INTERVEW — Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje on “Thor: The Dark World”
We had the great pleasure of being able to interview Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who many will recognize from “Lost,” “Oz,” “The Mummy Returns,” “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” and “Faster,” with regards to his part in the upcoming film “Thor: The Dark World.”
Click the audio below, read the transcript, do both, do neither, but whatever you decide be sure to follow Adewale (We’re on a first name basis now 😉 ) on Twitter.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: Hi Dan. How’re you doing?
Dan: I’m doing fantastic. How are you doing?
AAA: Very good. Very good. In sunny London
Dan: You over there for the “Thor [The Dark World]” premiere?
AAA: I am yea yea. We just had it the other night
Dan: And how did that go?
AAA: it was great, I mean, for a number of reasons. Obviously, I’m British, so it was great to come home, and it was also, ya know, Thor, him being kind of a European phenomenon, is very well received here. There’s a lot of love and appreciation for him so it was really quite electric, the premiere. It was a great night.
Dan: Well that’s fantastic. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today, now let’s go ahead and get started here. You’ve chosen so many different kinds of roles throughout your career from, “Congo” to “Ace Ventura [When Nature Calls],” “Get Rich or Die Trying,” “Faster,” and even TV shows like “Oz” and “Lost.” What is it that draws your attention to certain projects like “GI Joe [Rise of Cobra]” and “Thor [The Dark World],” these bigger budget movies, what is it that makes you want to do something like that?
AAA: For me it’s normally quite straight forward. I look for two things: the story and my part within the story. If I like those two elements then it’s often an easy decision for me. Those are normally my guiding factors. Also, I think for me as an artist I like to challenge myself and my craft, and do things that will push me and develop me as an actor. As you said you know I’m currently doing “Annie” right now, which is more comedic and light hearted, and then you do something like “Get Rich or Die Trying” which is very dark, and is all that deception and murder. From the “Bourne Identity” when you play someone that’s a statesman who is much much older than I am. I think to me that’s the fun to being an actor. To be able to change yourself, like a chameleon, into these various characters and people, and that is what keeps me young and hungry within my profession.
Dan: It must be great to always be able to find new things to do, and different ways to challenge yourself
AAA: Yea it really is. To me, as I said, that is one of the exciting things of being an actor. The chance or the opportunity to disappear and become these various characters and people that are vastly different from each other, and vastly different from who I am.
Dan: Since we are in October here, which is of course the season for Horror films ,and you starred in one not too long ago, “The Thing,” what is your favorite Horror film or Horror franchise?
AAA: Oooo let’s see. My favorite Horror film…well obviously I was a big fan of “The Thing.” I’m more of thriller type, the intelligent horror. I like things that play on the mind as opposed to the gore aspect. I’m pretty old school. One of the films that stills resonates with me, ever since I was a child, I remember watching “Salem’s Lot,” but it really scared me. I can take it right back to “Dial ‘M’ for Murder.” From Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” those types of films, like the original “Carrie” and the original “Omen,” and “The Thing,” you know? These are thinking horror films, and really play on the mind, and the suspense. That was really one of the reasons I came on board of “The Thing,” because I was such a fan of the original.
Dan: What was it like for you pulling double duty in “Thor: The Dark World” where you play Algrim and Kurse? How did you have to change who you were for each role?
AAA: It was really a great experience. Again, as an actor you’re stretching yourself. Physically it was hugely challenging because Algrim, who I start off as in the movie, takes 3 hours to prepare in the makeup, and Kurse took an hour and a half to two hours, and often I would have to play both characters in the same day which was about 5 hours in makeup, and that was just to put it on, you still had to take 2-3 hours to take it off. It was truly a labor of love, but that’s part of the intrigue and the draw for me as an actor. It’s one thing to be a part of the Marvel world, because they do these types of movies so well, and you know it’s always going to be the very top of the line in terms of the effects, and the drama of these characters, and also the actors because in “Thor [The Dark World]” it’s very thespian so it was very exciting to be a part of that.
The language, because we had to develop this new Elf language for these aliens, funny enough we always see them as humans but they are aliens, and that was interesting because I love languages and the chance to make these character other-worldly, but in an authentic way, because often you see creatures or aliens and they always speak English. Would they not have their own language and values and norms that are real to them?
So it was nice to be able to convey that in this kind of genre movie so I was excited by that. Then the chance to appear in a way that I’ve never been before: Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes, Pointy Black Ears…a Dark Elf! (I loved how genuinely excited he sounded saying that) [Then] There’s Wendy Partridge who I’ve just worked with again on “Pompeii” who’s an amazing costume designer, and she came up with these brilliant outfits, and these characters. It’s just great.
Not only is it a childhood fascination and dream to play these kinds of characters, but as a actor you relish it. To play one in a Marvel world is great, but to be able to play two…I don’t think you can beat it. Look at Kurse, he is really an unstoppable force. What I tried to do with the director Alan Taylor is still maintain a certain level of Algrim’s personality in Kurse. Keeping the eyes blue was a significant decision, and he would still talk but it was almost painful for him because of his transformation, but you could still detect that Algrim was in there somewhere. The movements, I did a lot of mirror work with the outfit so that when I moved it was all in rhythm with what he looked like. It was a lot of fun to do that.
Dan: Thank You very much for your time. You’re a very hardworking person, and I appreciate you putting this time aside for us here.
AAA: Well thank you for doing the research. I really appreciate it. Thank you very much
Dan: Have a fantastic day