The Secret Garden’s Amir Wilson: 'Families should normalise talking about loss and mental health' (exclusive)

Freda Cooper
·Contributor
·3 min read

Watch: The cast of The Secret Garden talk to Yahoo about the film’s themes

First published in 1911, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s family friendly classic novel The Secret Garden returns to screens this week in a new updated version, set in the late 1940s.

And while both the book and the film are aimed at families, there’s a darker side to the story, one that actor Amir Wilson, who plays local boy Dickon, feels is relevant and important for today’s audiences.

“The story looks at the idea of loss and losing people and the mental health aspect of that,” he told Yahoo Movies UK. “I think families should normalise talking about these topics – about mental health and dealing with loss.”

Read more: How 2020's The Secret Garden differs from previous adaptations

When a spoilt young girl is sent to live with her uncle on his country estate after the death of both her parents, she uncovers a number of family secrets – most importantly a cousin shut away in a wing of the house, a mysterious hidden garden and a local boy who introduces her to the garden’s healing powers.

The film is set in 1940s England at Misselthwaite Manor, a remote country estate deep in the Yorkshire moors. (Sky Cinema)
The film is set in 1940s England at Misselthwaite Manor, a remote country estate deep in the Yorkshire moors. (Sky Cinema)

As well as the central character, Mary (Dixie Egerickx), having lost both her parents, her uncle Archibald Craven (Colin Firth) still mourns the death of his wife and, as a result, has become a recluse.

Egerickx, who started her screen career just four years ago in TV movie Churchill’s Secret, describes herself as ‘really lucky’ in landing the role of Mary. She beat around 800 other contenders to the part and was thrilled to be starring in a film version of a story she already knew.

Watch: A trailer for The Secret Garden

Her mother had introduced her to the book when she was about seven. “It was all the more gratifying when I got it because I love the story so much. I was pretty chuffed, and so was my Mum because she really liked the book too and wanted to see what a film version would look like.”

Seen earlier this year in Summerland and in 2018 in Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Stranger, she turns 15 on Halloween and has just completed an as yet unnamed Game Of Thrones prequel pilot.

The Secret Garden, a Sky original tells the story of Mary Lennox, a 10-year-old girl sent to live with her uncle Archibald Craven. (Sky Cinema)
The Secret Garden, a Sky original tells the story of Mary Lennox, a 10-year-old girl sent to live with her uncle Archibald Craven. (Sky Cinema)

Amir Wilson appeared earlier this year in the first season of Netflix’s A Letter For The King, although there’s no word yet if the series will be renewed. In the meantime, he’s set to return next month as Will Parry in Season Two of the BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, alongside Andrew Scott as his father and Dafne Keen as Lyra.

The Secret Garden is in cinemas and on Sky Cinema from 23 October.