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Aberdeenshire actor on magic of becoming wizard in new Disney+ show The Quest

harry aspinwall the quest
Photo credit: Disney+ (all photos)

Harry Aspinwall – who grew up in Aberdeenshire – stars in The Quest – the brand new immersive, hybrid competition series that just premiered on Disney+.

Brought to the screen by the Academy Award and Emmy-winning teams behind The Lord Of The Rings and Queer Eye, The Quest drops eight real-life teenagers (Paladins) into the fictional world of Everealm, where they are tasked with saving the Kingdom of Sanctum by fulfilling an ancient prophecy.

Along the way, the teenagers meet fictional Everealm characters, one of whom is played by the north-east actor.

“The Quest is a combination of a real-life competition show and scripted fantasy – I think it’s really unique,” said Harry.

“I’m such a big fan of fantasy films like Lord Of The Rings, so it was so cool to get casted in a new fantasy world and to be a powerful magical character in it.

“It was really like living in a fantasy world for five weeks – it was so much fun and I hope it’s reflected in people’s viewing experiences.”

Harry (left) with the show’s contestants.

You’re a wizard, Harry

Harry, who lived in the Fettercairn area before he moved to America when he was 16, portrays Dravus – a wizard from the Kingdom of Sanctum.

The actor, who currently lives in Rhode Island, said: “The Kingdom has recently fallen because of an evil sorceress, so Dravus has fled into exile to the nearby Kingdom of Oraa.

“He’s got all these secret plots that he’s working on…”

While the character is scripted, Harry must have improvised a lot due to the reality/ competition concept of the show.

“That was something very new and it was a cool part of the audition process as well,” revealed Harry.

“It all took place during the height of Covid-19, so the auditions were all online.

“The first part was a pre-recorded video audition with a script, and then the second round was improvised – over Zoom.

Harry Aspinwall as Dravus in The Quest. Don’t miss the show on Disney+.

Scripted scene and a lot of improv

“I had to be in character and answer all sorts of questions as Dravus, which was really fun, but we had to do it without really knowing anything about the (Everealm) world so we were just making things up.

“During filming, there were some scripted scenes but when we were interacting with the Paladins (the contestants), we only got to do it once. And whatever they threw at us, we had to roll with it. It was a really interesting challenge.”

But it wasn’t the first time Harry had to stay in character while answering the public’s questions. Surprisingly, his experience as a historical tour guide came in really handy.

“I’m used to answering very random questions from the general public about the history,” said Harry.

“It really reminded me of the experiences when I was a historical tour guide in Boston.”

Harry worked for Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum – a floating history museum with live reenactments – as well as The Freedom Trail which connects 16 nationally significant historic sites in Boston.

The Quest drops eight real-life teenagers (Paladins) into the fantastic, fictional world of Everealm.

Californian vineyard turned into magical world of Everealm

The Disney+ budget and stunning special effects are a huge part of the show – and Harry, who is going to watch the show with his friends tonight, cannot wait to see how it all came together.

“It was so funny being on set as a wizard and doing magic – it was all completely pretend, obviously, but there was this concentration on our faces, we would throw our hands out and pretend the magic was there,” laughed Harry.

“But obviously, there was nothing there and we were just kind of yelling into the empty space so I’m really excited to see the actual magic in the show and for it to look very legit.”

The show was filmed at Castello di Amorosa – a 13th-century–style winery – which is in Calistoga in California.

Harry said: “We were filming in the early spring of last year for five weeks in a wine country. It was really really beautiful.”

The 2022 show is a reboot of The Quest which aired on ABC in 2014 and where 12 adults were dropped into a fantasy world.

“The producers actually didn’t want us to watch the original show before we shot this reboot/ second season because they didn’t want us to be influenced by it,” said Harry when asked if he was encouraged to watch the 2014 show.

“But I’ve been in contact with a lot of people who were in it. I randomly met one of the contestants when I was in England. It sounded like it was a big formative part of his life and it’s cool knowing that we’re part of something that has such a deep effect on people.

“The Quest has a very active fanbase community online.

“It’s been really cool hearing their reaction and excitement and seeing how much it means to them.”

Harry’s next quest

After wrapping the Disney+ show, Harry and his friend shot a horror feature film.

The actor added: “I’m also writing another screenplay with a friend of mine. We actually want to come back and shoot it in Scotland. It would be a historical horror film that I want to shoot in Glenesk (near where he grew up).

“I would love to have the chance to get back to UK – especially Scotland – and work more there.”

How to watch The Quest starring Harry Aspinwall

All episodes of The Quest are now available to watch on Disney+.

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