Film and TV star Warwick Davis took time out to speak to the Wimbledon Guardian this week ahead of his starring role alongside Priscilla Presley in pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The film and TV actor, whose credits include Willow, Star Wars, Harry Potter and more recently appearing with Karl Pilkington in the new series of an Idiot Abroad, will be taking on the role of chief dwarf Prof alongside rock and roll royalty Priscilla Presley as the wicked Queen and comedian Jared Christmas as Herman the Henchman.
How have rehearsals been going for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?
WD: "It’s a huge show - we are basically staging a west end show in three weeks.
"It’s quite technical and there is a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes that we hope the audience won’t see.
"When we have been working on a show for three weeks you need an audience because that's what panto is all about.
"We have everything else in place but now we need the audience to bring it all together.
"It’s exciting and I’m pleased with the script and everything.
"I haven’t done panto since I was last here in Wimbledon about five years ago."
What was it like working with Priscilla Presley?
WD: "She is an amazing lady, very graceful and really had quite an introduction to the world of panto.
"She is a television and film actress but has not graced the stage before so she has had a very steep learning curve.
"You have to understand the very unique British and humour and innuendos and also understand working on a stage when your performance has to be larger than life and project to the audience rather than having a camera following what you have done.
"I have been helping her with that and we have a wonderful director."
Have you always been a fan of panto?
WD: "I have been a fan since I was a kid.
"For many kids panto is their first introduction to theatre and I want to make sure its the best experience it can be so they will continue to come and see theatre.
"In Wimbledon we have a full band and it’s a real big sound so as an actor you feel really supported by the show.
"There is something I do at the end that’s worth the ticket price alone.
"You will never see it coming and it’s been quite a challenge to put on."
What was it like working with Karl Pilkington for An Idiot Abroad?
WD: "I travelled a bit for work over the years but never to these sorts of places and we were really off the beaten track.
"I didn’t know what to expect but I was determined not to get ill.
"Karl said you’re never going to cope with this and that just made me more determined.
"I was the only one not to get ill which I think annoyed Karl.
"Then he tried to make me ill by trying to make me eat all these weird foods.
"It was an amazing experience and one of the best in my career to do all those amazing things and meet all the people.
"India is an amazing country, full of life and colour and vibrancy - it was an incredible place.
"People always ask me is Karl really like that and I say of course he is like that.
"What you see is what you get.
"He’s a lovely bloke.
"I think it’s refreshing that he says what he thinks.
"He doesn’t have a filter he just says it how he sees it.
"He’s not always right, but some time he is.
"When you are working on something so long and travelling everyday when people are actually coming out and watching it that’s what makes it worthwhile."
What have been your career highlights?
WD: "Star Wars has got to be a highlight, Willow of course and beyond that the Harry Potter films.
"Being part of all of those films was a great honour.
"Life’s Too Short (BBC comedy series by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant about life as a dwarf) got people talking and thinking.
"It aggravated some people but ultimately I think we made a fantastic show that made people think about what life is like for somebody who is short so I’m hugely proud of that."
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves; Friday, December 7 to Sunday, January 13; 7pm; £10 to £29.50; atgtickets.com/wimbledon; 0844 871 7646