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Latest Cobham Hall School News
Nov 13, 2022
| A former pupil remembers the time she acted in a major chick flick film when film crews took over her school in the late 2000s. Danni Fautley was attending Cobham Hall School near Gravesend when it was transformed into the main location for Wild Child starring Emma Roberts, Alex Pettyfer, and the late Natasha Richardson. The 2008 production tells the story of Poppy Moore, a wealthy, spoiled teenager from California who is admitted to a boarding school in England, where she soon learns the true meaning of life and friendship. Danni, who is now a PE teacher at the school she attended herself, remembers being only 13 at the time she took part in filming, which took place over the summer holidays. Just like school, her mum would drop her off in the morning and pick her up in the evening after everything was done for the day. "Filming was really fun. We had to have all the hair and makeup and uniform," she said. "I remember the huge marquee where we'd all hang around when we weren't on set and play lots of Uno and eat really yummy grapes – that’s all I can really remember. Danni Fautley met actor Alex Pettyfer at the Wild Child premiere. Picture: Danni Fautley (60155272) "In terms of actually acting and being on set, it was just the case of going over and over the scenes. I remember quite a few of them in detail. "The first one I remember is when Poppy arrives at the school. So it needed to look like it had been raining, because it’s ‘rainy England’. So I remember they had these huge machines which wet all the roads to make it look wet because it wasn’t a rainy day, so I thought that was really interesting. "We watched her pull up about 10 times, maybe more. She kept pulling up, getting out of the car and doing that scene over and over. I wasn’t in the camera shot at that point, I was kind of walking around a corner somewhere. Danni now teaches at Cobham Hall. Picture: Danni Fautley "I also remember seeing her walking down the stairs, when she’s done all her uniform up to make it a little bit more jazzy. That again, just walking up and down the stairs for a long time whilst they filmed that scene. "I remember the scene in the dining hall where she does her prayer, which is different to the school prayer and that was actually really funny. Pretending to be a student in the dining room when she was doing that." Cobham Hall School was the set for Wild Child. Photo: Douglas Wright One of Danni's favourite parts, as any teenager would think so, was meeting the cast on and off set. She said: "Bumping into the actors in the corridors was quite fun. I loved the head girl, Harriet. I thought she was brilliant and she was actually really lovely in person as well. "Emma Roberts is tiny. So that was a bit of a shock as well. You don’t always tell how big people are on camera. So when we saw her in person, she was so, so small, it was really a big surprise. "I got to meet Alex Pettyfer outside of the set when I went to the movie premiere in London. I was about 14 by the time I went to that and it was really funny because it was a huge queue to get a photo with Alex but Emma Roberts was just kind of lurking in the background and it was quite sad. No one seemed as interested in her." As fun as filming Wild Child might have been, the 27-year-old said she is "mortified" watching herself. Cobham Hall's dining room. Picture: David Levenson "I was with my mum and I was mortified because it's really embarrassing, but it was funny," she said. "I recently had some of my colleagues find me in the movie and think it's really funny to print off pictures of me and stick them all around the staff room. It's a story that I laugh about now." Cobham Hall has been made a filming set for other productions, including BBC One drama series Bleak House and Junior Bake Off and it also features in the latest series of Netflix hit The Crown . But Wild Child was one of the few to use it as a school. Caroline Ward Vine, head of admissions and marketing, said: "Very often we see Cobham Hall as a location to something and it’s transformed and it doesn’t have that same resonance. But I’ve spoken to people who were totally surprised to go to the cinema and discover that it was the school that they knew that was there. So it created a great buzz and it continues to resonate around the world." Caroline also mentioned how the movie reflected the true ethos of the school, and how students from across the globe are attracted to Cobham Hall thanks to Wild Child. A few movie scenes were shot at the school's steps. Photo: David Levenson She said: "One of the things that I think comes through in the film, which is very reflective of Cobham Hall, is that kind of camaraderie and the friendliness and friendships that develop in the film, that does ring true. But the rather down to earth, a very caring sort of ethos that came through feels very apt and appropriate to Cobham Hall. "However, it’s off watching Wild Child because so many parts of the building are being re-purposed effectively. For example, right now I’m sitting in what to us is the old library, but to anyone who watches Wild Child would know as the headmistress’ office. So you see lots of parts of the building being used for purposes that you are not used to." Caroline added: "In some ways, the actual kind of depiction of boarding in the film isn't quite how it is. There’s a lot of communal living there, whereas in real life with our girls will share between just two in a room. The old library at Cobham Hall was used as the headmistress' office in Wild Child. Picture: Cobham Hall (60155241) "You don't have that kind of communal feel, which is fun for the film, but perhaps not quite so much fun for people who would be living it. "One of the things that's really fascinating is that the film still brings all sorts of students to us from all around the world. Very recently, I’ve had an inquiry from someone in the far east who just loves Wild Child and loves the idea of coming to school here. "Wild Child was particularly helpful in the fact that sort of ethos and the warmth of the movie really does reflect the place that we are."
Cobham Hall School Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Where is Cobham Hall School's headquarters?
Cobham Hall School's headquarters is located at Brewers Road, Kent.
What is Cobham Hall School's latest funding round?
Cobham Hall School's latest funding round is Merger.
Who are the investors of Cobham Hall School?
Investors of Cobham Hall School include Mill Hill School Foundation.
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