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Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger! - Debbie Isitt DVD interview

Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger

Compiled by Jack Foley

DEBBIE Isitt talks about making Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger! and why filming both Nativity movies has been such a joy.

She also talks about working with David Tennant and Joanna Page, which American actors she’d love to work with and preparing for a third Nativity movie. Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger! is released on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday, November 18, 2013.

Q. What can we expect to see in the sequel to the first Nativity movie?
Debbit Isitt: In the sequel to the first Nativity movie you can expect all the same ingredients: cute kids, mad Mr Poppy, fun, music, laughter, tears and Christmas but with the added bonus of the fabulous David Tennant playing not only the new teacher but his own evil identical twin! Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger is even funnier than the first film because the children go on a crazy adventure through the Welsh countryside and all kinds of amazing things happen to them. It’s a real fun, Chrismassy ride of a movie.

Q. What is it like working with the likes of David Tennant and Joanna Page?
Debbit Isitt: Both David Tennant and Joanna Page are amongst the best actors in Britain. I love working with great actors! They throw themselves into the story and work with genuine fearlessness and commitment.

Q. Can you tell us any funny stories about working with David and Joanna on set?
Debbit Isitt: Filming the Nativity films is always fun. With animals, children and Mr Poppy things can often get out of control and have us all laughing our heads off on set. David and Joanna both had to keep straight faces whilst doing amazingly brave stunts for this movie. David fell in the river when white water rafting – by accident! He was thrown down a rapid river but agreed to let me keep it in the scene, as it was so funny! Joanna had to get up in a helicopter without any door on it and fly thousands of feet up in the air to try and rescue David, who was stranded on a mountain! She was so brave – they both were – but all the time Mr Poppy was shouting funny things at them to try and make them laugh. They both did a fair bit of giggling – but that’s all good fun – it’s in the spirit of the Nativity movies to enjoy the filming process. I think the funniest day was when Joanna’s character was giving birth in the manger and David’s character had to deliver the baby twins….I can’t go into too much detail but we were all literally rolling in the hay with laughter!

Q. If you could work with any actor or actress, who would it be?
Debbit Isitt: I feel so lucky to have worked with such great actors and improvisers in my films. I really feel like I work with the best actors in the country. However, I would love to work with more American actors like Steve Carrell, Toni Collette, Amy Adams and Robert De Niro. I can dream can’t I?

Q. What is the secret of making a really magical Christmas movie?
Debbit Isitt: For me, Christmas really is a magical time of year so I genuinely love the season. I think if you see Christmas through the eyes of a child you can’t fail to find the magic in it. I love everything about Christmas and I try to put it all into my films, the twinkly lights, great Christmas songs, beautiful children, fun, laughter, heart and a great story. Christmas is a time for love, family, forgiveness, excitement, magic and leaving cynicism at the door. Our films aren’t about commercial Christmas. They are about lighting up people’s lives, making you feel hopeful for the future and donkeys!

Q. Much of your work has been directed at children – what do you enjoy most about creating films for kids to enjoy?
Debbit Isitt: I suppose I must be a child at heart because I love family films myself. I think they are funnier than most adult only films and I do love a good comedy. To hear a cinema full of children laugh out loud at your film is one of the most rewarding experiences ever. I trust, respect and admire children. They so deserve to see their own lives reflected back at them up on the big screen. Making a child happy, making a child laugh, making a child feel braver about the world they live in is a dream come true and helping any child feel good at Christmas time is a genuine privilege.

Q. Growing up, were there any children’s movies you really cherished?
Debbit Isitt: My favourite film of all time was and still is The Wizard of Oz – but I loved and cherished so many films. I was a huge Walt Disney fan and I still am! The first film I ever saw at the cinema was Snow White and it’s still a masterpiece when you watch it today.

Q. What can you tell us about plans for the third movie?
Debbit Isitt: We are just about to start shooting Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey? Bring on the children, animals and tinsel – I’m good to go!

Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger! is released on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday, November 18, 2013