Kit gets himself fighting fit
IN his latest film, Kit Harington swaps the snow of Game of Thrones for the lavathreatened streets of Pompeii. The role required him to beef up substantially to play a 79AD gladiator and involved a restricted diet and an intense fourweek boot camp.
“I got really into the whole working- out thing in this and ended up looking a bit like that,” he said, waving to his ab- tastic Pompeii poster shot.
“It was great fun, but when it finished I wanted to go and eat quite a lot.”
His food of choice after eating just 1800 calories a day? “Pizza, it was pizza and a burger.”
Although Pompeii is Harington’s first major starring movie role, he said it wasn’t daunting to step out of the Game of Thrones ensemble. In fact, it felt like a natural progression. “One of the reasons I wanted to do Pompeii was it was a leading role in a great, big action movie and I was stepping into territory I already kind of knew,” he said.
In Pompeii, Harington plays Milo, a gladiator with nothing to lose, until he meets Cassia ( Aussie Emily Browning), who’s set to marry a corrupt Roman senator ( Kiefer Sutherland).
He says Milo has some similarities to Jon Snow, in that they’re both outcasts.
“[ But] I think Milo, he’s given up really. All he wants to do is kill people ... he’s driven by rage and bloodlust,” he said.
“Jon’s very different from that. Jon’s driven by duty and honour and he’s grown up in a castle as a nobleman.”
Before shooting on Pompeii began in Toronto, the filmmakers set about designing and meticulously creating accurate sets including an opulent villa, the Pompeii streets, the amphitheatre and the forum.
“It’s one of the great things you get to do being an actor,” Harington says.
“You’re one of those few people who can step onto a genuine Pompeii street in 79AD dressed as a gladiator. It’s fabulous.”
He said much of the film, from how the volcano exploded to Pompeiian society (“it was kind of a Las Vegas of its time”) is as realistic as possible.
Director Paul W S Anderson wanted the movie to be so realistic that he actually sent clouds of simulated smoke, dust, fire and debris over the actors during filming.
Harington said it was hard to hold those surly Jon Snow looks with ash all around him.
“There were so many outtakes where you would be trying to look stern and cool and looking like a gladiator, and a piece of ash would fly down your throat and you’d start coughing ... really horrid stuff,” he said.
“If my experience of filming is anything, then nothing is comfortable ... Maybe a Hawaiian romantic comedy might be one day.” POMPEII Opens in Village Cinemas on March 20