Anna Popplewell: Out of the Lion’s Den

Anna PopplewellAt first I hardly recognise the elegant little Venus in jeans, with opulent Scarlett Johansson lips. It’s abundantly obvious that Anna Popplewell has done a lot of growing up since she made her name as bossy schoolgirl Susan, one of the four Pevensie children who discover the magic kingdom of Narnia in the Disney film adaptation of C S Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. As Anna puts it, ‘I was 13 when I had my first audition for Susan; 15 when I made the first movie; 16 at the end of the shoot; 17 when it was released; 18 when I filmed the sequel, Prince Caspian, and now I’m 19.’

The comparisons with 18-year-old Emma Watson, who plays Hermione in the Harry Potter films, are irresistible. Both are bright and talented, and both have had to live their adolescence in the glare of the spotlight as the iconic screen heroines of two of the most famous children’s fantasy adventures in the world. Anna’s second Narnian outing, in Prince Caspian, gives Susan a startling change of image as a warlike queen in titanium chain mail and a leather corset. ‘I have a lot more action going on in this movie, which is great,’ she says, delighted to find herself armed with a quiver of arrows, the only female on the battlefield as she helps the disinherited Prince Caspian to regain his Narnian throne. ‘I was quite worried about not being able to keep up with the boys,’ she admits, ‘so, on the quiet, I had twice as many riding lessons as anyone else before we went out to film in Prague. When the battle scene was being choreographed, we started a body count of all the people we had “slain” and I was doing very well,’ she adds with a grin.

As an actress, you can’t hope for a more high-profile film role than an action heroine. And despite having to fit A-level revision into breaks between takes, during 12-hour days in the 40C heat of a Czech summer, Anna enjoyed every perspiring minute of the adrenalin rush. ‘At least I didn’t have to run up and down hills wearing a suit of armour, like the boys,’ she points out. ‘There were 500 people on the battlefield one day and it was so hot and crazy that there were some injuries – but nothing too bad.’

The filming proved to be a particularly poignant time for Anna, because Prince Caspian will mark her swan song as Susan; as all devotees of C S Lewis’s seven chronicles of Narnia know, Susan only appears in two of the novels. Another book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is currently in preproduction, but the two eldest children, Peter and Susan, won’t appear in it, for at the end of Prince Caspian they are told by the lion Aslan that they won’t be coming back to the magic kingdom of Narnia because they are too old. And although Peter makes an appearance in the final Narnia book, The Last Battle, by then Susan is no longer a friend of Narnia because ‘she’s interested in nothing except nylons and lipstick and invitations’.

Mention of the line that left readers in no doubt what Lewis thought of frivolous girls provokes a giggle from this blue-eyed, brown-haired teenager in her hoop earrings and black, high-heeled boots. ‘I’m not totally “nylons and lipstick” orientated like Susan,’ she protests playfully. We’ve met in London’s Soho at her first grown-up fashion shoot, to celebrate her transition from child star to full-time student, and in fact she couldn’t look more contented and happy with what seems to me like a new-found freedom. Her departure from the Narnia series was a genuine case of life imitating art – since Anna, like the fictional Susan, was developing other interests anyway and felt ready for a change (she went to Oxford University to study English two months after finishing the filming). But she admits she will ‘miss the people and the buzz of being on a massive film’, adding, ‘It was quite a bitter-sweet thing to film Susan and Peter’s departure because it was quite true to life. I think it’s sad, but it’s also realistic for Susan at that stage in her life to go back into the real world and forget about Narnia,’ she says.

Read the rest at Daily Mail!


41 Responses to “Anna Popplewell: Out of the Lion’s Den”

  1. Aaron says:

    She is soooooo pretty!

  2. Tim says:

    susan appears in three of the novels…if they ever make the horse and his boy, we might see her again, unless they get someone different. which would be stupid. anna’s perfect as susan.

  3. Craig says:

    I agree with the other two post shes is hot and they better use her in the horse and his boy she would be the perfect age by the time (if they shoot it) to be back in narnia in the horse and his boy(which is in “susans” older age of bout close to 30)

  4. Deion says:

    Anna is so mesmerizing, stunning, and gorgeous. her beauty is the most captivating I’ve ever seen. she is amazing! she is perfect for the role as susan!

  5. anna says:


  6. Michael says:

    Why would they shoot The Horse and His Boy if that book comes before Prince Caspian. they already released Prince Caspian they can’t mess around with the story’s timeline and go back to previous happenings.

    • Caitlin says:

      Horse and His Boy is book 5 in the series, Prince Caspian was book two – if they continue on in order they’ll be able to show her again soon (and hopefully they’re intelligent enough to film Last Battle concurrently with one of these next ones so Georgie and the rest don’t look too old in it)

  7. jaycee says:

    she’s my anna…. hehehe just joking…. For me, she’s the best person to be Narnia’s Quenn Susan..

  8. suzanne says:

    ANNA is so pretty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish i was as pretty as her.

    I LOVE NARNIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. jesusrocks says:

    I`ve seen prettier….she`s a great actor though.

  10. jennifer says:

    Anna your a very beautiful young lady, keep up the good work!

  11. alana says:

    wow! she has changed!a great role model for us wanabe future great work anna! keep it up and continue being a good role model.

  12. Kássia says:

    I love her so much, and she is so beautiful!

  13. John says:

    I think that the Young Lady is stunning because she has a quality of youthful femininity and innocence that is rare to find in a young women her age. She also has very beautiful lips and very beautiful eyes.She is a good actress who has a solid ability to carry the role of the character that she plays. She did make a very convincing Susan didn’t she.I do really hope that I see her in some other movies , whether Narnia or some thing other than. I also hope that she hangs on to her sense of moral fiber and sense of decency which Hollywood has a habit of stripping away. I can not go so far as to say that I love her, I do not know her. But I do find a strong fondness for her as an person, an actress and for the characters that she plays.

  14. Rogelio says:

    she is so beautiful!

  15. sophie says:

    anna you are gorgeous! keep it up!

  16. Amalia says:

    Oh, anna is soooooooo beautiful and talented!

  17. WeiWei says:

    Anna, is beautiful and a amazing actress!
    But is she coming back? Like what happens with Prince Caspian?
    i mean they had something going on, is it just going to end like that? i guess i should read the books to find out (:

    • Julia says:

      In the books, they didn’t have ‘something going on.’ They added that in because Hollywood likes its romance. Susan makes no other appearance after ‘Prince Caspian’

  18. narniafan says:

    she is really pretty i feel so bad she doesn’t get to come nack :(

  19. Claire says:

    Well said, if I say so myself!

  20. LizaRose says:

    First off Susan actually appears in three novels. The two we have seen plus A horse and his boy. The reason they might do them out of order, since AHAHB occurs during LWW might be so the actors can age to the proper ages for their roles. If they are going to do the Narnia books they should do them all not just some of them. I would be ecstatic to see Anna come back as an older Susan in AHAHB.

  21. Tanya says:

    They are doing the books in published order, not chronological. If they were doing that you would have had to stop TWW before it ended and cut to The Horse and His Boy.

    I personally prefer to read them in published order.

  22. Eilyn says:

    to Michael: The Horse and His Boy happened on the time when the Pevensies were still at Narnia and on the Golden Age of Narnia. They can not do the movie like right after the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as they were still too young, so, the Horse would probably be done before the Last Battle or somewhere in between. Most logical would be before the Last Battle.

    I like Anna Popplewell, she seemed down to earth and not like most young stars of Hollywood. I guess, it goes to most British actors who are doing it as a profession and not to use it to party and go wild. Just my observation.

    Looking forward to The Dawn Treader!

  23. Dano says:

    If we were to follow the logic of sequence then they would have had to end TLTWATW early, show us a Horse and His Boy , they release the last major scene of The Lion, since it takes place in the last chapters of that book. As well, they should have done the Magicians Nephew first before TLTWATW. Who cares, just make them all, and you can organize your DVD, BluRay collection at home.

  24. Reepicheep, Knight of Narnia says:

    They have to get the same people for HHB!

  25. Jane says:

    wow..wouldn’t it be great if she could act as the older Susan in the Horse and His Boy if they ever get to that movie? wouldnt it be great if all of them could act as their older selves? Peter wont really be in it though…they are all growing up fast so I guess they would look old enough.

  26. robin says:

    i guess she;s ok but still why did she not marry caspian

  27. Joe says:

    Anna Popplewell is a young woman now and it is about time all of her fans leave her alone so she can live a full life without being bothered by her fans.

  28. avrilltaylor says:

    oh, ı really want to meet her shes talented but she doesnt apply another movıess ı belıeve she coul d get the role..
    I love narnıaa ıt s best book ı have ever seen

  29. For Christ Alone says:

    She was a great Susan…but I really don’t like the way people fall head over heels for someone that they will never meet and don’t even know you exist! YOu have to admit…that’s kinda odd. Right?

  30. Susan says:

    But at the last this movie she and peter will have…

  31. Thomas Shen says:

    Found this great fandom story of what happens Susan after Narnia:

    The Queen’s Return

  32. waw says:

    Why do they have to follow the book to the letter?
    Surely the producers/directors can improvise can’t they?
    I don’t know about the rest, watching Narnia without Peter and Susan, it seems like something is missing. I probably wouldn’t watch Dawn Trader when it comes to the Cinema.

  33. Julia says:

    Anna is so beautiful!
    This article says Susan only appears in two of the Narnia novels. But that is false. She appears in three: The Lion, the Wicth, and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; and The Horse and His Boy. She is all grown up in The Horse and His Boy, if that’s what it meant. If they do make the Horse and His Boy into a movie down the road, Anna could play the grown up Susan.

    • Kyle says:

      The ironic thing about all of these comments is that everyone is saying how they wish that they were as beautiful as Anna. And in the new movie the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, one of the temptations for Lucy is envying Susan’s(played by Anna) beauty. And in the movie it shows that God made us all beautiful and that wishing you were as beautiful as someone else is like wishing yourself away.

  34. Dude says:

    Well the books are being done in order, however the will leave THAHB (The Horse And His Boy) and TMN (The Magician’s Nephew) until later. Because they will have to do the films with the children before they grow up. Susan won’t be in anymore as she loses faith and stops believing. I do agree with Julia, a few posts up, because if they leave THAHB until later (perhaps as a spin off; even though it isn’t really) they could use the beautiful Anna to play Susan in that film. TMN will probably be left until last to show how Narnia began with the Professor, as a boy, with Polly. The only problem with that will be introducing Polly, as an old lady. People who have never read the books will wonder where she has come from, and what she has to do with the stories. They might do TMN and TLB (The Last Battle) together and release them straight after each other.

Leave a Reply was created by: