23 October 2020 20:32
It's half term for 14-year-old Dixie Egerickx and whilst most people her age are knee-deep in the excitement of half term, Dixie is busy promoting her 11th acting credit, (her previous work includes starring alongside Gemma Arterton in Summerland) the movie adaption of the classic children's book,The Secret Garden. Dixie takes on the role of Mary Lennox, who after her parents suddenly die, is forced to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven (this time played by Colin Firth), on a secluded country estate in deepest 1940s Yorkshire. Soon she discovers a magical secret garden which provides the escapism she has long needed and yearned for. Here, Dixie discusses why the latest adaption of The Secret Garden is the piece of escapism we ALL need right now, her passion for discussing climate change and why the new film's take on the characters' mental health is so important. I feel like I learned quite a lot just because I didn't know that there was that much going into a film - there's so many people, so many jobs and it was kind of crazy to me What do you think makes this a very 2020 adaption of The Secret Garden?
I feel like the film actually focuses a lot more on the mental health of the characters. I feel like, especially with the whole pandemic, everyone's been inside, and I feel like a lot of people's mental health has definitely suffered so that's why it might be even more relevant now. Mary is such a strong character - how important do you think it was to breathe that kind of life into this character and how would you define feminism? But nature is a big part of the film and I think climate change is very important to someone who is young as it is what I'm going to have to grow up in. I think with all these things, it's all well and good saying, "We need to focus more on this," but something has to actually be done, change actually has to happen.
Although shot in various spots around the UK, the film features many locations in Yorkshire; grand manor houses, medieval ruins and majestic landscapes make the region a natural fit. "Working with the seasons is very special; time passes in a different way," says Tricia Harris, who helps to manage the five-acre garden, which largely relies on volunteers for support. Enclosed by ivy-clad stone walls and sitting in the shadow of 12th century Helmsley Castle, it's a maze of gravel paths and hidden corners – the essential elements of a secret garden. It's also intended as a place to heal and reflect, by harnessing the restorative power of nature – a theme key to the film and Frances Hodgson Burnett's original book. Built in 1758 as a kitchen garden for the Feversham family at nearby Duncombe Park – which serves as Mary's new home, Misselthwaite Manor, in the film – it was abandoned in the 1980s until local woman Alison Ticehurst revived it as a centre for horticultural therapy in 1994.
"If you feel like the world's on top of you, you can journey through the garden, find somewhere to sit and feel better about things," says Tricia, who speaks fondly about every patch of the place. The site's role in The Secret Garden is mentioned in the book, National Trust on Screen, published earlier this year. The East Guest House, part of a small complex that was originally used to accommodate important visitors, was chosen to become one part of the garden in the film. It's that sense of liberation earned by conquering the unknown that explains why The Secret Garden has charmed so many readers. The Secret Garden is out in cinemas now. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. The Secret Garden is back on our screens in a magical new take on Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel of the same name. Released in August in the US, the adaptation is now hitting UK cinemas and is also available to watch in your home on the same day, thanks to Sky Cinema picking the movie up after it was delayed from its original April release. The Secret Garden is now available to watch on Sky Cinema, but if you're not a Sky subscriber, you can sign up to NOW TV and enjoy a seven-day free trial with its Sky Cinema Pass. If you're after more than just movies from your subscription, you can combine the Sky Cinema Pass with NOW TV's Entertainment Pass to get access to all of the latest TV shows for £21.98 a month. The Secret Garden is just one of many big premieres in the coming weeks on Sky Cinema and NOW TV this month. The Secret Garden is now available to watch on Sky Cinema and NOW TV, and is also out in UK cinemas. Precocious snob Mary (Dixie Egerickx; miscast) loses her parents and so finds herself in a Yorkshire mansion with an emotionally distant uncle (Colin Firth) and casually racist housekeeper (Julie Walters). Watch the trailer for The Secret Garden reunion on Colin Firth's new film, The Secret Garden, as the children's classic saw him team up once again with Dame Julie Walters. Firth mentioned he'd also like to see another film happen but isn't sure it will. While The Secret Garden may not be set on a sunny Greek island, it did see the cast film outside at beautiful locations across the UK, with the North Yorkshire moors, North Wales and Cornwall among the many places visited during production. Firth plays Lord Archibald Craven, owner of The Secret Garden. "For me it was sort of the reverse, because the only bit where I'm outside really is towards the end when I go off looking for Colin [his son in the film], and it may not have been much screen-time, but I walk through the forest of Dean, bits of North Wales and half of Yorkshire in order to complete that little walk. Like so many films this year The Secret Garden's release date – originally in April – was pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic.