Here goes the second part of Benedict’s interview :
Q : So what did you do?
A : So i called my best friend, whose son is my godson, and asked him for help. He said “Okay, just come by..”, so I went back to London and arrived at 10 pm, and we worked on it in his kitchen for 3 hours for 2 takes. And his kids were sleeping on the back. I was in his kitchen, using a table lamp as a spotlight on the right level, which meant that I had to crouch and recorded these scenes. I didn’t have the finished script, but JJ had told me of the storyline. My friend’s wife (a set designer) had to balance the camera in between two chairs to get the right angle, but we did manage to get something….then we needed another day just to get the file ready (laughs). I sent my best (audition) to JJ.
Q : Had you managed to meet JJ Abrams then?
A : Not yet. Damon (Lindelof, writer and producer of STID) was the one who watched Sherlock and told JJ that he thought I was perfect for this role.
Q : What made you interested in this Star Trek sequel?
A : Because of the first installment, which I thought was incredible. I wasn’t a hard-core fan of Star Trek, so I went into this project like JJ, because he also wasn’t a hard-core fan of Trek. I enjoyed the first film, and had seen a couple of his TV shows and films. But I did see JJ’s first Star Trek, which was the origin story, and I was enthusiastic, especially for someone not obsessed with Kirk, Spock, Scotty and the others. That film was so cool and I thought Eric Bana (who played Nero in 2009’s Star Trek) was brilliant and hard to recognize in that role. He was amazing and impressive. For me, it was a tough job to follow his footsteps. I’m very flattered to be offered to be the next Star Trek villain…
Q : You seem to really like the 2009’s Star Trek…
A : I thought that there were a lot of humor, action and great story there, and every characters are three-dimensional. I was crying in the first five minutes, and 10 minutes later I was laughing so hard. Chris (Pine) was truly mesmerizing as Kirk. The script, the entertainment and especially the great acting and how JJ reshaped the idea of this franchise worked. That’s why I was so interested. When they asked me to audition, my agent’s jaw dropped to the ground and was as enthusiastic as a kid in a candy store. (My agent) said, “you have to record it, now!" So I did the audition then. Approximately 5 days later, JJ sent an email that said "do you want to come here and play?" I didn’t even have to think of the answer! Only then did I get the full script, but I had already trusted JJ’s tastes from the first film, so he only had to explain to me what he had planned for the second film.
Q : Your character, John Harrison, is very mysterious. So what can you say right now about him?
A : He’s a terrorist, not just an ordinary villain. He truly calculated his moves and is very smart. But he’s also a strong warrior, whether in hand-to-hand combat or through weaponry. We did work with fantastic fight choreographer, and I enjoyed that immensely. But even when he didn’t have to use his physical side, he’s still very dangerous.
Q : Is he motivated by politics?
A : In the context of the film, very much so. He’s fighting for a specific political ideology.
Q : So, can he be called a freedom fighter and not just a terrorist?
A : I think so.
Q : You said something about fight choreography. What kind of preparation that you had to do?
A : I consumed 4000 calories a day for a month and a half. Before then, I had to eat 5 times a day and that was probably enough, but in the last month and a half all of it had to be increased for a scene…that might be cut (laughs).
Q : Why?
A : I can’t say why now. But it was for a scene where my physical ability is shown. Unfortunately it might get cut because it didn’t fit the final editing. My trainer and I were heartbroken! (laughs). I really worked my ass off, literally, until I truly shaped my ass. Not that I had a big one, but it had to be firm. My chest size went from 38 to 42 inches in a month. And I liked all of it! (laughs).
End of part 2. Part 3 coming up!