Volume 76, Number 30 | December 20 - 26, 2006

William Mosley’s favorite Village spots

Magnolia Café: “Yes, I would wait in line for a cupcake.”

Cowgirl Café: “I love that I get to have a taste of the south and still stay in New York.”

Fat Cat: “Pool tables and shuffle board— what could be bad about that?”

Bread and Pastry Café: “For the paninni. Need I say more?”

Cafe doma: “Decaf tea and a place to write or read or just look out the big window”

Photo by Geoff Smith

William Mosley finds Narnia in Greenwich Village

By Wickham Boyle

William Mosley is the 18-year-old Brit who plays the oldest brother Peter in the smash hit “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe,” the first story in C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia.” After garnering great reviews and an ardent following of teen screamers, Mosley took the autumn off from his life in England to explore acting classes and wander the streets of Greenwich Village. Just like the Narnia story, Mosley’s energy makes one truly believe that he finds wonder behind every cupboard door. His excitement and joy colors everything he encounters here, from acting classes to cup cakes to Downtown street life. I recently spoke to the young actor about his enthusiasm for the Village, before he left for New Zealand to shoot the second Narnia film.

Why did you choose to stay in the Village?

I knew I wanted to be in the Village — well, really to be Downtown. I have been terrifically happy here. It is not the touristy New York one thinks of — all the bustling suits, crowds and the vertical skyscraper skylines. I am from a rural part of England, from the Cotswold’s and the little hippy town I am from makes me feel at home in the Village. Here, like at home, someone is always showing his or her art or playing music outside or in a café. It was great for me to grow up in a place where it was evident that there were choices of work for those of us who were not brilliant in math or science. I was always surrounded by creative types and that makes me very at home in the Village.

So what places do you love?

I absolutely love going to brunch. I have several places I splash out on: The Grey Dog, a tiny place on Carmine Street; they change the art, luckily, because I am more of a cat person and they had these great huge slobbering dogs on the walls and now they have a calmer version of dog art. I love French toast and also an egg and bacon breakfast I call a heart attack on a plate. I like Jane on Houston Street ­— a little more up market but I am still just eating pancakes there.

And being in New York City rather than taking this time in London means it is more upbeat, as London can be so rainy and the buildings are close. Another big draw is that New York is not an hour and a half from my parents by train, so I am really surviving on my own.

You did have a plan beyond breakfast, right?

I came to hone my craft a bit before I head off to New Zealand for the next installment of Narnia, “Prince Caspian.” I find the atmosphere here, in New York so motivating. It’s funny, I knew I would have one class to take with Sheila Gray, but I worried I wouldn’t be busy enough, and now I am constantly doing scenes with people from my classes, going to theater and the movies.

For me acting is so much about confidence. If you believe you are good enough you give that off and it makes you actually better. So studying with a teacher where I am being exposed to method and sensory work seems to have moved my acting to a different level.

What’s next after the Village?

Well, I leave for New Zealand at the end of January, and then we shoot there and in Prague, Slovenia and Poland. This role is going to be very physical, with lots of battles. I have been training in Gleason’s gym in Brooklyn. It is a place where they see me, as rather smallish boy with a funny accent, and they make me earn my respect there. I have been studying sword fighting as well, which is sort of a dream come true because when I was a boy my mum wouldn’t let me fight or kick box because she thought I’d just use it against my sister. Now I am getting to do it all.

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