Warwick Davis Star Willow: Willow Ufgood, who is so dear to Warwick Davis, must be an excellent sorcerer. The 34-year absence of “Willow” begs the question: is magic the only explanation
Davis, then only 17 years old, was cast as the good-hearted magical trickster guarding a baby who was foretold to bring about the downfall of an evil queen in Ron Howard’s 1988 fantasy adventure. “Willow” underperformed at the box office and seldom came back for a second installment, despite starring Val Kilmer as the washed-up knight Madmartigan and featuring a story by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas.
Amazingly, Davis, now 52, will continue the saga in the Disney+ series “Willow” (streaming Wednesday), much to the delight of the growing legion of devoted fans who have come to adore the original.
“For the past 34 years, I have heard the same thing from fans: “We’d love to see more of Willow.” Lots of people adore it, “As Davis points out. “A sequel needs more than just love, though. Not a lot of money was made. There was a great deal of toil involved.”
The addition of Warwick’s daughter Annabelle, a 25-year-old actress, as his screen daughter, Mims, and son Harrison, 19, as his stunt and photo double, adds a touching new layer to the original, an ultimate underdog story centered on its 3-foot-6 star.
“In most cases, the hero would be a strong, tall, dark, and handsome man. Anyway, I fit the bill for one of those categories “According to Warwick. “The appeal of this character lies in the fact that he is an underdog. He may be physically at a disadvantage because of his height and weight, but if he truly believed in the cause, he was victorious.”
‘willow’ Star Warwick Davis Celebrates His Underdog Return To The Disney+ Series:
The theme of the fan-favorite underdog persists throughout Davis’s work. Davis’s grandmother heard a radio casting call for Lucas’ 1983 film “Return of the Jedi” while preparing dinner for him and his siblings. Davis was born in Surrey, England, with spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenital, a rare bone growth disorder that results in dwarfism. She urged Davis, an avid “Star Wars,” fan, to give it a shot.
Davis became friends with Lucas after being cast as the Ewok Wicket. “If my grandmother hadn’t been listening to the radio, I wouldn’t be talking to you today,” Davis says.
Even though Davis inspired Lucas to create “Willow,” the studio was skeptical that he could pull off the role of a father to two young children. Howard felt compelled to use a wide Willow net in his casting.
For the role that was written for me, Davis says, “Ron went about auditioning short actors all over the world.” I tried out for dozens of roles.
Kilmer, hot off his “Top Gun” success, arrived “scruffy and disheveled” from a road trip through New Mexico for a paired audition.
Davis recalls, “He staggered in, sunburned from driving his convertible, and there was instant chemistry between us.” “The day ended with George and Ron approaching me and offering me the part. At long last, it was mine.”
By its very nature, the process of creating “Willow” inspired feelings of affection. On the set, Kilmer met Joanne Whalley, who played warrior Sorsha, and Davis met his future wife, Samantha (they wed in 1991). (they married in 1988 and divorced after eight years). Kilmer helped the star who was feeling the pressure of playing the title role by providing advice, encouragement, and, yes, alcohol.
He began serving me margaritas after work, Davis says. “Truthfully, it was just him and Joanne. As a 17-year-old, I had never even tried alcohol. Try one of these, he urged. To this day, I have not had a single drink. Instead of encouraging me to drink, I think they discouraged me.”
There were no discussions of making another “Willow” at the studio after the film’s lackluster debut, and Davis’ career took off as a result. He was in everything from “Harry Potter” to the main protagonist in the “Leprechaun” series of horror films.
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According to Annabelle, “Willow” is the film for which he is best known. “Many of the film’s devotees will have seen it hundreds of times or more. It’s incredible how much value they place on the name “Willow.
While Howard and his daughter, a “Willow” superfan, were filming “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” the topic of a sequel came up again with a newfound sense of urgency.
“I remember Dad getting excited like, ‘Maybe this can happen one day,'” Annabelle recalls her father saying.
With Kasdan as executive producer, Whalley as the now Queen Sorsha, and the father-daughter team as the Nelwyn people, the new “Willow” series came to life surprisingly quickly, considering how long fans had to wait for it. Davis says, “The way it all happened is magic.”
Davis does regret one thing. Kilmer’s vocal cords were severely damaged during his treatment for throat cancer, so he was unable to reprise his role as Madmartigan (the character is discussed in legendary terms in the new series). Davis misses his dear co-star, Willow, even though Willow detested Madmartigan’s derogatory nickname for the small Nelwyns, “Peck.”
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