A theater-trained Brit, Rupert Friend wanted to be so many different things growing up that he decided to become an actor so that he could just play them all. During the press day for the soon to be released The Young Victoria, the actor talked about having just made the film Georgia, about the recent conflict between Georgia and Russia, and helmed by director Renny Harlin, where he plays an American war correspondent who gets captured and accused of being a spy.
Of working with Harlin, he says that he really enjoyed the experience because, instead of the filmmaker’s usual tendency to use CGI, they were instead surrounded by real Apache helicopters, tanks and the Georgian military.
Check out what he had to say after the jump:
Question: Do you have any idea what you’ll be doing next?
Rupert: I’m starting rehearsals for a play on Monday, in the West End in London. It’s an American play, called “The Little Dog Laughed,” that was done on Broadway. We’re doing it in England.
As an actor, what do you get from performing in the theater that you don’t get from making films?
Rupert: I haven’t done theater for six years. I did three years of theater school and then I’ve exclusively done films. I’m going back to the stage because it was the most terrifying thing I could think of doing. It was literally the most terrifying thing for me, and it still is, so that’s why I have to do it.
Do you hope that it will be stimulating and scary?
Rupert: I hope it’s both, yeah. It’s a play about the dangers of greed and ambition and a thirst for fame, and those are things that I’m very frightened of. So, for me, it’s an exploration of the very dark side of this industry. It’s a side that I don’t want to personally become a part of, but through a character, I’m interested in exploring it.
Do you see yourself working in Hollywood someday?
Rupert: I don’t think the idea of working in Hollywood really exists anymore. I think you work in films, and where the film is shot is where it’s shot. The studio system doesn’t really exist. You make a film where it’s best to shoot it. You make a film like The Young Victoria in England, you make a film about Russia in Russia. I’ve just been in Georgia, making a picture there. Before that, I was in London doing a picture. Before that, I was in Canada. The actual town of Hollywood is what it is, and I would be happy to do a picture there, but it’s not the be all and end all.
What is Georgia about and who do you play in that?
Rupert: Georgia is a film about the conflict that Georgia had with Russia last August. I play an American war correspondent who gets word that something is kicking off, and he goes over with his camera man to cover it and witnesses a civilian execution by some militia men in a village, and he captures it on film. They get captured and accused of being spies. That’s the story.
How was it to work with Renny Harlin, as the director?
Rupert: He was really great. He was so keen to not use any CGI. We had the use of the Georgian military, so we had eight Apache helicopters, MiGs, tanks and troops. We evacuated an entire village and basically tried to recreate the effect the war had on the civilians of the country. And, Renny has a great desire to make a film that’s different to what he’s done in the past. He wanted to make a film that’s got a lot of heart, soul and intelligence. His first day of cutting the film is today, so I’m wishing him luck from afar. He’s a lovely man.