Identical twin boys from Chronicle country have a key role in the new Disney blockbuster Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which opens in cinemas today (Friday).
Last year, nine-year-olds Harry and Oliver Newman, from Potton, filmed for seven weeks at Pinewood Studios, rubbing shoulders with Hollywood stars such as Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ed Skrein.
Harry and Oliver play one part and although it’s a guided secret as to the role, it is a significant character in the storyline.
Most TV and film productions use identical children, as child actors are limited to the amount of hours they can work strictly by law.
Movie shoots often have long days, longer than a single child actor is legally allowed to be on the set. So to use identical children means they can share the role and share the time on set.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is directed by Joachim Rønning. It is a sequel to the 2014 film Maleficent, with Angelina Jolie returning to portray the title role.
Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville also return to their previous roles, with Harris Dickinson replacing Brenton Thwaites from the first film and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, and Michelle Pfeiffer joining the cast as new characters.
“We loved every minute filming Maleficent 2. We had an exciting time learning from others”, said Oliver.
“We were looked after so well by everyone and enjoyed wearing the costumes”, added Harry.
From meeting her on set, Harry and Oliver were invited by Angelina to audition for her next film, Come Away’, which she also stars in with David Oyelowo and Sir Michael Caine.
They won the part and have already filmed playing twins, in a retelling of the Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland stories. It will be released in 2020.
The story will see that before Alice went to Wonderland, and before Peter became Pan, they were brother and sister.
When their eldest brother dies in a tragic accident, they each seek to save their parents from their downward spirals of despair until finally they are forced to choose between home and imagination, setting the stage for their iconic journeys into Wonderland and Neverland.
Earlier this year, the boys also starred in their very first music video, Hiding Bottles, by Bear’s Den. It’s a powerful video inspired by a family member’s battle against alcohol addiction, using split narrative to depict how addiction can take a stranglehold on every aspect of family life.
2018 and 2019 have been busy years for the pair. As well as filming these two films, along with their Mother and Father, Hayley and Luke, they volunteered with African Adventures, the UK’s leading volunteer travel organisation, and Derby County Community Trust in the slums of Kenya.
They helped to renovate old classrooms in Mama Kerry School based in the Rhonda slums, where they also taught Maths, English and Science as well as cooking school dinners.
“We wanted Harry and Oliver to go from living like film stars for three months to help those who live in poverty”, said Hayley.
Luke added: “For myself, being the sixth time that I have been to Kenya, having my wife and children with me, meant the world, but more importantly it made Harry and Oliver realise how lucky they are”.