It was a dream come true for rising stars, and best friends, Emilia Jones (Patrick) and Sebastian Croft (Game of Thrones) when they were both cast in the feature film debut of the beloved bestselling and award-winning children’s historical comedy and book series Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans, released this summer. Ni4kids editor Nadia Duncan finds out if their friendship survived the mighty clash of their feisty Celt and Roman characters…
Q) Were you a Horrible Histories fan as a child and if yes what characters/ episodes do you remember the most?
Emilia: Yes, I love Horrible Histories! I remember watching episodes when I was younger and rushing into the kitchen afterwards to tell my mum and dad facts that they didn’t know. I also loved the songs. The ones that stick in my mind are Cleopatra, Dick Turpin, The Monarch song, Henry VIII and Boudicca. The songs are so cleverly written and always so funny and catchy. I’m convinced I learnt more watching Horrible Histories than I did in my history lessons at primary school.
Sebastian: My friends and I used to love the Horrible Histories TV series and would sing the songs in the playground at break! I’d say Dick Turpin was my favourite character and I remember loving the Dick Turpin song – still do! I feel a big sense of responsibility to all of us who grew up with Horrible Histories to do a good job with the movie, but so many of the creative team working on the film were part of the TV series that I know we have been true to the core ingredients that made Horrible Histories. I just hope the fans, old and new, really enjoy it.
Q) Tell me about your character in the movie?
Emilia: Orla is a feisty teenage girl who’s desperate to grow up and become a proper Celtic warrior. She believes that Celts are great and everyone else is rubbish. Particularly Romans! Orla kidnaps Atti to prove to her dad that she’s a tough warrior. But she doesn’t have any friends her age in her tribe and to her surprise she quite likes hanging out with Atti… even if he is Roman. By the end of the film Orla realises there’s more to life than her original narrow horizons.
Sebastian: I play Atti, who doesn’t really seem to fit in with the Roman Empire’s idea of what a teenage boy should be. Instead of enjoying fighting, he is much happier reading his scrolls and is a real thinker. Despite that, he is always up for an adventure and has to use all his knowledge to get out of several difficult situations and bridge the divide between the feuding Romans and Celts.
Q) If you could have played another character from the movie who would it have been and why?
Emilia: Definitely Boudicca! I love that she is strong, fearless and full of passion. Kate Nash is an amazing Boudicca… I loved filming scenes with her.
Sebastian: Well I really like Atti, and when I first read the script I could immediately relate to him, so it would be hard to top that for me, but if I HAD to be another character, it would probably be Paulinus. He has some fantastic lines, is a badass character, but also very funny. Saying that, I could never do it justice the way Rupert Graves does, who absolutely owned the part in the film, and was also really lovely to work with. We had a lot of laughs on set, and I learned so much from him.
Q) As a younger member of the cast who were you most excited about working with?
Emilia: Obviously Bash! We are the best of friends in real life but when we were cast in our roles the creative team had no idea. I knew we would have so much fun together and we really did…we laughed until our stomachs hurt every single day. I was also really looking forward to working with Nick Frost (who plays Arghus). He’s my dad in the film and I had so much fun filming with him… he’s probably the funniest person I’ve ever met.
Sebastian(Bash): I loved Sherlock, so meeting Rupert Graves was a dream because he’s an actor I really admire. But honestly, the person I was most exited to work with was Emilia. We have been best friends for years and have wanted to do a film together so badly. When Emilia said she had been offered the role we were both ecstatic and it still feels surreal. Hands down, the person I was most exited to work with was Emilia. (And Kate Nash… and Warwick Davis… and Kim Cattrall… okay everyone!)
Q) If you could jump in a time machine – which period of history would you go back to and why?
Emilia: I adore the arts so I would go back to the Restoration period when Charles II regained his throne. Prior to this England had changed to a Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell and became a dull place to live during his puritanical reign. In 1660 Charles 11 was brought back from exile and took his throne. He was called The Merry Monarch in reference to both the liveliness of his court and the general relief of the people at the return to normality after over a decade of rule by Cromwell and the Puritans. He changed many of the strict laws Cromwell had made and allowed people more freedom to enjoy themselves. Theatres were reopened after a long ban and became a way to celebrate the end of Puritan rule with its strict moral codes.
Sebastian: I think for me probably the Elizabethan era, mainly because I would go and become part of Shakespeare’s ensemble and I think it would be fascinating to watch him write his plays and get to perform them for the first time. Also, printing was expensive so Shakespeare would have handwritten his plays. I think it would be so cool to have an original copy of one of his monologues. I also love the Elizabethan era of clothes and I would definitely take some of those massive collars and hats with me when I went back to present day.
Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans launches into cinemas on July 26.
Pictured – Emilia & Sebastian in action on set