Spooks star heads into the field with brand new dramaBeing a massive Spooks fan, I imagine it's massively exciting going in to do that sort of job every day?
Richard Armitage Talks Strike BackОпубликовано: screenrush.co.uk
Автор: Emily Phillips
Дата: 29 апреля
Yeah, we love it. I mean it's really nice to come on to the grid as well, because it's the day when all of the characters sort of come together. Most of the time you're off on location and you're off on your own, so this is the time when we come together and have a bit of a laugh - even though it's quite serious too. I really like it.How do you guys go from joking around to going back to being very po-faced?
Well in a way that's sort of how you deal with it, because otherwise you would go crazy. And I'm sure these people that do this [MI5] job must have a very warped sense of humour in order to get through the job. I think it's quite a dangerous thing for a scriptwriter to write. I think the truth is, when we were talking to the SAS guys, and they had a very strange sense of humour in regards to sort of disaster and tragedy. And I think you just have to.How was it going from being a field agent in the UK to then going and being this sort of soldier getting back into his uniform for Strike Back?
It was great, it was a really nice contrast, even though I was discussing quite a lot today the characters, you know working in field is the same industry. They are almost a negative black and white detail of each other. Lucas is this proper soldier, whereas John is this slightly unrestrainable weapon that gets right out there and does it, and it's really nice to play the other side of it. In Strike Back, we have 'Section 20' which is London's MI6 branch so it feels like a very natural progression for me from MI5 now into MI6, to sort of go into John who is right out there, deep in Afghanistan and Iraq and Zimbabwe and really explore the long arm of MI6 so it was satisfying.You must have been really training up for this - tell me about the gruelling schedule you guys had to work through to maintain that physicality?
I worked with a trainer in the UK for about 10 weeks and when I got to South Africa I worked with a South African trainer. Obviously Johannesburg is at a much higher altitude than we're used to and I had to be there for about 10 days before I started working at that level. What I was trying to do was to try and create a physique that looked like it happened through working in the SAS rather than working out in a gym. And I also I tried to find the stamina to try and get me through the series - I like to do my own stunts and fights if I can. And I needed to strengthen my body and get my stamina going so I didn't injure myself in every fight we did. That was quite tricky. And then when we were over there we worked with three ex-SAS people, blokes who gave us our weapon and tactical training, and they worked with us all the way through the series. It was as comprehensive as it was able to be. Then we just had to tell the story dramatically as well.And did you tap up your SAS trainers for stories of their own careers?
Yeah that was invaluable. You know there are three different people with three different view points and all of them have a rule book, well not literally a rule book of standard operating procedures, but all of them would differ in their approach and that comes from experience being in the field so we were picking up as much as we could off of them.Is that something you ever thought about it, a dream of working in that field?
No never, I couldn't be further away from that! I'm the guy that's off painting and playing the cello. That's probably why it is kind of satisfying to do. It's a life I never would have chosen and will never choose, so that's why it's interesting to play the chraracter, because it's quite far from my own aspirations.We find John at a point after he has been dishonourably charged from service because of a moral decision made during a raid. How did you feel taking on a character that's really in an unhappy stage of his life?
It was the same distraction as the character, is watching how somebody is pretty much at the top of his field and making a decision in a very extreme moment because he felt it was right, and that decision has kind of tumbled out effect on the rest of his career. So I think a man who goes in search for atonement of that decision, still believing he made the right decision despite the death of three of his friends, it's kind of an interesting premise for a character which had nothing to do with military or war. You know you can apply that theory to anybody really, and that's why, to me, the fact that this was a military piece was secondary to a man searching for a penitence, for a the meaning of life, because he believes he did the right thing but life is taking things away from him, which suggests he made the wrong decision so that was really fascinating for me.Have you ever had a period in your life, as an actor, when you thought you weren't going to make it and thought what's the secondary choice now?
Well yeah I did and still do! It's interesting because I come to life when I'm in an acting job, and that's a scary thing to have happen to you, because you think, 'well if not's working as an actor then I have to die'. When you talk to any kind of artist who isn't fulfilling their art, you do kill a little bit of yourself every time you're not doing it. It is a bit of a fear; you are living slightly outside of yourself, so I was applying that to John when I was playing him. And interestingly enough, when he was out of the army and dressed as a civilian I had never really felt comfortable in the character. And it took me a while to realize it was because that character wasn't comfortable in that environment.He's just a soldier through and through and he just can't get out of that mindset...
He's pretty out there, in the thick of it, doing what he does best.And how did you get a gap in your schedule from Spooks?
Well I think we were about there for about 20 weeks, maybe slightly less, like 16 weeks. But this was the difficult bit, because I tried to get a bit of a gap but I literally finished Spooks on a Saturday and I flew to Africa Sunday and we started work on the Monday morning. It was just bad timing. But I think when you're working on an energy, you're already sprinting. I think I came on to Strike Back, I sort of burst in through the door and was like, right when do we start?I suppose normal people go through a bit more of a 9 to 5 than with this job!
It is true, I wish I could kind of put it down at 5 o' clock, but I think the working day would begin at 6 and finish at 8 and then I would go to the gym for two hours afterwards and then go to sleep, sort of doing what the character was doing so I could not shake him off after 16 to 20 weeks. And even now, I still have little kind of waves of John coming in and out, but I don't see it as work. I mean it's physically gruelling and you're knackered, but when you live for that it's a very strange situation because you live for that exhaustion. It's great it's really nice.Are you a bit of a method man when it comes to acting? Do you like to really get into that character and live like that character?
Yeah, I suppose I am. In a way it's slightly lazy because it means you don't have to pretend - you just have to believe. As much as it's possible to be like that I suppose I kind of do step in and out, I'm not one of these people that can't talk to other people because I'm in my character, but I kind of do stay with the character, yeah. He's always there. It's like marinating something - you're sitting in a marinade the whole time.I know you're working on Spooks now but what are you working on after that?
I'm not sure, I kind of have a project at the moment which is possibly Richard the third, but it's very early stages we're just sort of playing around with format and script at the moment so it's way off. Next year I might be doing a play which will be a restoration comedy hopefully, and then I may get to go back and explore this show again.Do you sort of make a project and want to leave it behind or do you think, if this got a second series I would be so happy?
I tend to make that decision. You know when I see a script, I say I only want to do this once and no more. And then once you've done it, you actually want to do it again, I want to see what else is there.You just want to go back to South Africa don't you?
Well yeah that was great. It was a brilliant part of the job because you don't have to imagine anything it was all there. But I am sort of itching to get under the skin of John again because I think there are loads more stories to tell and very exciting.Are you a big sort of current affairs man? Do you read the papers avidly?
Yeah I do, I mean my eye is sort of drawn to certain things. I kind of did quite a lot of reading up about the Mohammed situation, you know the guy that MI5 were asking questions about Americans and collusion. And now at the moment the general election is sort of all there. But yeah I do. When I was out in South Africa, we were doing an episode in Zimbabwe so I did pick up quite a lot of literature about Mugabe. But to be honest it is really just dipping my toe in the water and getting a taste for it. But Spooks is interesting because it sort of narrows what's happening and sometimes its kind of predictive.