‘‘ He was happy to say ‘ let’s never mind what is in the script, never mind what we’ve planned. Look at where the light is, look at what the actors are doing, look at what the horses are doing let’s just shoot it’,’’ he says.
‘‘ I just thought that was amazing and the efficiency of it was really breathtaking.’’
Though learning a thing or two from Spielberg could hardly be considered surprising, Hiddleston says he managed to pick up a few tips and tricks from the horses in the film too.
‘‘ Sometimes the horses are really just being horses and it would make you feel like you weren’t being true enough and I found that quite inspiring as a lesson in my work,’’ he says.
‘‘ Actually it’s all about being real and trying to be as authentic as possible.’’
Hiddleston says working with the horses was one of the most extraordinary film experiences of his life because they do ‘‘ the stuff you can’t write’’.
‘‘ Horses by their very nature are completely spontaneous animals and part of the magic of cinema is that quite often the best shots or the action of the best shots are completely accidental,’’ he says.
‘‘ Also, they tend to break wind a lot.’’
With his career now kicking into high gear, Hiddleston has reprised his role as Loki for the 2012 Marvel film The
Avengers, which is directed by Joss Whedon of TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer fame. ‘‘ Joss Whedon, I really take my hat off to him,’’ Hiddleston says.
‘‘ He managed to write the tightest, most complicated, funny, actionpacked, spectacular screenplay I’ve ever read and then he shot it like a dream. ‘‘ It was just such a fun, easy, good- humoured shoot.’’
Hiddleston says the character of Loki, the Norse God of Mischief,
is all the more crazy in the film about a team of superheroes assembled to protect the Earth from the threat of extraterrestrial forces, which is set to hit Australian cinemas at the end of April.
‘‘ It was sort of like seeing an old friend, an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while and then you get to go off on another adventure with him,’’ he says.
‘‘ He is altogether a more malevolent, more psychotic, more powerful and more sinister character and also having a lot more fun.’’
Although Hiddleston remains fairly tight- lipped about the details of the plot, he does reveal that he suffered some excruciating pain in his elbow after having to throw himself on the floor for a scene with The Hulk.
‘‘ When you see the amazing action sequences between different superheroes you know like it’s really us, it’s really me,’’ he says.
‘‘ That was exciting but after a while we did start to compare bumps and bruises.’’
Often tagged as ‘‘ one to watch’’, Hiddleston’s latest projects could very well shoot him to star status, but this doesn’t seem to have inflated the modest actor’s sense of self.
‘‘ I’m quite excited about what’s around the corner. It’s a strange thing, as actors, we never quite know,’’ he says.
‘‘ When you’re living your own life you never see what it looks like from the outside.
‘‘ I feel like I’m just at the beginning, I’m 30 years old and I hope that there are many, many, many more parts and roles and characters I will play and be fun for me and hopefully be fun for people to watch as well.’’
Now showing Village Cinemas
‘‘ Actually it’s all about being real and trying to be as authentic as possible’’
WAR HORSE ( M)
Director: Steven Spielberg ( The Adventures of Tintin)
Stars: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, Niels Arestrup, Toby Kebbell
Saddle up for schmaltzy ride
IF WAR Horse was a cake, it would be marketed with the tag ‘‘ just like Grandma used to make’’.
In this case, Grandma’s old- time apron is being worn by the veteran Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
And that sugary, buttery confection being lumped on to your plate?
It’s not so good for you if you swallow the lot. Best to be picky. The most palatable ingredients of
War Horse can be traced back to the original recipe set down in a beloved children’s book written by English author Michael Morpurgo more than 20 years ago.
There is a young British boy named Albert. There is a horse called Joey. There is a close bond between the two. Then along comes a global conflict to seemingly sever the friendship for ever.
Tragically, Albert is too young to follow his treasured steed to the muddy, bloody killing fields of Europe at the onset of World War I.
Thankfully, Joey is too smart, too lucky and too determined to fall in battle, lest there be the slightest chance he will be reunited one day with his mentor, trainer and best friend.
The simple charm of Morpurgo’s story is intrinsically linked to his choice of narrator – the reader shares this remarkable experience from the horse’s point of view.
Unfortunately, Spielberg dunks the best elements of the Morpurgo book into a swampy bog of sentiment and they rarely surface in an identifiable fashion.
The decision not to tell the story via Joey might have been the right one, had a strong narrative voice been developed in its place.
Instead, War Horse is a curiously disconnected affair. The human characters are very thinly drawn, and speak as if reciting excerpts from a fairytale.
As Albert, newcomer Jeremy Irvine cops the worst of the piecemeal scripting. He is a figure who is difficult to relate to, let alone empathise with.
Other better- credentialled actors, such as Peter Mullan and Emily Watson ( playing Albert’s parents), also are reduced to caricatures while Spielberg applies yet another desperate manipulative squeeze on the audience. Yes, the production values of War
Horse are indeed faultless – as they always are in a Spielberg film, and there are moments of undeniable beauty, brutality and pure feeling.
An astonishing sequence where a distraught Joey gallops between the British and German frontlines – becoming further enmeshed in a crucifix of barbed wire with each stride – is as iconically mesmerising as anything Spielberg has ever committed to film.
But the forced emotions in play for the majority of War Horse, as evidenced by the dreadful music score by composer John Williams, are just too much of a mawkish thing.
Now showing Village Cinemas