Mackenzie Foy is all grown up. No longer is she just the adorable little love child of Bella and Edward Cullen, “Renesmee Cullen,” in the cult film The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part I and 2, or “Cindy,” one of the children in the terrifying film The Conjuring. No, Mackenzie Foy has carved out a name for herself as famous children's book character—”Clara” in The Nutcracker. In our Mackenzie Foy interview, we had a chance to chat with her about being a nearly adult actress and working on a film like Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms that is based on a timeless children's story known across languages and cultures as a children's classic.
Mackenzie Foy Interview: Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms
On playing a beloved children's' book character
Mackenzie Foy shared with us that she really enjoyed being able to play a character that is part of such a beloved story over so many years. “It's really, really, really fun to be able to play a character that so many people all over the world can relate to and have kinda like this childhood connection from seeing the ballet when they were young, and I think that’s really important to be able to do,” Mackenzie Foy said during our interview.
On her favorite costume from Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms
In a movie like Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms where there are so many costumes for characters like Clara, Mackenzie Foy is bound to have a favorite.
“They were all handmade, all very, very intricate, which is really amazing,” Foy described. “But, I really love the purple party dress because that one has a bustle, and it’s really fun. Actually, I have a couple of bustles in the film. I have, like, a proper cage and then I have kinda just like a bum pad, and it looked half of her and me, which was really cute. It was very beautiful, but yeah, there’s a lot of detail that went into the costume design, from the tights, to the shoes, to the many skirt layers, and the bodices, and the corset. So I have a very high respect for all of the costumes, and also they have kind of a different character to them, and they kind of go with Clara’s evolution, which I really like.”
On getting the call about being Clara
Actors often have fun and entertaining stories about where they were and what they were doing when they got the call from their agent about landing a lead role in a movie. Mackenzie Foy is no different. She puts her pants on one leg at a time, just like you and I, and shared that story with us about the call when she landed the role of “Clara” in Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
“I was actually in the shower,” Foy said laughing, “and doing my hair when my mom ran in, and she was like, ‘Um, the director’s on the phone.' I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, okay,' and I put a towel on and I answered and, the director was like, ‘Would you, would you be our Clara?' I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, yes! Thank you so much!' And he’s like, ‘All right, see you in a couple weeks'.”
On her favorite Disney movies
Now that Mackenzie Foy is part of the Disney franchise, we had to find out if she has a favorite Disney movie. And her two favorites are Cinderella and Atlantis!
On the challenges of being on set and the differences between voice acting, live-action movies, and modeling
For someone so young, Mackenzie Foy is ridiculously poised and polished. She turns 18 this week.
“Well, every character, no matter how big or small has its own challenges because they’re all unique, and you have to do the research in order to properly create them. But I would say with ‘Clara,' and her being a main role—this is the story—it follows my character, so I have to make sure that everything is in line,” Foy explained. “I have to make sure the past is in my head, and I have to make sure I know where she’s going, the character arcs, emotional complexity, all of those things. So with the bigger part, you have to go more in detail to all those things, especially how they relate to every single character in the film.”
“Acting and modeling are very hard to do, and they’re both very, very different, so it’s hard to say, how they kind of relate. But, yes, both are equally hard, and it’s very different figuring out, like, modeling, you have to know what does the cameraman see, and you know, how does this look and all of that, and I guess that kind of relates to film—how will the viewers see it and I can think, it’s looking one way in my head, and then it looks different on camera, so I guess that’s kind of one connection between print and film.”
On doing her own stunts and training
“I actually did a lot of stunts and stuff, which was really fun. I did horse training, which was awesome, and I went to this place called The Devil’s Horseman; they’re film horses, and so they’re like proper stunt people. It was really, really cool being at these horses. It’s what you think of, like, the English countryside, that’s what it looked like there. And so it was actually amazing training outside on these beautiful horses. It was crazy.”
On her favorite Realm in Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Mackenzie Foy said her favorite Realm in Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms the is ever-changing. “Right now I really love the Land of Snowflakes just because it’s very blue and shiny, and very sparkly—because it’s still kinda hot here. I’m dying for winter weather and winter cool, so I’m like, in my head at the moment.”
What Mackenzie Foy hopes young girls take away from Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms
As a mom of kids who are hard-core into STEM/STEAM activities, the wife of an engineer, and a former ballerina who has danced Clara, I can appreciate the young inventor who is Clara Stahlbaum. There's a reason “Clara” and the story of “The Nutcracker” transcends generations, cultures, and languages and breaks social norms.
Mackenzie has a message for young girls about the movie. “I hope they see that Clara is unapologetically herself—that even though she’s this young inventor in her time period, it wasn’t really socially acceptable, but she still, ‘This is who I am. This is what I love to do, and I’m gonna do it,' and I hope they see that and know you can do that. You can be interested in science, you can be in interested in mechanics, and you can still wear dresses and like those kinds of things.”
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is in now playing in theatres.
Thanks to Walt Disney Studios for bringing me to Los Angeles for an all-expense paid trip. As always, all opinions are my own.