EDWARD SPELEERS - star of ERAGON

Interview by Mark Walters

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.


ED: 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!

ED: 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?

ED: 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 special effects

 ED: 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 next one?

ED: 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?

ED: 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?

ED: 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?

ED: 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.

 

Find out more about ERAGON by clicking HERE.


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