news ‘David Bowie had seven pairs of socks down his tights’: Warwick Davis on reboots, relationships and rock stars | Warwick Davis
Warwick Davis is, by some distance, the most commercially successful supporting actor in the history of cinema. Thanks largely to playing an Ewok in Star Wars and a Hogwarts
professor in Harry Potter, Davis is partially responsible for a worldwide box office haul of more than $14bn. But this week, Willow launches on Disney+. And he plays Willow, so he
is very much in the spotlight.“It's a weird moment,” he says, ensconced in a plush London hotel, surrounded by the full-bore machinations of the Disney promotional industry.
“You feel like you're on the edge of a cliff.”Willow is the long-awaited follow-up to the 1988 film of the same name. Created by George Lucas, directed by Ron Howard and
co-starring Val Kilmer, it was a lighthearted fantasy epic in which Davis plays the titular reluctant farmer who has to undertake a perilous quest to save a magic baby from an evil
queen. If you're roughly the same age as me, and had a similarly limited selection of VHS tapes as a child, the film has been permanently burned on to your brain stem through sheer
repetition.“It's a very cherished part of my career,” Davis says of a film that's such a huge source of pride for him that, years later, when he came to launch a management
company for short actors, he named it Willow. “It was a real stepping stone, because I went from being an actor you never saw, never recognized unless you were a real Star Wars
fan, to have my face out there.”You remind me of the babe … A 17-year-old Davis in the original 1988 film. Photograph: Photo 12/AlamyIn one sense it was inevitable that Willow
would be turned into a TV show, because Disney+ loves to repurpose old intellectual property to capitalize on nostalgia. Fortunately, though, the new series is good. Better than
good, even. It has a perfect cast – including the likes of Erin Kellyman (Top Boy, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier), Ellie Bamber (The Trial of Christine Keeler) and Tony
Revolori (Flash Thompson in the recent Spider-Man movies) – that fizzes with youthful energy. After plowing through the self-importance of The Rings of Power and House of the
Dragon, watching Willow is like jumping into a swimming pool on a summer's day. “I have so much admiration for them,” Davis says of his young co-stars, before sniffing.
“Slightly annoyed at their energy levels, though. When you're 52 and you rock up at 7:30 in the morning, it's like, 'Oh my God, you guys had too much coffee! Quiet!' I was the
old curmudgeon on set. I was the equivalent of Michael Gambon on Harry Potter.”This, to some extent, shows in the series. The Willow we meet here is older, grumpier and beset