Armie Hammer

Armie Hammer was recently in Sydney to promote his new film, The Lone Ranger.  It was great to speak with him face-to-face (he is very, very tall) and talk about his background and the movie itself.  You can download the full audio by clicking here.

Matt:  Armie Hammer, welcome to Australia.

Armie:  Thank-you Matt, I appreciate it.

Matt:  Have you been here before?

Armie:  I have, yeah.  The first time I came I decided that I’m going to take a motorcycle and ride it across the Nullarbor so that’s still in my plans.

Matt:  I was trying to tell some non-film folk who you are and the best I could come up with is that you played the Winkelvii twins in The Social Network.  Their first response was – which one was he?  Do you get that a lot?  Do people still think you have an identical twin brother?

Armie:  Yeah, I do get it quite a bit.  Here in Australia I’ve been getting it more than anywhere else which is funny.  It’s never terrible to be known for your work, especially if it’s something that you’re proud of so yeah, it doesn’t hurt.

Matt:  The Social Network was your big foot in the door in Hollywood.  Have you found that things have really opened up for you since then?

Armie:  Yep.  I’ve been fortunate, I’ve been busy and I’ve been working pretty steadily.  It’s the dream goal of any actor out there.

Matt:  You’ve worked alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar and then Julia Roberts in Mirror Mirror.  You’re on a pretty good roll?

Armie:  It’s been fun.  I’ve been getting really good at riding people’s coattails. 

Matt:  Do you like reading a lot of scripts or is it something you generally leave to your agents to do and to filter?

Armie:  Yeah I do like to read scripts but obviously my agents vet out a few before they head my way.

Matt:  So let’s talk about The Lone Ranger.  Given the magnitude of the film, is it an easy decision to take on a role working with Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp.  But what does go through your mind?  Are there pros and cons you have to weigh up?

Armie:  There were other projects and I was actually talking about doing a project down here with an Australian director, Paul Curry.  It didn’t get up happening because of The Lone Ranger.  This film was one of those things where if they come calling, you have to drop everything else.  It’s like “wherever you need me, I’ll be there!”

Matt:  There have been so many sequels released in cinemas over the past two months that it’s nice to see a big blockbuster with some fresh characters but of course it is based on the radio show from the 30s and 40s and the TV show from the 50s?  Did you have to familiarise yourself with that?

Armie:  I did.  I figured there’d be a lot of people who grew up with the show.  I wanted to know it so we could pay respect to what we were doing and bring elements of that into what we’re doing now.

Matt:  Do you get lots of people trying to give you advice from the older generation who knew the series?

Armie:  Not necessarily advice but as an example, my wife and I have a bakery in Texas and whenever we’re there, people will come in and give me Lone Ranger pens and stamps and comic books and they’d say “I’ve had this since I was a kid and I want you to have it”.  It’s really cool and amazing. 

Matt:  And you’re working alongside Johnny Depp – one of the most bankable stars in the industry.  We’re used to him playing such quirky characters so what’s the real Johnny Depp like?

Armie:  Compared to his characters, he’s relatively boring.  He’s a normal, nice, great guy.  He’s smart, he’s creative, he’s a class-A dude.

Matt:  From what I’ve seen of the film so far, you look absolutely filthy.  The dusty clothes, the dirt beneath the finger nails, the mud on your face.  Does it take a lot of time in the make up chair to look that filthy?

Armie:  No.  We were all just putrid from camping in the desert for 8 months.  It’s a good thing you didn’t smell us while we were making the movie.

Matt:  8 months – that’s a long time for a shoot.  What took it so long?

Armie:  When you see the movie you’ll realise that a lot went into this.  We all worked really hard.

Matt:  Talk us through the stunts.  How do you decide how much you get to take on?  Do you get much of a say or are they trying to protect you so you don’t get injured?

Armie:  Everyone gets a say and mine was always “shit yeah, I wanna do it, let’s go” and everyone else would be “woah, woah, woah, let’s see if this is safe”.  Ultimately, what we’d show up and see the stunt.  Gore Verbinski would say to Jeremy, my stunt guy, “go jump off that train” and he’d do just that.  If Jeremy survived then they’d usually let me try it.

Matt:  So you actually go to jump off a train?

Armie:  Oh yeah.  We jumped off trains, we jumped into trains, we jumped off buildings onto moving horses.

Matt:  Superb.  Now the film doesn’t come out for another month.  Is there a lot of promotion you have to do?  Is there a lot of travel you have to do and a lot of cities to visit?

Armie:  Yeah.  We’re here in Sydney and I think we go back to America before heading off to Beijing, Tokyo, Moscow and then through Europe.

Matt:  I’ve heard we’ll be seeing you next in a remake of The Man from UNCLE with Tom Cruise.  What can you tell us about that?

Armie:  I can say that Tom Cruise is no longer on the project so we’re going to do it with Henry Cavill. 

Matt:  Well The Lone Ranger is the film we can see you in now so Armie, thanks for speaking with us this morning.

Armie:  No worries Matt.  Have a good one.