from Chud.com / by Devin Faraci
Did you know that Jamie Bell is really, really funny? He plays lots of dark, deep, often weird character, but unlike other ‘intense’ young actors, he’s got a great sense of humor and a terrific laugh. I was sort of taken aback by just how funny Bell was, and how light his demeanor was – when I sat in a press conference with him for King Kong he seemed to have much lower energy.
Mister Foe (known in the UK as Hallam Foe) is a fairly twisted coming of age tale from Young Adam director David Mackenzie. Bell stars as Foe, a troubled young man who runs away from his rich family’s estate to be a peeping tom and lovesick hotel employee. The object of his affection: the gorgeous Sophia Myles, also present at this roundtable interview.
Without further ado, the interview:
Jamie can you talk about your character’s great sense of makeup, and of costume?
Bell: Yeah. Apparently girls like guys in in eyeliner um, so, yeah.
Is it the script, or did you create it?
Bell: No, it was all the script. I mean I think it was–it’s his rebellious nature, I think. Especially when we first meet him, he’s someone who’s dealt with loss, the loss of his mother. He’s become a recluse; he’s introverted himself; he’s removed himself from his family life. I feel like it’s an extension of this rebellious, feral warrior, which I think he believes himself to be. That this young person, who’s dealt with loss, has found a way of dealing with it, which is, to become this strange feral creature. So I think that stuff is an extension of that feeling. Also, he’s just weird. He’s just a weird guy. [All Laugh] So if anything, the intelligent answer I think, is it’s an extension of that feeling of loss, and anger, and guilt and everything else, and it’s kind of tribal, the way he puts it on is very defiant. So I think it’s that.
He is weird, and he’s a little creepy sometimes too. So how as an actor, do you get that weirdness, and that creepiness across while also making it so that we’re willing to sit there and go on the journey.
Bell: Right, yeah, it’s tough. I mean ’cause I remember reading over the script, which I was sent because my agent was a massive fan of Dave Mackenzie. (He actually put another one of his clients in one of his early films.) And I remember when I got the script, and I got to, like, page 13, and I was like, “What? He’s called in some other prostitute; he’s angry; he’s looking at mother’s breasts feeding their babies; he’s making notes about it? He’s like interrupting people having sex, and it’s like, why do we like this person again? And I think, ultimately, what David managed to do, is inject this level of–as soon as you realize he’s lost something, as soon as you realize he’s lost his parents, I think you can’t help but sympathize for this person. I feel like for any young person, I think especially a male, losing their mother at that age, I think it’s probably quite heart-breaking. And at that age, you hold a lot in here, and it all builds and builds and builds and as I said he holds so much anger, and so much guilt, such remorse about it that I feel like you can’t help sympathizing when you see that and when that’s explained to you. You kind of accept everything else as part of the extension of that.
Well, it’s kind of lucky that he makes the connection with your character, who’s also damaged, and also has a lot of baggage going into this. I think it kind of helps bring his character along, almost in his maturity, to find someone who’s willing to even put in the time to work on him I guess you can say. Can you talk about what it was like doing a role like this which was very personal and very roller coaster.
Myles: Yeah. I think what’s great is that these characters–I think they find in each other a kind of life raft. And then, Katie confesses that she likes creepy guys, so he’s perfect. [SM and JB Laugh] I was really interested when I read the script and saw a girl my age, or my then age, who worked a 9:00-5:00 office job in the city, and I thought it was very truthfully written. And I like the fact that she’s interesting because on the surface she’s able to project an air of complete confidence, professionalism, calm, poise, but in fact we see through Hallam’s eyes, when he’s…stalking her, that actually there’s a very damaged soul behind closed doors. And I think I like that because I think as human beings we– especially us actors–this is what we do for a living. We put masks on and pretend to be other people. And I thought it was interesting to play somebody that had elements of both light and dark that were explored. And also in film, I haven’t seen for a long time the relationship of an older girl with a younger guy explored in movies, it’s usually the other way around. And as soon as I heard that he was the lead in this film, I wanted to do it.
Bell: Thanks love. [Laugh]
Myles: Yeah. [More Laughing]
That’s an interesting point. you two have some really really great scenes in this film