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Anna Friel on Land of the Lost

Published June 3, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Universal Pictures
Fans of the Land of the Lost series may need to be sold on a grown-up Will and Holly. Anna Friel didn’t have any such prejudices about playing Holly. She only got a crash course in Land of the Lost when she was hired.

Anna Friel is Holly in Land of the Lost


“Mine was not to wonder or question why,” she said. “I read the script as was and wasn't familiar with the original series when I went to meet Brad [Silberling] first of all. He said, ‘Well, just hold off until you read the script and then we’ll educated you with that.’ I knew H.R. PufnStuf. We’d had that in England and I was a huge fan, and he brought me the big DVD box set and we watched and my daughter now is an avid fan as well. She just loves it, I'm like, ‘Do you want Willy Wonka or Mary Poppins or Land of the Lost?’ And she's like, ‘I want Land of the Lost.’ She loves it, she's had the opportunity to come to the set and powder the Sleestacks. She kept calling Jorma [Taccone], who’s Chaka, dirty. She’s like, ‘I think you need a good bath,’ and she’d say it all the time.”

When Friel caught up on the series, she incorporated a few things into her performance. “Just understanding what Sleestaks were and understanding Chaka and the whole premise of the show, and first of all having to accept why they had made certain changes. It's like I watched Star Trek last week, which I really loved, and you look at if you're going to do remakes then you either don't do it or you change it so you move it on. Land of the Lost, the film version is a 2009 film version and they've found the comedy in it. I think, I really do after watching the series, they've remained very, very true to the main premise of it. They kept the Sleestaks the same. Chaka does not look like a guy from Planet of the Apes, he still looks like a boy in a costume and the dinosaurs. I love Grumpy. I love the idea of giving a dinosaur expression.”


Land of the Lost Land of the Lost


Land of the Lost Land of the Lost

The comedy in Land of the Lost does push PG-13, so it’s not totally for kids. “They'd always told me that they wanted to make it a PG-13 but we have a very different certificate way of working in England. We have the PG and then 15 so it’s a jump. There's not that in between. So I was trying to understand the certificate, and knowing Will Ferrell comedies and seeing the work that Danny McBride does, it’s not that straight down the line family all-round comedy. It was trying to marry those things of making the jokes so they could go over young peoples’ heads. At the test screenings there was a few that they took out because that would be too much for children because they want it to be a family movie as well. But it has got that naughtiness which I think makes it fun and interesting. I think it’s a really funny part when Will tells Chaka just to go f*ck himself or f*ck you or something, and you're a bit like oh. It is quite bold. I just like the idea of you mixing Sid and Marty Krofft with Ferrell and you get that mix and see what take it is.”

Sometimes the raunchy improvisation caught Friel off guard and she ruined the take by breaking. “I’ll tell you when we did. You know when Will’s doing the dance? Well, Danny and I had been off on our trailers because they'd done all that section with him dancing actually beforehand, so we hadn’t seen this whole thing. We came up to the top of the mountain and just watched him and we just were like phtt, because it was so silly. That's the thing, I think to have silliness in your life is such a good thing. It makes us not take ourselves so seriously and I try and keep as much silliness. I think he was just daft. Do you say daft here? Daft is a good saying we use and it’s just like being absolutely just silly and stupid. That was a funny one.”

Land of the Lost opens to theaters on July 5th.

For the trailers, poster, stills and more movie info, go to the Land of the Lost Movie Page.
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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Universal Pictures
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