SAM CLAFLIN SPEAKS

The Jour­ney’s End star re­flects on the hor­ror of war

Empire (Australasia) - - On.Screen -

ON... LIFE IN THE TRENCHES

My dad is some­what ob­sessed with his­tory, espe­cially the First and Sec­ond World Wars. I thought I had a good un­der­stand­ing of what it was about from watch­ing doc­u­men­taries grow­ing up — as an ac­tor you want to say, “I know what it felt like to be in trenches.” But of course we don’t have a clue. But film­ing in the mud and with the weather be­ing very un­pre­dictable, it does help you to imag­ine.

ON... HIS FAM­ILY CON­NEC­TION

I’ve [looked into] my fam­ily his­tory and found my great-great grand­fa­ther was in a bat­tal­ion posted to the Bat­tle of Sain­tquentin, which is what we’re de­pict­ing. I’m now try­ing to find out his ex­act move­ments.

ON... HIS PREPA­RA­TION

The script we’re deal­ing with is dif­fer­ent from the play. It’s taken from the book, so [my char­ac­ter’s] fleshed out a lit­tle more. I’ve been for­tu­nate enough to ex­plore both a good cap­tain and a good man, as well as the bro­ken man you prob­a­bly know from the play. The al­co­hol is, I don’t know, his teddy bear, al­most. I’ve worked out a diary of how drunk he is out of 10 in each scene.

ON... SPEAK­ING TO VET­ER­ANS

We were for­tu­nate to sit down with a few vets who suf­fer from PTSD. Cer­tainly for my char­ac­ter it’s use­ful. Stan­hope is suf­fer­ing from com­bat stress re­ac­tion — he’s in the thick of it and re­act­ing badly, which is why he turns to the drink. One of the guys we spoke to had lost a leg. He said, “That’s easy. Peo­ple can see it. They can re­late. It’s this fuck­ing thing up here I can’t talk about.” They push their loved ones away. They were three of the heav­i­est and most mov­ing hours of my life.

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