Everything of substance under the sun with William Moseley
In the “Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” William Moseley was but a young boy. He would mature by a few years in the succeeding Narnia films would still look very young, and for a long time, that’s how we would remember the English actor.
Moseley starred in a handful of films after Narnia, including the war drama “The Silent Mountain” and the psychological horror thriller “Friend Request” but arguably the most recognized—and gushed over—reincarnation of the British actor is his role as Prince Liam in the TV series “The Royals.” Finally, the young Peter Pevensie of Narnia fame is far from view and in his place is a dashing William Moseley, made insanely attractive in his guise as modern-day royalty.
This is almost exactly what greets me at the café of a hotel on the morning of our interview, a tall and handsome debonair guy, except this William Moseley has no sense of entitlement at all. He appears very relaxed in a white shirt, jeans and coat, his golden locks still damp from a morning swim.
He would later admit that he is very much into exercise, and is into swimming and surfing. He intends to visit one of the local beaches and surf spots, as well as to surf in Bali when his work in Manila is done.
The actor visited the country to promote the film “Carrie Pilby,” an independently produced film where he takes on the role of Cy, the neighbor and love interest of an intellectually gifted but socially awkward young woman, played by British actress Bel Powley.
Before we get to talk about the film, however, William’s next actions warrant that we talk about something else.
He takes notice of my camera and says he owns the same unit. Naturally, I ask him if he likes taking photos.
“I do. I like to. I find it fascinating,” he begins. This prompts a follow-up question, to which he replies, “You know I like to take photos of people a lot. I find them interesting. Often not portraits, just of them in the street.”
A different role
William thinks his role in Carrie Pilby is quite different from other characters he has portrayed. “One, I’m playing an American. Two, I’m playing someone who perhaps, almost seems homeless, doesn’t have any money. [And the fact that] it’s from America so that’s very different to me—that’s why I love the character.”
“Have you always wanted to be an actor?” I ask.
He replies, without hesitation, “I have always wanted to be an actor since I was 10. And that’s always been my dream. I just always wanted it so much so I’m very lucky that I get to do what I love.”
Being cast in Narnia was a bit overwhelming at the time but he considers it a dream come true for him. “It was the greatest experience I’ve ever had in my life so I would never take it back for anything,” he says.
Living a normal life
Like the Narnia film series, “Carrie Pilby” is also based on a book. The screenplay, written by Kara Holden, is based on the best-selling novel of the same title by Caren Lissner.
William is fond of reading books as well, but his preoccupation with scripts for work has prevented him in indulging in the former.
When he isn’t poring over a script or on the set, William goes to the gym or if possible, goes surfing.
He claims that he lives a very normal life. He likes the simple things, he says, like a cup of tea and biscuit in the afternoon. He also watches a lot of television, the type to binge-watch several episodes in a row when his schedule allows it.
Some of the actors he looks up to are Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt.
“I have so much admiration for them and for the work that they’ve done over the years and for the way they’ve built and crafted their career,” he shares.
And then he pauses as if in deep thought and his eyes widen a bit before saying, “You know, the funniest thing, it does have to do with… there is a percentage of your mind that has to have something on screen, which is kind of in a way lights up on screen.”
William’s tone then becomes more urgent, and his passion seeps through his words.
“I think some people are born and some people are not born with that. Some people are meant to be performers while some people are not born to be performers. Some are meant to be marathon runners and win the Olympics and some just aren’t.
“ I’m not meant to be in the Olympics. But beyond that tiny bit of spark on screen, that small amount of talent that you were born with, it’s an incredible amount of work. It’s an incredible amount of intellectual and emotional intelligence that come together to build a career.
“Because everyone really is a normal person, everybody is just human. Nobody really is a star. But they had to become a star, they became a star through an incredible amount of intelligence, hard work, and an incredible amount of choosing projects and making smart decisions.
“Sometimes over money, sometimes over a great person to work with. They made a decision—perhaps a different decision—but it paid off in the end. And they took risks. That to me is something I really admire in those top actors because that’s just an amazing way to live.”
William seems to be on the steady rise to stardom. He has successfully gotten past the stage where young actors tend to get sidetracked by other things and aren’t able to focus on their careers. Aside from landing a role in “Carrie Pilby,” he also stars in the live action screen adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “Little Mermaid.”
William has been made aware of how women respond (read: gush on social media) to his half-naked physique in “The Royals,” and is just relieved that his athletic side allows him to be physically fit. He has no qualms about going shirtless for some of the episodes.
In good humor, he says, “I appreciate girls being shirtless as much as any other guy so if girls appreciate me being shirtless, that’s actually fine.”
One of his aspirations is to be the male lead in an epic love story like “Titanic,” which is one of his favorite films.
Another dream project for him would be an action adventure like “Indiana Jones” or a spy secret agent movie.
“I realized—this is the best piece of advice I could ever give to anyone who wants to be successful at anything. If you want to be successful at what you do, you must try to have your personal life at ease. You must try to make your personal life good, and living an expensive life, that doesn’t mean having a lot of money. That simply means trying your best to make your life easy, and make your life comfortable, and put your mind at rest.”
Turning 30 in April, William can be classified as a millennial, if you will. He is aware of the backlash against millennials, and had a lot to say regarding the topic.
“I think there’s a lot to it, I think it’s a mix. We live in a generation now where someone who is poor has a chance to be a doctor or a lawyer, has a chance to elevate himself. So yeah, we do have Instagram and maybe we do have something that’s slightly self-centered, but people can get on to it and they can fight for something that they can believe in and they can actually change policies.”
Aside from environmental issues and discrimination, William also feels strongly about women empowerment, particularly in the industry he’s in. The team behind “Carrie Pilby” is comprised of women, and he thinks it’s a blessing. He has previously worked with female directors on film and television, and the experiences have been rewarding so far.
“This film, specifically,” he begins, referring to “Carrie Pilby,” we have a female director, a female writer, a female star and female producers. It’s a totally female film. And I think that perspective come through. I think women have to have more stories about their lives, and not just the type where they’re the hot girl on the side. I think that’s crap in a lot of ways.”
That said, William must have had a grand time filming “Carrie Pilby.” It appears that he has also poured so much of that energy and passion into the project. The only way to verify this is to watch the movie and see for ourselves.
Carrie Pilby” stars Bel Powley, William Moseley, Nathan Lane, Gabriel Byrne, Vanessa Bayer and Jason Ritter. It is distributed locally by Pioneer Films and will be shown in selected cinemas starting March 29.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.