16/04/08Interview With Patrick Stevenson
Viking life wasn't for everyone
Saturday, January 24th, 2009
Patrick Stevenson didn't have to invoke the spirit of a Norse god to feel in character as a Viking while filming The Outlander.
Enlarge Photo The Daily Gleaner/James West PhoFredericton native and actor Patrick Stevenson poses for a photo while holding up a print off of a screen shot from one of his movies The Outlanders Friday afternoon. The former Fredericton resident spent almost two hours every day getting ready to play one of the bearded warriors in the film, which is now playing in select Canadian cities. A date hasn't been set yet for the Fredericton premiere.
The movie was filmed in Halifax and Newfoundland.
"You looked in the mirror and you didn't really see yourself," Stevenson said of his costume.
But he felt the part when he was cloaked in six layers of clothes - including chainmail armour and leather - before being fitted with a wig and fake beard.
"Then you walked into a functioning Viking village or onto a Viking ship and all the extras were dressed the same. It was relatively easy.
"Everywhere you looked, you were immersed in it," said Stevenson, who was in town last week to celebrate the birthday of his mother Rhiannon Stevenson.
Patrick Stevenson said the film mixes the best elements of science fiction and period epics, with a love story to boot.
The movie features Passion of the Christ star James Caviezel in the lead role. Set in eighth-century Norway, the film puts a science fiction twist on a Vikings' odyssey.
The Outlander is Kainan, a traveller from another planet who finds himself on Earth after his spaceship crashes into the fjords.
The Vikings soon learn that Kainan wasn't the only one on the ship. Lurking out in the woods is another creature that was on the ship. Together, Kainan and the Vikings join forces to kill the creature.
Stevenson said he has yet to see the full movie, so he'll be queuing up to get his ticket, too.
"I think audiences will find it is quite an enjoyable experience."
Stevenson said he learned much about Viking culture and enjoyed the opportunity to experience it in a small way.
"There was definitely honour. Honour was No. 1 in those days."
So would Stevenson want to be a real Viking?
"Not a chance. It was - comparatively speaking - a bit of a brutal way of living," he said.
"Imagine the spray from the Atlantic Ocean washing over the side of your ship, and you're in chainmail and furs. I can't say I'd enjoy that," he said, taking a sip from his latte.
Central to the movie is the idea of inclusion.
"The story, in itself, is about accepting what's new as opposed to shutting it out," he said.
But he adds: "It's got a very interesting twist."
Stevenson said he's still looking for his next opportunity to come back to the Maritimes to make a film.
And he knows his colleagues are too.
"The Americans and the Brits said Maritimers were by far the friendliest people they have ever met."