INTERVIEW WITH GARY OLDMAN & ASA BUTTERFIELD

This year is shaping up as a brilliant year for people that love space-orientated films. Of course we have the big blockbuster Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 heading into cinemas very soon but this has so far been a year when there have been plenty of films out there for those that like their space movies to be a little more serious.

We’ve already seen Life – a film which saw Jake Gyllenhall and Ryan Reynolds battling a space creature on the International Space Station in a film that was a seriously good suspense thriller and of course there was Passengers – a film which tested the audience’s moral stance as Chris Pratt decided to ‘wake’ Jennifer Laurence despite the fact it would ruin her life. Another film that crept into Australian cinemas with very little fanfare was director Peter Chelsom’s (Serendipity, Hector And The Search For Happiness) new film – A Space Between Us, a film that sees a human born on Mars travelling to Earth for the first time.

The star of the film is Asa Butterfield, an actor who is not a stranger to science fiction after his wonderful portrayal in Ender’s Game. As an actor Butterfield has also shown that he can handle seriously dramatic roles – something that he proved with brilliant performances in the Holocaust drama The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece Hugo. In The Space Between Us Butterfield has to mix his sci-fi knowledge with his dramatic acting experience and he does it wonderfully well.

In fact it was because the role was so challenging that he accepted the opportunity to play it in the first place. “Firstly I think Gardiner is an interesting character,” says Butterfield. “Whenever I read I script I always look out for originality and characters which will challenge me and will give me the option to do something completely different and this was exactly that, because he is so unexperienced in the real world and I thought it would be interesting to try and convey that kind of feeling. Gardiner has lived his whole life on this space station on Mars. Ever since he was born really so he has had a pretty limited experience of the outside world. Pretty much all he knows is what happens on Mars and the few snippets of information that he gathers through different things to find out about Earth, which is something that he loves and craves. His whole life revolves around this idea of one day getting to Earth.”

With such a dramatic move from Mars to Earth Butterfield says some of the challenges facing Gardiner are things you normally wouldn’t think of. “The first thing to affect him is the change in gravity,” he explains. “That causes difficulties for him with walking and running… just about doing anything really. But he eventually gets to used to that but then his whole experience with social interaction is so limited that he has no idea what to do in certain situations. He doesn’t know how to read social cues and doesn’t understand sarcasm, there are a lot of different things that actually come across as pretty funny in the film and they were really fun to play with. There is also a sense of belonging which I think we can all connect with as well – belonging somewhere and feeling like you are worth something. Gardiner doesn’t really feel that at the start of the film because nobody knows that he exists. In his own words – ‘how can he be indispensable if nobody knows that he is alive? And so his whole motive of finding somewhere where he belongs and feels safe is something that I think everybody needs and that everyone strives for.”

Butterfield says one of the other things he loved about working on The Space Between Us was that he got to work with Hollywood star-on-the-rise Britt Robertson and screen legend Gary Oldman. “Britt has been so much fun to work with,” he says. “I mean this whole story revolves around Gardiner and Tulsa’s relationship so Britt and I had a lot of fun. The way their relationship evolves throughout the film is kind of interesting because they balance each other out. Tulsa is this maniac kind of energy and Gardiner is much calmer. Gary was brilliant to work with – he is a really nice guy and he is a phenomenal actor as well so getting to work with him for a few weeks was a lot of fun. I think I’ve learnt a lot as well, I mean he is cool and he is really, really funny and he makes the whole mood on set feel really, really light and not too serious.”
Oldman, like Butterfield, says that what made him want to work on the film was the script. “Firstly it was a very good script,” he says thinking hard. “It was unusual and it had this great charm to it. It’s a family movie and I thought it was a great character and a great script and it was a chance for me to finally get to work with Peter Chesolm whom I have known for over twenty-five years.”

He says the challenge of playing such an intriguing character, like Nathaniel, also drew him to the film. “This man that has such as a single obsession and passion,” he says with passion himself. “He has this drive which I guess you could say is kind of loosely based on this kind of Richard Branson like businessman/scientist/entrepreneur. He fulfils this passion and this ambition only to then be thwarted and then presented with an even greater challenge which is the young boy – Gardiner. When we first see Nathaniel we wanted to see the youthfulness, the drive and the energy of someone that can run Genesis – that can literally come up with these ideas and then make the material up. So he wanted to see that drive and that passion and that enthusiasm. And then we have that bit where I step back from the company and years later you see that not only being outside, not only taking a backseat but also becoming more and more reclusive but he also has the strain of keeping that secret of Gardiner. It’s taken its toll on me and it is only when they start discussing about bringing him back that it reignites the fight in Nathaniel. When you see those interviews with Richard Branson you really do think that everything is possible… you can see it in their DNA – they are driven and they are unstoppable.”

If you missed The Space Between Us in the cinemas don’t worry you can pre-order it on DVD/Blu-Ray right now.

Written by David Griffiths

 

Interview with EMMA WATSON

Bringing a much loved animated film to life is no easy process. People are always going to be critical on whether or not the movie looks or feels the same way that the original did. That kind of criticism and speculation was always going to be ten-fold for Disney with Beauty And The Beast. The 1991 Disney animated version of the classic tale has become a much loved family film for nearly two generations now. When Disney announced that director Bill Condon would be bringing the story life in a real life fantasy film the big question seemed to be not whether or not it would work but who would play the character of Belle… after all she is one of Disney’s most important Princesses.

When that answered was delivered in a statement declaring that Emma Watson would play the lead role it actually seemed to quell some of the online banter. After all Watson herself is loved by families right around the world thanks to endearing role of Hermoine Grainger in the Harry Potter series of films. Still for Watson this was an epic role to take on… and that was something that certainly wasn’t lost on her.

“Beauty & The Beast when you think about it is really like four movies in one,” explain Watson. “It’s an action movie, we’re making a live action film, there’s a huge amount of stunts – there’s wolf fighting and horse-riding and you know guns and sword fights and all of that going on. It’s also a comedy – the comic timing of characters like Cogsworth and Lumiere and Mrs. Potts, it’s just hysterical in my opinion. Then on the other hand it is a romance, it’s a romantic drama… and then it’s a musical… and then there’s music just really added onto the top with dance and theatre really. So you need somebody at the helm of a movie like this that can really do all of those things and it takes someone quite special I think to get that all working really well and I think Bill has done a really good job with that.”

Of course having the characters from the animation, especially Belle, being just carbon copies in teh new film would have made the film quite boring for audiences so what differences did Watson see in her character from the animation to this film. “We wanted to make sure that we… we know that she loves reading, we know that she loves travel… but we also wanted to give her this element of being quite industrious and quite practical and very inventive,” she says proudly. “So in the animation Maurice is the inventor but in this film it is actually Belle that is really forging forward and innovating and coming up with new ways of doing things which I thought was interesting and was an idea that I loved. Belle also does some teaching in this film, not only does she love reading for herself but she actually loves sharing her love for books and she loves sharing the things that she finds special and interesting. And I loved that too… that she wants to share. And she also has a new song… it’s only a small, baby song. It’s a reprise so it’s only really a verse and a little bit of a chorus but it’s very beautiful and we expand a little bit on her past and we see really what is the story of Belle’s life before she goes to the castle and meets Beast which I think is a really lovely extra detail which we didn’t get from the original.”

Aside from a brief moment in Harry Potter Emma Watson isn’t known for her dancing and singing so was that something new that she had to approach to do Beauty And The Beast? “So I started rehearing the film in January and we started filming in March-April kind of times. I had a few months learning things, especially the waltz which for me I realised… I said this to Anthony when we were filming… that dance is the story of them falling in love and so it had to have so much communicated through it, not just as a dance but how two people interact and how that perception of each other changes and it is all wrapped up in this two or three minute moment and we wanted to communicate so much so I realised that I couldn’t just be a dancer and just know the dance steps perfectly, actually what was going to make the dance special was if I did what I’m good at… hopefully… acting. That was what was really going to bring it to life and tell the story. So it was a really special experience for me. I love to dance, I have always loved to dance, so getting to learn this specially choreographed dance between Beast and Belle was definitely a highlight. I think I was so focussed on doing what I had to do to support him (her co-star Dan Stevens) during that dance it really helped me because I couldn’t focus on how nervous I was. Both of us were just trying to work out the logistics of how do you do a three minute… you know… strictly come-dancingesque waltz routine with a Beast. I mean he is three heads taller than me.

“It was really challenging and I think we were so focussed on the challenge at hand it really did help carry us through. It was a very bonding experience. I actually think that I’m going to suggest that on all of my movies my romantic co-star has to learn to do a dance with me because there is just no better way to bond with someone.”
Of course you can’t talk about Belle and Beauty And The Beast without mentioning her dress. From the animated movie we have seen countless women over the years try to replicate Belle’s look and her famous yellow dress so what do audiences have in store for them with this rendition of the movie.

“In the end what we decided was the most important thing for this dress to do was that it had to dance beautifully,” says Watson. “We wanted the dress to feel like it could float. Like it could fly. Like it was the third, like almost the third person in that dance. And we started with a much heavier and more intricate, probable more historically accurate dress but we realised that it wasn’t telling the story that we wanted it to tell so we went with something much lighter made of chiffon and it does… it’s just perfect for that moment. We were really pleased with it in the end.”

 

Written by Dave Griffiths