Armie Hammer Interview For Tarsem Singh’s ‘Mirror Mirror’
‘Mirror Mirror’ is a re-imagining of the classic “Snow White” fairy tale starring Oscar winner Julia Roberts as the Queen, Lily Collins (The Blind Side) as Snow White, Armie Hammer (The Social Network) as Prince Alcott, Sean Bean (The Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) as the King, and Nathan Lane (The Lion King, The Birdcage) as the Queen’s hapless and bungling servant, Brighton. An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright in a spirited adventure comedy filled with jealousy, romance and betrayal.
Director Tarsem Singh (Immortals) rewrites fairy tale history as a wicked enchantress (Julia Roberts) schemes and scrambles for control of a spirited orphan’s (Lily Collins) throne and the attention of a charming prince (Armie Hammer). When Snow White’s beauty wins the heart of the prince that she desperately pursues, the Queen banishes her to the forest, where a ravening man-eating beast hungrily awaits. Rescued by a band of diminutive highway robbers, Snow White grows into an indomitable young woman determined to take back her realm from the treacherous Queen. ‘Mirror Mirror’ is out now.
‘Mirror Mirror’ has its own twist on this enduring fairy tale….
Armie Hammer: Yeah. This Snow White story specifically, it’s different from the fairy tale, but it also has a lot of the same elements. You have the coming of age aspect, you have the finding your own sense of self worth….all of those things that were in Snow White, they’re here in ‘Mirror Mirror.’ But then there’s also a new take on it, where it’s the same story but processed through the mind of Tarsem Singh. It’s really a beautiful tale of finding courage, finding love, finding your place in this world. It’s really a cool story and it’s infused with some great humour.
Prince Alcott and Snow White have a sort of kindred spirit?
Armie Hammer: Definitely. The first time that the Prince sees Snow White, I think it was recognising a kindred spirit of someone who doesn’t quite know their place in the world, but knows that they should have a place, or is fighting for a place, but they haven’t quite earned it yet. I think they recognise a bit of that in each other.
The Queen gets more than she’s bargained for when she poisons you with “Puppy love”?
Armie Hammer: (Laughs) The Queen poisons me with “Puppy Love”, it’s a love potion that has gone awry, essentially. She thought, “Oh great, I’m going to give him a love potion and then he’s going to fall in love with me,” not, “Oh great, I’m going to give him a love potion and he’s going to roll around on the floor and scratch his back.” That was funny, I get turned into a giant puppy (laughs).
You get to really make a fool of himself as the Prince….
Armie Hammer: My agent was terrified! He was like, “You cannot be a dog! You cannot be a dog in a movie. What are you talking about? You’re not going to do this? We’re going to get that cut from the movie.” I was like, “Come on, relax. It’ll be fine.” It’s the kind of thing where I guess if you have to do it you might as well go for it or you just look stupid (laughs). It was fun. It was fun just to get to go to that place where it’s not like you’re doing a heavy drama where you have to show up on set in the right headspace and focused on your work. You’re making a movie where you’re play fighting and you’re playing with swords and dwarfs and giants and this and that. It was like a fun escape for the kids.
The Queen’s wedding doesn’t exactly go to plan for her either?
Armie Hammer: It’s a huge, lavish wedding, all the gentry are there. And then in the middle of the wedding, when we’re about to actually get into the ceremony, the wedding gets crashed by the seven dwarves and they rob everybody, leave them in their underwear, and kidnap me. So I’m back in the woods with these guys, still suffering from the potion.
Working on a film like this, I can imagine part of the joy is the training you get to do? With the horse riding training, sword training.…
Armie Hammer: Horseback riding, that was one of my favourite things that I got to do on this movie, along with the sword work, the sword-fighting training – which was so much fun! How many people can say, “If you put a sword in my hand, I actually know what I’m doing,” not many, so that’s kind of cool (laughs). But I really enjoyed riding the horses, which we done on a sound-stage. They full galloped around a sound-stage, which looks like a forest. They were huge, so we were told, “Start right on this path, don’t step over here or the horse will fall over. Don’t step over here, that’s ice over there, they’ll slip.” It felt like how I would imagine it to be riding a horse on the top of a mountain. That was a lot of fun.
How was it working with Julia Roberts?
Armie Hammer: I think if you’re intimidated by her it’s because you look at her and you think of everything that she’s done….all the movies, all the accolades, all the this and that, everything she’s earned which is great. She has earned them all, most definitely, but when you work with her she’s just professional. She’s sweet, she’s on it, she never didn’t know her lines, she always knew exactly how she wanted to stand and how she wanted to do this. She was specific about everything. It was like watching a professional who’s been doing something for a long time, but actively perfected what they were doing. She’s smart. They’ll put a lens on and she’ll go, “What size lens is that? Oh, OK, so I have to hold this up here instead of down there. Got it.” You’re like, “Wow, she really just knows everything.” It’s like she’s just paid attention since she’s been doing this.
Your own career has really gone from strength to strength in the last few years. Next up you’ve got ‘The Lone Ranger’ with Johnny Depp?
Armie Hammer: Yeah. Well, fortunately I’ve been so terrified by the work that I’ve had to do, like in terms of not messing up when I’m standing next to Johnny Depp, or not forgetting THIS, or doing a good job on THIS line, I’ve been so distracted by that I haven’t been able to get caught up in all of that. So, fortunately, I’ve just been motivated by, like, the fear of failure, to not be distracted and just focus on the work (laughs).
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