“Stagecoach helped me discover my skills”

Will (Billy/Christopher Robin) with Domhnall Gleeson (AA Milne) in the film

Will, 11, from Stagecoach Greenwich, tells us about his first big role in Goodbye Christopher Robin last year, a film about the lives of Winnie-the-Pooh author AA Milne and his family, who called Christopher ‘Billy’ when he was young.

Q  Did you go to drama school before getting the role of the young Christopher Robin in Goodbye Christopher Robin?
A. “I went to Early Stages Stagecoach in Greenwich, London, for two years when I was three and four years old. I also joined again after I finished filming Goodbye Christopher Robin. I would definitely recommend Stagecoach to other kids.”

Q  What do you like most about Stagecoach?
A. “It gives me freedom to express myself, have lots of fun and make new friends.”

Q  Did going to Stagecoach help you get the part as the young Christopher (who was called Billy by his family)?
A. “When I was little, it introduced me to acting and dancing, and that helped me to discover my skills. It also really helped with my confidence.”

Will (as Christopher Robin, who was called Billy by his family) with his screen mum Daphne (Margot Robbie)

Q  What do you think helped you get the part in the auditions?
A. “Trying to be as real and as natural as possible. Being able to listen and follow instruction was also a big part of it too.”

Q  How did you feel when you heard you’d won the role?
A. “We were visiting my Auntie Georgie and I jumped into her swimming pool, even though I was still in my pyjamas!”

Q  How did you prepare for the film and learn your lines?
A. “Well, I had at least six auditions for the role, so I’d already learned several of the scenes. Luckily, they were the hardest ones to learn, so when it came to doing it for real I had a head start.”

Q  What was the most surprising thing about working on the film?
A. “I thought nobody would have time to talk to me, but there was lots of fun, especially between me and Domhnall Gleeson, who played my dad, AA Milne. There was also fun with some of the crew, like with Charlie, who did my hair and make-up, and Yanika, who did my costumes, and Adam, who was a runner. We made up stories together pretending we all had super powers.”

Q  Were the other actors helpful?
A. “Everyone was helpful, but Domhnall was my biggest help. He always put me at ease by getting me to share silly stories with him between takes. He also gave me advice on how to deliver my lines and he told me to never be embarrassed to ask if I was unsure about anything."

Q  What do your friends think about you starring in a film?
A. “My friends have been really happy for me. My whole class went to the cinema together to watch the film, which was great fun. All the teachers cried!”

Will as the young Christopher Robin (who was called Billy by his family) in Goodbye Christopher Robin

Goodbye Christopher Robin is out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download.

As told to Nicola Venning