WonderCon Exclusive Interview: Henry Cavill & Luke Evans on Immortals

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Immortals offered its trailer premiere at WonderCon two weekends ago in San Francisco and, while the video still hasn’t been officially released, you can check out our coverage of the film’s panel by clicking here.

A super-stylized take on Greek mythology, Immortals is directed by Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall) and stars Henry Cavill as Theseus and features Stephen Dorff, Isabel Lucas, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans, Kellan Lutz, John Hurt and Mickey Rourke as men and Gods waging an epically scaled war.

Rounding our interviews with the cast and crew, ComingSoon.net spoke with leading men Cavill and Evans. Evans, who plays Zeus in the film, previously played a Greek God in Clash of the Titans but, in the interview below, stresses that this project is a completely different animal. Cavill, meanwhile, is going on to play Superman in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and discusses his take on a much older mythological figure. Check out the full interview below and be sure to read out previous conversations with Tarsem Singh and Isabel Lucas and with producer Mark Canton.

CS: When did you both first meet with Tarsem Singh and how quickly did you come aboard this project?
Henry Cavill:
I received a script that was very much in its infancy and worked from there. My agent said, “You’ve got to meet this director. You’ve got to, got to, got to.” I said, “Okay, fine. I’ll do it.” I went in and met with Tarsem and fell in love almost immediately. What a man. Infectious energy. He showed me all the concept art and walked me through his vision for the movie. He just blew me away. I walked out of that room really wanting to be a part of it. Tarsem, thankfully, liked me, too and we went straight to the screen test process. He ran me through his thoughts on the different ways to play a particular scene. Because the script was in its infancy, he needed someone that Tarsem could point and say, “Okay, go in this direction instead.” He tested me and, thankfully, I passed on that one. Over a year later, the movie started being made. It was pushed back quite a long way, but we got there in the end.

Luke Evans: My experience was different to Henry’s journey. I sort of knew of the script as long as Henry had known it. When it didn’t happen when it was supposed to happen, I just carried on to other things. When it was greenlit again, I spoke to Tarsem and we met up in LA. Like Henry said, when you meet Tarsem, as an actor you go, “Alright. I’ll do anything you want me to do.” He’s got this energy that is just contagious. He has an enthusiasm and a passion for what he does and I love what he’s done already. His work is unique and visionary and beautiful. When he believes in you, you start building a relationship with this man and being on set with him is just a really great gift.

Cavill: Yeah, it’s a wonder to work with him. Genuinely a wonder. You immediately feel comfortable and you feel like you’re a team. It doesn’t feel like you’re being told what to do or like you’re butting heads. Any idea from any side is considered and worked and adapted.

Evans: It’s a mutual respect, isn’t it, that you both have with him? It’s great to have that with a director. Especially on something as epically scaled as this because it’s very easy to get lost. You walk onto set and there’s hundreds of extras and enormous sets and lightning bolts and special effects. You can lose yourself. But he never allowed us to feel like we were out of our depth. He was always there, holding the reins.

Cavill: And he knew everything that was going on. As soon as you start to go, “Where am I here? What am I looking at here?”, he pulls out artwork. He pulls out 3D scale models. You’re there. He really, really takes care of you. As an actor, you can ask for nothing more.

Evans: He’s fearless.

CS: In speaking with producer Mark Canton, he described this film as “sword and sandals, minus the sandals”.
Cavill:
(laughs) Well, I was wearing sandals.

Evans: I was wearing, like, boxer-shoes.

CS: Well, is there a sense of updating the story for a specifically modern audience?
Evans:
When you take on a role that has been around for thousands of years, you always want it to be relatable to the people that watch it. My personal approach was to strip it bare. Forget that it’s a God. See the journey and the experience that Zeus has through the film and see him as a human being. You have to be able to relate to any role that you take on, whether it’s stage or screen or whatever. You’ve got to be able to relate and sympathize with their plight and their journey and their emotions. That was my challenge. It’s playing someone who is thousands of years old and who is usually played by a much older actor. I had to get that out of my head and believe that I could be a father to Isabel Lucas’ character. It’s a very interesting challenge. I’ll probably never do that again. It was great and it was enjoyable and it was always about keeping it real and forgetting that I could fly through lightning and streak through the sky and things like that. That’s all fair enough. Everyone knows those things. It’s about keeping this character human and letting people see the different sides to him. He’s dark and sad and loving and caring.

Cavill: The thing is, which we so often forget, is that things that are from mythology or history are the same, in a way. We tend to assume that they should all behave differently. They never behaved differently, other than speaking a different language. They’re very much like we are today. Bringing that into a modern audience, we have a concept of everyone being very stiff and moving in certain ways. People were just like we are today. They just spoke differently and they wore metal armor instead of a jacket or a blazer. If you play it like you play anything today — which is within the reality of that world — then I think it’s accurate as well as associable.

Evans: There was one difference, though. We were really fit.

Cavill: (laughs) Yeah. There was a lot of training involved.

Evans: A lot of six-packs floating around.

CS: Luke, This isn’t your first God. You were previously in “Clash of the Titans,” where you played Apollo.
Evans:
It’s completely different. That was very easy to disconnect. Also, I’m much more in this film. The Gods are very, very involved in this story. They don’t just float about in Mount Olympus. They are involved in the story and are integral to it, which is a very, very refreshing thing. It’s a very, very different story. I can’t stress that anymore. It’s a totally different telling of this legendary story.

CS: And Henry, how did this prepare you for Superman, which is sort of a modern day Greek hero?
Cavill:
Goodness. How did it prepare me? I guess the only preparation I can take from “Immortals” is acting experience and the very fact that I was in good physical shape, which is going to prepare me for getting into even better physical shape for this job.

CS: How intense was the training for this one?
Cavill:
Very intense. I trained for about six months before we even started shooting. I would do two hours before work on “The Tudors.” I would get up at four or three, drive to work, do two hours of training, do a day of work and then, after work, I’d do about three more hours a day, later pushed up to five. Then it was nine to five training for the last month and a half. Then we moved into Montreal with all the stuntmen. It was fantastic. Extremely difficult, but fantastic. It was wonderful to be doing it with a group of people because you’re helping each other. When you see one person flagging, you pick him up. You say, “Come on. Let’s go to the gym and let’s do something together.” You find a strength in yourself that you didn’t know you had.

Evans: Remember our cheat days when we were allowed to have steak and chips?
Cavill:
Oh, cheat days were amazing.

Evans: That was once a week. It was great.

CS: Did you guys do your cheat days together?
Evans:
Yeah, we’d just relish this dinner where we could have steak and chips and then white or red wine, too. It was really lovely.

CS: Luke, what’s next for you?
Evans:
I’m just finishing up an independent film called “Ashes” in the UK. Then I have “Amateur American” in August and another movie coming up in Bangkok after that.

CS: Was it a major difference acting for 3D?
Evans:
Well, “Three Musketeers” was shot in 3D with the “Avatar” technology. It’s slightly slower, but nothing major from the acting point of view. You just go and do your thing and there’s lots more cameras moving around.

Cavill: Yeah. If you’re too aware of what’s going on, you can’t focus and you can’t do your job properly.

Evans: There’s more crew. There’s always more gear, too, on a 3D set. But you’ve to just ignore it.

Immortals hits theaters on November 11th.