The Railway Children Return “pays real homage to the original film”
Director Morgan Matthews and John Bradley discuss the ways in which the new sequel borrows from the original.
Since it was released more than half a century ago, The Railway Children has become a bonafide British classic – one of the most beloved family films this country has ever produced.
Now, 52 years later, The Railway Children Return is arriving in UK cinemas, borrowing certain elements from the previous film to tell a new, updated story set against the backdrop of the Second World War.
And Game of Thrones star John Bradley – who plays the grandson of original character Albert Perks (Bernard Cribbins) in the new film – hopes that it will be able to build a similar reputation to its predecessor.
"Hopefully – fingers crossed, this is a bold thing to say – but hopefully we're making this film in order that in 50 years time people think the same way about our film," he explained to RadioTimes.com, after revealing his fondness for the original.
"It's a big ambition to have, but I think that we've taken enough aspects of the initial film that people like, and updated certain themes within it as well.
"We pay real homage to that original film because it was such a special experience seeing it for the first time all those years ago," he added.
Meanwhile, director Morgan Matthews explained that while he was keen to pay homage, he didn't want to overdo the callbacks to the original – in order that his new film could stand on its own.
"I thought a lot about what it was about the original that connected with people so much, and what has made it such an enduring classic as well," he said.
"And whilst it was important for us to try and capture some of that essence, and some of the detail that people might recognise from the original and might recognise as an homage to the original, we also wanted to make a film that stood up on its own."
He added: "We didn't want to sort of overly load it with nods, that would be either confusing or a bit oblique for people who hadn't seen the original, particularly children.
"There's one music cue, which is a reimagined version of the original Railway Children theme, as scored by our composers, Martin Phipps and Edward Farmer. But other than that, it's all original score.
"Then there are other scenes and nods – but yeah, I didn't want it to be kind of peppered with so many that it became very kind of self-conscious in that way or distracting."
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