SPELEERS - star of ERAGON
The new fantasy movie ERAGON
is based on the popular children's book by author Christopher Paolini.
The studio needed to choose their leading actor carefully, as the whole film
hinges on that character's performance. After a casting was held, in
which it was rumored 180,000 actors were seen, the choice was made to hire
newcomer Edward Speleers. I had the opportunity to sit down with Ed, who
I found to be extremely pleasant and easy to talk to. The following
excepts are taken from that interview.
I haven't seen the final cut. I've just seen some large chunks.
It's definitely coming together. Once everything's added in, once the
mix and the score and final visual effects, it's definitely going to be
something worth waiting for.
MARK: So I read 180,000
tested for this role, and you got it!
Yeah I keep hearing that suspicious rumor, I don't honestly believe there's
been 180,000 people. I think I've only been better than two people in my
whole life. To me it's just a number. If it had been just be
having the audition and I got the part... fine. If it had been 10
people, or 100,000 people, it doesn't bother me. At the end of the day,
it's just a number.
MARK: How did you first
hear about it?
I was minding my own business at school, and I'd read the book. And my
drama teacher came up to me, because there was this casting director who had
thought of me for NARNIA and had thought of me for young Hannibal, and
he said "Look, there's this opportunity coming up, they think you're gonna be
perfect for it. Do you want to give it a shot." And I thought
"Yeah, okay, whatever." Typical schoolboy stuff. And I went along,
met the director Stefen, met Wyck Godfrey the producer, and the casting
director. And there was some kind of vibe that came out of the audition.
It wasn't like "You've got the part." or anything. But you know when
you're looking and you've got eye contact, and there's a warmth, there's a
feeling there. I could see something, but I didn't expect it to all
happen over the next 10 days. I went away for a bit, then went in for a
second audition, and that went quite well. I was playing Hamlet in
school, night after night of doing that, and then finally I get the phone call
saying... with about 10 days, saying "You've got the part." I found out,
casually walked out to the common room of my boarding house and that's when I
really hit home and just started jumping around... almost naked. I've
been on the same euphoric high since then. Exciting times. The
lines are a little bit trickier in Hamlet. But it's a completely
different experience to me. It sounds corny, it sounds cheesy, but I've
always wanted to be an actor and I've always wanted to make movies. And
to taken from basically doing nothing professional, having done nothing
professionally, to go off and make this big picture with Jeremy Irons and
Robert Carlyle... it's an amazing experience for me.
Ed talks about working with
I think it's going to have to be introduced into drama school. You'll go
in one day, you will have done your Shakespeare the day before, and then the
following day they put a big blue screen on the stage. It's definitely
something to be done. Cause I started off looking at this orange tennis
ball. Stefen would say "Alright, this is Sephira, and in this scene
you're telling the dragon off, so you need to look at the tennis ball." and I
was like "Sorry? That tennis ball is the dragon... okay." Weird.
But eventually I just thought I'll get over this, and I've got to create my
own image of Sephira. I'm working with this thing for 5 months. So
I did, I let my imagination do the work. I started to think "Well I
think the dragon would talk to me like this and move like that." I just
let my imagination go with it. And I think that hopefully helps the
performance. If I literally just thought of that tennis ball every day
it would've been a nightmare to do.
MARK: How long are they
thinking about waiting after this one before they consider trying to do the
I don't know. Well obviously, myself, as much as I love playing the
role, I want to do some other things before ELDEST comes into play, because I
don't want to get branded into just playing Eragon for the rest of my life.
My guess would be, provided on how well we do, end of next year I suppose... I
would guess, but I have no indication.
MARK: Are you reading
for a lot of other things right now?
I've been reading a lot of scripts recently. Over the last year, because
I keep being pulled in to do some more work for ERAGON, the things I
get close to wanting to take on clash with me having to go back to work for
Fox. So I haven't been able to do much of what I wanted to do yet, but
I'm reading lots of material, and meeting with lots of producers.
January will be the time for me to go out there and push my face about, try
and flex my acting muscles.
MARK: I know you're
still pretty young, but as an actor what do you think is your dream job... or
have you already done it?
I've done a pretty good job for the first time, I mean what a gift that was to
have that job given to me for my first time. I don't know if there's any
specific job I want to do next time, I mean it literally has to be a case of
exciting script. It's got to take me away from ERAGON. It's got to
entice me and show different acting skills. Doesn't matter if I play a
monk or a heroine addict, as long as it's something that's going to make me
show that I can act a bit.
MARK: How do you feel
about the idea of maybe doing some Shakespeare on the big screen?
Yeah... oh, on the big screen? Uh... don't know if Will Shakespeare
would be too happy with me doing that. No, I'd love to, I actually want
to get back on the stage anyway. I'd love to do some Shakespeare,
Screen or stage, anywhere.
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