Taron the ex­plorer

The joy of the job for the Kings­man star is its di­ver­sity

The Gympie Times - - SCREEN LIFE - SCREEN LIFE with The In­de­pen­dent’s Clarisse Loughrey

NOT ev­ery­one’s 20s in­evitably play out like the HBO sit­com-wor­thy chaos of a true quar­ter-life cri­sis, but I’d al­ways half-as­sumed the pres­sures of fame and artis­tic legacy some­how made those feel­ings un­avoid­able in any young ac­tor’s mind.

Ac­tors, in some ways, live with two iden­ti­ties: them­selves, and the idea of them­selves that they build up on screen. We spend our twen­ties in a half-blind panic as we try to so­lid­ify our sense of self, but to do so at the same time as know­ing that ev­ery role cho­sen, ev­ery char­ac­ter played, might for­ever de­ter­mine how we’re seen by of thou­sands of peo­ple seems an in­sur­mount­able task.

If Taron Eger­ton – the 27-year-old ac­tor who first shot to fame as Eg­gsy in 2015’s Kings­man: The Se­cret Ser­vice – feels even a flicker of that fore­bod­ing, that small inkling of a cri­sis of self, then he’s done an in­cred­i­ble job of not let­ting those feel­ings sur­face as he dis­cusses his ca­reer with an ab­so­lute, calm sense of as­sured­ness, a roll-with-the-punches at­ti­tude of some­one who is merely fo­cused on the thrill of op­por­tu­nity.

“I want to have fun,” he says.

“I’m not in­ter­ested in be­ing a se­ri­ous ac­tor be­cause I think it’s bor­ing, and I think we’ve got plenty of them. So I like to do stuff that has a sense of hu­mour, and stuff that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily take it­self too se­ri­ously. But equally I’m also now yearn­ing to ex­plore the dark side of life a lit­tle bit.

“The joy of the job is the di­ver­sity and the va­ri­ety – and, if you’re lucky enough, to have the free­dom to do dif­fer­ent things. I don’t like the idea of a box.”

Eger­ton’s ex­plo­rative ap­proach to his work is ev­i­dent: his roles are var­ied, in­ter­est­ing, but not de­lib­er­ately poised to show range like some­body at­tempt­ing to thrust their port­fo­lio in ev­ery­one’s face.

Fol­low­ing Kings­man, he went from play­ing a lover of Tom Hardy’s Ron­nie Kray – ba­si­cally a high-pitched laugh on legs – in Le­gend to the en­dear­ing buf­foon­ery of one of the UK’s most beloved un­der­dogs, Ed­die the Ea­gle.

“If some­thing ap­peals, some­thing ap­peals,” Eger­ton says. “I don’t think I’m par­tic­u­larly cal­cu­lated about it. I know I have an alarm bell that goes off in my head where some­thing feels like it has no cre­ative in­tegrity to it at all, and it’s just about mak­ing money. I’m not in­ter­ested in go­ing and do­ing a big ac­tion-ad­ven­ture romp with noth­ing to say about be­ing a hu­man

be­ing. Kings­man’s be­come quite a lu­cra­tive thing, but it’s also a big art house movie in a lot of ways. It de­fies the pa­ram­e­ters within which those big bud­get com­mer­cial films nor­mally op­er­ate.”

Eger­ton then en­tered new ter­ri­tory with Sing, mark­ing both the first time he has lent his voice to an an­i­mated fea­ture, and the first mu­si­cal pro­duc­tion he’s fea­tured in.

“I didn’t go to drama school to be a mu­si­cal theatre per­former,” he says.

In Kings­man’s highly an­tic­i­pated se­quel The Golden Cir­cle, how does the film’s host of A-list Amer­i­cans (Chan­ning Ta­tum, Jeff Bridges, Ju­lianne Moore, Halle Berry, Pe­dro Pas­cal) af­fect what feels like such a quintessen­tially Bri­tish block­buster?

“I think it’s still got that quintessential Bri­tish­ness and it’s still about what be­ing a gen­tle­men is, and we’re still in those beau­ti­fully tai­lored suits,” Eger­ton re­sponds.

“As much as a large por­tion of the film is spent ex­plor­ing what the States­men are – the Amer­i­can ver­sion – by the end, it’s very much the Kings­men who are sav­ing the day again.

“So I think it’s very faith­ful to its iden­tity and what Matthew (Vaughn, di­rec­tor) es­tab­lished in the first one, but equally I think he recog­nises the im­por­tance of there be­ing a new world to ex­plore. I would never pre­sume to know how his mind works, but I think he knew that the au­di­ence would have that hunger for stuff they hadn’t seen, which was what was fun about the first one, this world of Kings­man open­ing up be­fore them. So in this one, we dis­cover the States­men and we didn’t even know they ex­isted, and it’s a whole new world to ex­plore again.” Kings­man: The Golden Cir­cle opens on Thurs­day.

PHOTO: GILES KEYTE

Taron Eger­ton in a scene from the movie Kings­man: The Golden Cir­cle.

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