds. Her confusion persists until a golden thread, presented to her at her grandfather’s annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. She is welcomed with open arms by the regents, particularly Sugar Plum Fairy, who confides that she was once very close with Marie.

But this strange new world is not whole. It is scarred with past conflict—one regent is in exile, her realm forgotten and crawling with mice who serve as her soldiers. Clara and Phillip must brave this ominous Fourth Realm, home to the regent-turned-tyrant Mother Ginger, to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world.

Says director Lasse Hallström, “Clara learns through the course of the story that she’s worthy of trusting herself and worthy of being herself.”

Mackenzie Foy brings the character to life. “Clara is a very complex person,” says Foy. “She has all these different emotions—she’s hurting, but she doesn’t want people to see that. She’s also an outcast for being an intelligent young woman in a Victorian society. She doesn’t yet realize what a wonderful thing that is.”

“Mackenzie is a brilliant young actress,” adds Hallström. “She’s so alive, she’s technically brilliant and she has impeccable instincts.”

“The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” opens in Philippine cinemas October 31, 2018.

About Mackenzie Foy

MACKENZIE FOY has quickly emerged as one of Hollywood’s most exciting young actresses. With a breakout role in one of the biggest movie franchises of all time, Foy’s body of work continues to evolve with exciting and challenging projects.

Foy is the voice of the little girl who befriends an eccentric neighbor (voiced by Jeff Bridges) in the animated film “The Little Prince,” which premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. It is a film adaptation of the popular book first published in 1943, and the most famous work of the French aristocrat, writer, poet and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Translated into more than 250 languages and dialects (as well as braille), and with total sales of over 140 million copies worldwide, it has become one of the best-selling books ever published. Other actors voicing characters in the film include Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, James Franco and Benicio Del Toro.

Foy starred in director Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” alongside Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway. Critics called Foy’s performance “superb,” “outstanding” and “impressive.” She won a Saturn Award and was nominated for Critics’ Choice and Teen Choice awards for her performance in the film.

Foy starred in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” directed by Bill Condon, as the half-vampire daughter of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), whom they must protect from the evil Volturi.

WATCH: Behold the final trailer for Disney’s ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’

The legend you know has a dark side. Watch the final trailer of Walt Disney Pictures’ new fantasy adventure The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms opens in Philippine cinemas October 31.

About The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key-which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world.

Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale.

WATCH: Disney unveils first trailer for ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’

Watch below the first trailer for Walt Disney Pictures’ new fantasy adventure The Nutcracker and the Four Realms which has just been launched.

All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift from her late mother. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world.

Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy and featuring a special performance by Misty Copeland, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale.

In Philippine cinemas October 31, 2018, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is distributed by The Walt Disney Company (Philippines.)