In Immortals, Luke Evans plays Zeus, an "upgrade," he tells us, from his minor role as the Greek god's son Apollo in 'Clash of the Titans.' As a younger, hotter (and scantily clad) Zeus, Evans might not have a great line like Liam Neeson's "Release the kraken!" but he does get to literally crack the whip in Mount Olympus. 'Immortals' co-star Mickey Rourke sings his praises, saying, "A very great actor. He's going to have a monster career." (Rourke potentially wants to cast him in his movie about Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas, but Evans, who'll next be seen in 'The Raven' opposite John Cusack, currently has his dance card full making 'The Hobbit' in New Zealand.)
Did you have any qualms about doing another epic mythology film?
There was a slight hesitation when I first was approached about 'Immortals,' but that was soon quashed. As you know if you've seen the movie, there's not one comparison to be drawn [between 'Immortals' and 'Clash of the Titans']. Maybe the one, that it's Greek mythology, but apart from that, they're two very different films with two very different stories. So not really, no. There was a slight worry, but then I met Tarsem Singh, and Tarsem is an amazing salesman. He sold me the movie so quickly, I was ready to tear his arm off to say yes.
What did he say that got you so excited?
He said a lot. The man can talk. That's one thing you can say about Tarsem, he's a man of a lot of words, and that's great. He's a very fun man to be around. It was just his vision, his overall vision for the movie and the concept of the gods being young or at least looking young. That brought a challenge to my character. I'm obviously a father and a king, so that was a really interesting angle that Tarsem wanted to take, and very intriguing. It's probably the first time a young man has ever played Zeus in modern history.
We're more used to seeing someone like Liam Neeson as Zeus in 'Clash of the Titans,' with the long beard.
Yes, exactly and Laurence Olivier, the traditional idea of what you think of as Zeus and obviously we're breaking all those clichés in this movie. Tarsem's argument is, if you're a god and you have all the power in the world, why would you want to be old? Why wouldn't you just keep yourself young, in great physical shape, being able to fight if you needed to? And I thought, "I can do that, I can see that." And my charge was just channeling all the other aspects of Zeus, being a king, being thousands of years old, and all of those aspects which, as an actor was a real challenge.
The gods in 'Immortals' are in great shape, but they're not as massively buff as you might expect. Is that part of Tarsem's vision, that they're more vulnerable and able to be killed?
Well, Henry was in insane shape. The thing about the gods is that they have these immense powers and I think that was something Tarsem wanted to use, that they were like superheroes, they can fly to earth and they can fight at immense speeds, there was that that was interesting. I don't think Tarsem was worried about the size of us being different, what was interesting, was that when the gods come to earth, they're human sized, which in a way I think as an audience member, you can relate much better to a "god" in inverted commas.
Are there more challenges filming in 3D?
Not really. It's a little bit slower, I've done it, I think five times now.
Is that some kind of record among modern actors?
I don't know. [Laughs] Maybe I should call the Guinness Book of World Records and inquire. It's just a little bit slower. But nothing, from the acting point of view, it doesn't really change much. And on big movies, like the one I'm on now ['The Hobbit'] as you can imagine, there's a lot of prep and setting up and things like that so it's part of the package of being on a movie set, things don't move very fast. So 3D slows things down. But not much, not essentially. [See our earlier interview where Evans talks about learning archery for his role as Bard the Bowman.]
So you're learned to fence for 'Three Musketeers' and how to use a bow and arrow for 'The Hobbit.' You're becoming quite deadly.
Oh yeah, I could find a weapon here. [Looks around the Four Seasons hotel room.] I'm very handy with the sword or even a chain in, as in 'Immortals.' I pick up a big old chain and use that as a weapon in one scene.
Speaking of 'The Three Musketeers,' do you agree with Milla Jovovich that Summit didn't publicize the movie enough?
I had a fantastic time on that film. I got on a bus in London and my face was on the side of that last week, so I was quite happy with that. I don't comment on other people's opinion. I was very happy and I had a great time on it. Summit is great.
You're making these huge movies, do you ever long to do a little indie?
I do little indies all the time! I've got 'No One Lives' coming up next year. I play a psychopath in that. [Laughs] I'm mixing it up, keeping it fresh for the viewer and for myself. I did 'The Raven,' also, which just got picked up by Relativity. I play a detective in Baltimore, 1849, so it's a fictionalized account of the last five days of Edgar Allan Poe's life. And I play a detective who uses Poe to catch a killer who's inspired by his works.
It looks great.
The trailer is great, right? I was so proud of it, I think they've done a really great job. It has the essence of 'Seven,' mixed with 'Sherlock Holmes,'mixed with 'Sleepy Hollow.' That's how I felt when I watched it. We shot shot it in Eastern Europe, in Serbia and Budapest and some of the locations we worked on were just incredible. I think Baltimore will be proud.
'Immortals' is in theaters Friday, 'The Raven' comes out March 9, 2012 and 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' opens in Dec. 2012.
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