The Nutcracker, the beloved holiday season tale of toys that come to life, moves from the ballet stage to the big screen in an action-adventure story being released Friday by the Walt Disney Co.
In Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Mackenzie Foy stars as 14-year-old Clara, a girl who is fascinated by engineering and is trying to figure out how to unlock a Christmas gift left behind by her recently deceased mother.
Clara soon finds herself in a beautiful but troubled parallel universe where she encounters a nutcracker soldier, and the pair embark on a dangerous search for the key to Clara's gift.
"I think it really truly captures that spirit, that feeling of the holiday season, but it also has action and adventure and excitement," Foy, best known for playing the daughter of Edward and Bella in The Twilight Saga, told Reuters at the film's world premiere in Hollywood.
The film is based on E.T.A. Hoffman's short story written in 1816 and Alexandre Dumas' retelling in the 1892 Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker, which is now performed on stages around the world during the Christmas season.
Disney's film includes just a fraction of the ballet of a typical stage production of The Nutcracker. In the movie, American Ballet Theatre star Misty Copeland and Ukrainian dancer Sergei Polunin perform in a pageant for Clara after she arrives in the Land of Sweets.
Keira Knightley plays the Sugar Plum Fairy, who in the film does not dance but welcomes Clara to the Four Realms with her over-the-top sweetness and pink cotton candy hair. Knightley, known for historical dramas such as Pride & Prejudice, said she enjoyed taking on a different type of role.
"I've been doing work that the subject matters are quite serious," she said, "and it was very nice doing something that was totally silly and not an ounce of subtlety in it."