Anna Friel © Universal Pictures

On May 5th, 2008, I entered Soundstage 27 at Universal Studios and was transported to the Land of the Lost, an alternate universe where marauding dinosaurs and reptile-like creatures called Sleestaks roam freely.

Based on the classic 1974 TV series, created by Sid and Marty Krofft, the movie stars Will Ferrell as Dr Rick Marshall, Anna Friel as his research assistant, Holly, and Danny McBride as Will, a redneck survivalist, who are sucked into a Space-Time vortex, leading them to a dangerous new world. In the TV series Holly is Marshall’s 14-year-old daughter, and American – a fact that amuses British star Anna Friel…

by Judy Sloane

Did this show play in England?

Anna Friel © Universal Pictures
Anna Friel © Universal Pictures

No, I’d never heard of it. Did it show in England? I never saw it if it did. At the read through I met Marty and Sid, and they were like, ‘You’re the one, you’re our Holly,’ I was a little bit concerned, first a) I’m not American, b) I’m not 14 and c) I’ve not got blonde hair, all the avid Sci-Fi fans are going to be like, ‘What!’

Have you watched DVDs of it?

I have, we watched quite a lot of them. It’s loosely based on the series, they still kept the Sleestaks, there is a Marshall, Will and a Holly, but obviously the world’s changed very much, and they’ve just taken that idea and brought it up-to-date, so it suits a new generation.

How do you feel about playing this kind of character in this kind of movie?

Humans in costumes & Universal Pictures
Humans in costumes © Universal Pictures

In the scene you were watching on the set earlier, Holly turns into a big action girl, and that’s something I’ve never ever done before. I’m having the best time I’ve ever had on a film ever.

The sets are continually changing, the director, Brad Silberling, has been so brilliant because he wanted us to have real things to work with, so he stuck with the original idea of keeping the Sleestaks as Human Beings in costumes, as opposed to having the whole thing CGI’d.

There’s very little green screen, we’ve always got the real elements to work with which makes it all feel a little bit more real and believable.

What is Holly’s relationship with Will Ferrell’s character?

Anna Friel and Will Ferrell © Universal Pictures
Anna Friel and Will Ferrell © Universal Pictures

It’s a bit feisty; they’re like brother and sister. They are always at each other, and he keeps making horribly rude British jokes all the way through that she tolerates. Tone-ally, I think it’s unlike any film you’ll have seen for awhile.

What’s it been like playing off of Will?

It’s just amazing.  Will has been as kind and warm, and as considerate and as brilliant as any actor I’ve ever worked with, if not better. I think he’s my favorite leading man to date.

Anna Friel © Universal Pictures
Anna Friel © Universal Pictures

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.