16/04/08Jack Huston Q&A

Source: Momentum Pictures

What drew you to the film?

Jack: It's every boy's dream, playing a Viking. It's kind of fun and I like the arc of my character, Wulfric; I like being the antihero who turns out to a noble, good guy at the end. And then I loved the idea of science fiction meets Vikings. It's an original idea, and that's the point of making movies - the suspension of disbelief. I like the fact that it's never been done before. From what I've heard, the criticisms of the movie have mostly been people saying, "I don't get how they can do science fiction with Vikings." But isn't that what movies are about? That's why you put them together, that's why you do it. You get to play, you get to have fun, you get to make stuff up. So I thought that was cool.

An easy sell then!

Jack:The people involved was also a big bonus, and, luckily, before we'd started the movie they'd done a year's pre-production, with people like Barrie M Osbourne and the whole team from Lord Of The Rings working on it, so they'd done storyboards and they'd put together a sort of animated taster...

So what were the best part of shooting the film?

Jack: The horse riding was awesome. There were a lot of horses, and Danny Virtue's an awesome horse wrangler. You get to play with swords and then you get to ride a horse for three hours. I've been around horses all my life but these horses were amazing. There was one that would hit its mark, gallop at you and stop directly in front of your face, rear up on command...

And you worked with John Hurt!

Jack: John Hurt! When I heard John Hurt was in it I was like, "Are you kidding? I'll do anything!" Just wonderful. Just the coolest. He commands any room. He put me up. When I was moving house, he put me up while he was doing Indiana Jones, because they gave him this amazing house. I lived in his outhouse for a couple of months. He's just one of the greats. So many good people! Totally chilled and relaxed, having a good time. (Sighs) Lovely dinners every night...

But it was hard work though, right?

Jack: Boy. We were doing night shoots where we kept going till sunrise. And in the waterfall scene I was wearing leather. Leather and water. Leather and water! It's just a bad combination, it's heavy, and there's all this stuff in your face. But in the end you kind of dig it, because every now and then you walk over to the monitor and watch a playback and think, "Wow, that's really cool." It's all worth it.

How did you break your shoulder?

Jack: It was 4.30-5 in the morning, and I'd been doing a fight scene. The ground was muddy but it was minus-18 that night and I was wearing nothing. I'd also been wet down because I'd just come out of a tank of water. So I was wet, minus-18, and I was meant to flip under the Moorwen with my sword and slice its leg. I'd done it on a mat a couple of times, and then they said, "Right, are you OK to do it without the mat?" I said, "OK, I'll do it." So I ran, and I took this flip, and when I hit the ground my shoulder broke instantly. I got up and I carried on with the scene, still holding the sword, and you'll notice, in the film, that I'm standing completely, rigidly still. They called, "Cut!" and I went, "Guys... I think I've broken my shoulder..." They were like, "No, you haven't." I was like, "Seriously, I think I've broken my shoulder..." They were like, "Nah." I took my top off and my shoulder was like a balloon. I had to go to hospital, and I was there for hours. They had to postpone filming certain bits, we had to do things with a rubber sword, because I couldn't hold it properly. But I battled through because I wanted to do it. I wanted to do all the stunts.

So you definitely did your own stunts then?

Jack: We did everything ourselves. Because it's much more authentic when you do it yourself, when the audience can actually see your face.

When you realised how bad it was, did you panic?

Jack: Totally, man! I had that freak-out: "Oh my God, I don't know what to do, I don't know what I'm gonna do... I might not be able to use this arm, they might have to close down filming..." But that's the funny thing about filmmaking - they find a way around everything. You can sort of get away with it.

What does the film actually mean to you? Jim Caviezel has said that he thinks it's about "universal truths"...

Jack: I suppose for Jim's character it's about redemption - about doing something wrong and making up for it.

Howard McCain, the director has an idea that in the whole cycle of violence, everybody is culpable...

Jack: We are, we are. We're all accountable for our sins. (Pauses) I sound like Jim! (Laughs) "We are all accountable for our sins!"

Is Jim a very intense person?

Jack: He's very dedicated. He works his fucking ass off and does a lot of push-ups. He'd get up in the morning, run for two hours and work out and then he'd work all day... And he's funny - he's got a good sense of humour. What I like about Jim is that he's interested. He likes to talk about things, he likes to talk things out. And I think that's an endearing quality about someone. I mean, the one thing in life is to stay interested. Isn't it?