Here's how the magic in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms was created

2018-10-30 14:44
Misty Copeland is the Ballerina Princess in The Nu

Cape Town – Escape into the magical world of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms this weekend in cinemas. 

The adventure film is a retelling of E. T. A. Hoffmann's short story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King and Marius Petipa's The Nutcracker Ballet about a young girl who finds a Nutcracker doll among the family's gifts and is charged by her parents to take special care of it.

The film stars Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Eugenio Derbez, Matthew Macfadyen, Richard E. Grant, Misty Copeland, Helen Mirren, and Morgan Freeman.

To celebrate the release of the film we’ve put together some fascinating facts about the film:


- As regent of Land of Sweets, Sugar Plum Fairy was styled to look as delicious as the realm she oversees. 

- Her dress, constructed from metallic organza, netting and silk satin, is the colour of crystallised sugar and inspired by sugarplums. 

- Her hair, which is baby pink and lilac, is designed to resemble candy floss. Keira Knightley, who plays the sweetest regent, even reaches up to her head on occasion in the film to swipe a piece of the cotton candy coiffure for a tasty treat on the run. But since it’s not really made of sugar, she’s not really eating it.


- While most of the characters in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms don period wigs in the film, Mackenzie Foy—who portrays Clara in the film—uses her own locks throughout the movie.

A scene in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.


- Filmmakers wanted to create an oversized rodent villain that would be scary without being silly - which was a challenge considering the Mouse King had long been depicted in the original story and ballet as a giant mouse. 

- The Mouse King, created entirely in CG, is made up of 60 000 mice who crawl all over his body shape as he moves.

- The idea is actually rooted in reality. “Rat king” is a real term that describes a group of mice or rats living in close quarters whose tails become intertwined and bodies caked in mud to form what appears to be a single giant being. 


- Godfather Drosselmeyer, as a wealthy world traveller and a man of science, has a very special feature in his workshop: A light bulb. While the rest of the film features only natural light - sunlight, moonlight, candlelight - Drosselmeyer’s workshop has the only light bulb. 

- The addition is deliberate: The film is set in 1879, the same year that Thomas Edison first demonstrated his light bulb, and filmmakers figured that Drosselmeyer, an eccentric man of science, would be among the first to get his hands on one. 

- Morgan Freeman, who portrays the character, even showcases just how precious the device is in the scene in which he and Clara work together in the workshop.

A scene in The Nutcracker and The Four Realms.


- Mother Ginger is inspired by a character from the ballet who is from Land of Sweets. Little gingerbread children emerge from her giant gingerbread house skirt to dance before returning to their crinoline condo. The character is quite different in The Nutcracker in the Four Realms. Regent of the mysterious Fourth Realm, Mother Ginger was long-ago banished from the rest of the realms and her land is abandoned and in disarray. An army of mice report to Mother Ginger, who is considered an evil tyrant interested in ruling all of the realms. 

-  Filmmakers took the idea of a giant skirt to new heights, introducing the character as a terrifying giant with a circus-tent skirt. The reality, however, is that Mother Ginger resides within the “giant,” which is actually an elaborate marionette doll that she operates from inside its torso. The marionette itself was created in CG by the visual effects team. 

- Portrayed by Helen Mirren, the character dons a ginger wig, a cracked complexion and a tattered top with trousers—all designed to be slightly piratical. 

The Nutcracker and The Four Realms.


(Photos: Disney/Laurie Sparham)

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