Saturday, February 9, 2013

An appointment with John Darling (Paul Collins) #PeterPanDiamond

I had the utmost honor the other night of interviewing one of the characters from Disney's classic, Peter Pan! Disney just released Peter Pan Diamond edition February 5th. The day before the release, I was graced by the presence of Mr. and Mrs. John Darling, otherwise known as Paul and Ellen Collins. What really tickled me was their friendly and personable nature. Ellen had told me as she woke up that morning, she said, "Oh, I'm Mrs. John Darling today." Isn't that just absolutely adorable?
Paul Collins (voice of John Darling) and his wife, Ellen, #PeterPanDiamond
Paul Collins (voice of John Darling) and his wife, Ellen
They charmed my heart right away, you see. As I introduced my blog to them, Paul Collins actually said he had been to Whirlwind of Surprises to take a look around. I was flattered beyond belief and almost at a loss of words. Luckily, I recovered and was able to ask him about Peter Pan. Paul Collins told me about the history of Peter Pan and I sat and listened as if I was one of the Lost Boys listening to Wendy tell tales of adventure.

Maybe you know but maybe you don't...the original Peter Pan play was written by J.M. Barrie and somewhat inspired by his own life and the children (the five Llewelyn Davies boys) he adopted when their parents became sick. Paul Collins, not only played the role of John Darling in Peter Pan but also played J.M. Barrie in the broadway play, Courage, later on.

Paul Collins loved Broadway and recollected a story from the original play where Peter Pan had to call out to those in the audience to save Tink. In the play, Tinkerbell gets captured and she gets weaker and weaker as she flutters around. Peter Pan shouts to the crowd, "Anybody who wants to save Tinkerbell, clap your hands."

You may think well, everyone's going to clap because after all, Peter Pan appeals to children. However, at the time of the play, Peter Pan was actually produced for an adult audience, a rather sophisticated, west end, and well off one if you will. It was of great worry that no one would clap. The magic carried through though, as "the applause was tumultuous". As Paul told me this story, I was completely sucked in. Who would've thought the magic of Peter Pan began even before the Disney production. With that, I need to get back on track with Disney's classic Peter Pan.
Paul Collins, at age 15 on the set of Peter Pan, acting out John Darling #PeterPanDiamond
© 2013 Disney Paul Collins, at age 15 on the set of Peter Pan, acting out John Darling. 
Here are some of the questions you and I asked of Paul Collins and the answers:
Q: Back in the day, how were you able to handle school and filming?
A: They were given 4 hours of homework each day. There was a teacher on set to help.

Q: Would you like to see a sequel to Peter Pan?
A: Only if he can be in it.

I digress to say that Paul has a great sense of humor as you'll see from the rest of my questions!

Q: Besides John, if there was any character in Peter Pan you could play, who would it be?
A: Captain Hook because he has the funnest role.

Q: Favorite part of Peter Pan?
A: Anything he was in. And anything with Captain Hook because he was so sardonic and ironic. Captain Hook was made out to be tougher and meaner than the original play.

Q: Paul Collin's wife's, Ellen, favorite part of Peter Pan?
A: Anything with John Darling in it. She loved the entire movie and found it to be "great fun". Her favorite part was when they walk the plank.
Paul Collins at Bryant Park in front of the screen showing his character, John Darling, sword fighting with his younger brother, Michael Darling. #PeterPanDiamond
Paul Collins at Bryant Park in front of the screen showing his character, John Darling, sword fighting with his younger brother, Michael Darling.
Q: How did the process for creating Peter Pan work?
A: The actors/actresses actually acted out each scene. Those scenes were filmed and then drawn out to create the animated version. Paul Collins had a lot of fun jumping and flying through the various scenes. Even as he described it to me, I could imagine the adventures that happened on set. You can actually see some of this on the Diamond Edition.

Q: Was there an actual dog on set then?
A: There actually wasn't a dog in the original play and they did not have a dog to play Nana on the set either. Although, Paul and Ellen had a doberman, named Shadow, who was very much like Nana with their daughter!

I had a delightful time chatting with Paul Collins and his wife about Peter Pan. It really is hard to believe that we're already on the 60th anniversary. Peter Pan Diamond Blu-Ray edition is now available for purchase.

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Disclaimer: I attended a press event for #PeterPanDiamond. Opinions expressed belong to Whirlwind of Surprises and are NOT influenced in any way. Please view my full disclosure, TOS, and privacy policy. Please take the time to enter my other giveaways while you're here.

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                                                         Until next time,


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