If you’re a fan of this sort of movie, what can you expect?
Just to be submersed in a world with such imagination and extraordinary creatures that they’ve created, griffins and elves and so many races of different.... well, some aren’t people, so different races and cultures, it’s un-Earth like. It’s a little escapism.
Is it weird being on set with someone you know from hundreds of movies?
Yeah, but he’s such a great guy. I remember the table read, because the Orcs sound differently, and suddenly Clancy started doing this voice, and it was amazing. Duncan has said you threw yourself into doing the action moments, so what was your favorite thing to do?I love horses, so I liked that. I fell off, though, it was pretty embarrassing. I grew up riding horses, so I was pretty red-faced. It’s a long story, I’ll take the blame, I was just dumb, but the crew went pretty quiet... Turns out they were worried. About the horse!
Everyone seemed to love Clancy Brown...
He’s such a character. Shawshank Redemption is one of the best films, so...
I’ve heard karaoke happened a lot...
Yeah, but not even just there. People just loved to sing. Dominic loves to sing, Ruth loves to sing and dance, so it’s not that they had a microphone and everybody quieted down, they just sang. Dominic has a wealth of music knowledge too. They were all good people.
Did you guys hang around much behind the scenes?
We always ended up having a laugh after. You’re stuck in a shed in Vancouver, and we were all living in the city, so yeah...
How was it working with the rest of the cast?
A great cast, they made me laugh. Every single one, their characters are so different. Ben Foster, Dominic, he’s a great bloke... Ruth, Paula, it was entertaining.
Was your Vikings experience useful for getting into Lothar?
It’s different. You’re just an actor playing different roles. They’re all unique. The story’s certainly not the same in WARCRAFT, you get to spend your days with the beautiful Paula Patton.It’s not a tough job!
Did you enjoy working with Duncan?
It was great. On a film like this, you just need a director that is prepared. There’s so much where you don’t know what you’re looking at half the time, you’re not sure exactly what this setting means to the script, and every shot costs money so we can’t waste any, and Duncan was just so prepared. Some directors might have been lost and overwhelmed, but not Duncan. Without the work he did, none of us would’ve known what was going on. It’s one of those films where you have to have a vision, and he really produced that. And he’s such a nice guy. And it’s not even the budget thing, it’s creating a world that is not there. Some big budget films might be about cops or whatever, you’ve got downtowns to shoot at and real cars, but it takes a great imagination and foresight to see a film like this.
It must be nice to have something real, as opposed to just green screens and tennis balls…
The talent it takes for the production and the carpenters and set designers to do what they do. I wish the audience could realize, or could see, how much work they do and how creative and skilled they are. And just the effor that goes into it – we shot it a couple of years ago and the post-production stuff is incredible.
What was it like to work on set opposite guys in mocap gear and big effects?
It’s funny... It’s different. But it’s great that we can have actors there a lot of the time, which makes it a lot better for acting. But I’m just amazed how they turn that into these giant creatures. There was a lot of green screen but we were working in these four giant warehouses in Vancouver and they had these sets... One was a full forest, with these trees that were bloody 20 feet wide and other castle setups and sets. We were on draught horses, everything was just a little bit bigger, so it was pretty unique.
In the back of your head, are you worried that there are millions of people that love this game and you guys have to do justice to it?
Legendary is so respectful to the look of the game and the characters and all that stuff, but it’s a film for everyone. We can’t just entertain the gamers, though I’m sure they will be happy. There’s a great love story, there’s betrayals, there’s huge conflicts. It’s for everyone.
Did Rob manage to get you to play the game?
He didn’t live very close to me, but I’m sure he would’ve had it in his apartment. Even yesterday I was asking him questions, because we had to fill out some questionnaire and I needed to ask him what this stuff means. And he’s so excited, he’ll look at me and say, “well, it’s that, idiot...” “Come on dude, I haven’t played this for 10 years in my room...” It’s so intriguing how addictive the game can be: you hear stories of wives leaving their husbands because they won’t spend time with them. And vice versa, people who met over the game, playing each other. It feels like it takes over your life, and it’s the biggest game ever, they say.
How aware were you of the game?
I’d heard of it, but never played it. I’d seen pictures, and now I’ve watched people play, like Rob Kazinsky... I’d go and ask him how to say certain words or what are these World of WARCRAFT words? But Legendary is so respectful to the game, especially with the look of it and everything. The armor that we had to wear was so cumbersome, I’d have to go sideways through the doo. But visually, I think it looks fantastic. Some of the renders that I saw, with the Orcs and the definition on the faces was just unreal. You really see the human eyes behind them and really feel the emotion.
So when Duncan talked about the idea of the character, was there something you wanted to bring to him?
I just enjoyed the character – he’s the so-called hero, but he’s certainly flawed. I’d never want to play a character that’s not flawed. And it’s sort of good, because Lothar is very loyal and he’s honest about his duty to his king, but then a lot of the time at the expense of his family and personal relationships. And then when you disagree with all your heart with what the king says, there’s some conflict there, and it’s interesting.
Did you have to audition? Were there screen tests?
Well, I was still on Vikings, so I was working there and put myself on tape and sent it over. While the show was still shooting, I came over and met with them all and did some chemistry reads and they eventually gave me the job! You must have the best audition tape, because you had access to armor! Ha! No, I didn’t have any costumes, but I did sneak into a little hut set on Vikings, security let me film in there for a little while. So I did have a set.
What was it about this that made you want to be involved?
I’d never experienced the whole CGI/performance capture stuff, and it was a good experience. It’s different from the normal acting stuff, but Duncan’s such a great director and it was a good script, so why not? It looks fun.
And the film is not just clear cut, right?
No. Through the film there are some alliances with the Orcs as well, because there’s a good faction and an evil faction of the Orcs, and same with the humans. I like that the audience gets to pick sides, there’s plenty of people to choose from. And there’s more depth than the average fantasy adventure? Yeah, both sides are making huge sacrifices.
He’s serving Dominic Cooper’s King Llane?
Yeah! I love Dom. He makes me laugh so much.
Who is Lothar in the film?
Lothar is the commander of the human military. He’s in charge of the armies. The whole film is about these two races, the Orcs and the humans, who are fighting over the world for survival. This is the one habitable world that is left and there’s good and bad on both sides. I’m on the human side, and we think we’re the good guys. It really creates a world... It’s a fearful world in that film. Everybody’s trying to survive this conflict and you fear the Orcs because you don’t know them. But you realize there are great, soulful characters there too. It’s a real world that no-one has ever been in.
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