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The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Now In Theaters + More!

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The holiday season is officially here and I am so excited to say that THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS is now playing in theatres everywhere! This is the perfect family film to kick off the holidays!

In celebration of THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS opening, I wanted to send around a great featurette on the film with interviews from Kiera Knightley, Helen Mirren, Mackenzie Foy and Misty Copeland:  

Family Traditions Featurette

Did you also see the fun activity pages and coloring sheets that are now available?


Mackenzie Foy is Clara and Keira Knightley is the Sugar Plum Fairy in Disney’s THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS.

Keira Knightley is the Sugar Plum Fairy and Mackenzie Foy is Clara in Disney’s THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS.

Helen Mirren is Mother Ginger in Disney’s THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS.

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THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS is now playing in theatres everywhere!

Fun Facts about The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

ODE TO E.T.A. – The character Captain Phillip Hoffman, the Nutcracker in “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is named after E.T.A. Hoffmann, who penned “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” in 1816.

  • Jayden Fowora-Knight was cast to portray the Nutcracker character—the only

    Nutcracker in the Four Realms.

  • Clara’s brother receives a nutcracker doll for Christmas that foretells Phillip’s


SWEEEEEET – As regent of Land of Sweets, Sugar Plum Fairy was styled to look as delicious as the realm she oversees.

  • Her dress, constructed from metallic organza, netting and silk satin, is the color of

    crystallized sugar and inspired by sugarplums.

  • Her hair, which is baby pink and lilac, is designed to resemble candy floss. Keira

    Knightley, who plays the sweetest regent, even reaches up to her head on occasion in the film to swipe a piece of the cotton candy coiffure for a tasty treat on the run. But since it’s not really made of sugar, she’s not really eating it!

WIGGING OUT – While most of the characters in “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” don period wigs in the film, Mackenzie Foy—who portrays Clara in the film— uses her own locks throughout the movie. Since Clara is a bit of a tomboy, the styles are all simple—though she does get a slightly more elaborate style for the pageant the regents host in Clara’s honor.

CREEPY CREATURE – Filmmakers wanted to create an oversized rodent villain that would be scary without being silly—which was a challenge considering the Mouse King had long been depicted in the original story and ballet as a giant mouse. Cue visual effects and an unexpected style of movement:

  • The Mouse King, created entirely in CG, is made up of 60,000 mice who crawl all over his body shape as he moves.
  • The idea is actually rooted in reality. “Rat king” is a real term that describes a group of mice or rats living in close quarters whose tails become intertwined and bodies caked in mud to form what appears to be a single giant being.
  • His movements are inspired by the unique dance style of Lil Buck aka Charles Riley, who previously portrayed the Mouse King in performances at his old ballet school, New Ballet Ensemble. This version of the Mouse King, however, embraces his current style: jookin, which incorporates slides, glides and toe spins. The end result is a feeling of undulation as the giant CG rodent moves across screen.

LIGHTEN UP – Godfather Drosselmeyer, as a wealthy world traveler and a man of science, has a very special feature in his workshop: a light bulb. While the rest of the film features only natural light—sunlight, moonlight, candlelight—Drosselmeyer’s workshop has the only light bulb.

  • The addition is deliberate: the film is set in 1879, the same year that Thomas Edison first demonstrated his light bulb, and filmmakers figured that Drosselmeyer, an eccentric man of science, would be among the first to get his hands on one.
  • Morgan Freeman, who portrays the character, even showcases just how precious the device is in the scene in which he and Clara work together in the workshop.

GINGER ROOTS – Mother Ginger is inspired by a character from the ballet who is from Land of Sweets. Little gingerbread children emerge from her giant gingerbread house skirt to dance before returning to their crinoline condo. The character is quite different in “The Nutcracker in the Four Realms.” Regent of the mysterious Fourth Realm, Mother Ginger was long-ago banished from the rest of the realms and her land is abandoned and in disarray. An army of mice report to Mother Ginger, who is considered an evil tyrant interested in ruling all of the realms.

Filmmakers took the idea of a giant skirt to new heights, introducing the character as a terrifying giant with a circus-tent skirt. The reality, however, is that Mother Ginger resides within the “giant,” which is actually an elaborate marionette doll that she operates from inside its torso. The marionette itself was created in CG by the visual effects team.

The Mother Ginger marionette is a giant puppet. She was designed by the art department to be a menacing 40 feet tall, with a 30-foot-wide circus tent for a skirt. She has elements of steam punk in her design, with CG steam leaking from her pistons and chimney stacks, and has CG hands and arms articulated with cog-based joints. In several shots, there is a huge practical Mother Ginger puppet skirt, torso and head, but for most scenes she is fully CG, built to emulate the practical build used while shooting. Even when practical, she is enhanced with CG steam, mechanical arms and mouth.

  • Instead of children dancing out from Mother Ginger’s skirt, there are polichinelles, clown-like characters that are left over from the former Land of Amusements, whose title was rescinded by the other regents when Mother Ginger was banished.
  • Portrayed by Helen Mirren, the character dons a ginger wig, a cracked complexion and a tattered top with trousers—all designed to be slightly piratical.

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