Eksklusivt Interview: Sir Anthony Hopkins om Michael Bays Transformers: The Last Knight

I forbindelse med udgivelsen af Michael Bays ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ bringer Filmskribenten.dk stolt et interview med Sir Anthony Hopkins, der har rollen som Sir Edmond Burton, en britisk robot-ekspert. Han forbereder i filmen Mark Wahlbergs karakter, Cade Yeager, på menneskehedens ultimative showdown med kæmperobotterne. Her taler han blandt andet om sit samarbejde med Michael Bay, den store produktion og favorit-robot.

- ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ udkommer på 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray og dvd den 9. november.

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What was it that first attracted you to The Transformers?

Michael Bay, really. We met at a hotel for breakfast, way back. And I gathered from that very first meeting that he had the whole film already in his head. I mean, he knows all about that computer stuff and will concentrate for hours just on the reflection of light off their steel to make them look real. I thought, this is going to be interesting.

He then sent me the script and told me he wanted me to play a man called Sir Edmond Burton. I said, “Sir Edmond?” Okay… He said, “Well, you’re a knight.” I said, “Okay… Is he a lord?” He said, “Yeah, an aristocrat.” I said, “Okay…” So I got the script, read it, and it was actually very, very good. I thought, I like this.

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How did you proceed?

Like everything else – learn the part; learn all the lines. But what I do know about directors like Michael Bay… You know, they have reputations for being tough. Like Oliver Stone or any of the great ones. But tough in a good way. They’re experienced and tough about what they want. And I respect that. And therefore you, the actor, you have to know what you’re doing. You have to be there ready to go.

What was the first day of shooting like?

We filmed out at this big country house. Michael came to greet me. “Hi-How-You-Doing-Okay- Great!” He talks really fast – like Speedy Gonzalez… But, you know, I’m not short of intelligence. I’ve got a couple of synapsis still working… I go in and Michael’s there and the whole crew is set up. “Can I call you Tony?” he said, “Yes, call me whatever you want to call me.”… I think he got the message quickly that I’m a team player. I’ll do whatever the director tells me to. And then they begin to trust you.

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What can you tell us about your character?

Well, I can’t tell you much… He’s an English lord, an aristocrat whose lineage goes back a thousand years, ancient families and all that – back to the court of King Arthur. And he knows that the Transformers come from that period in time and that they’re now going to take over the earth. That there’s going to be a battle with the humans.

How does the film compare in scale to your recent projects?

Oh, this is a big, big film. It’s huge. We were at Stonehenge, Blenheim Palace… We were at Downing Street – that’s never been done before. But he can get in there. Down the Mall, outside of Buckingham Palace, racing in a car with a stunt driver… Yes, I think it’s one of the biggest I’ve ever done. It’s a big, big movie.

What was it like working with Mark Wahlberg?

He’s really terrific. Excellent actor. And very quiet, actually. You know, comes on set prepared and does it. He also likes to improvise and I like that too. Honestly, when you have a good script, and this was an excellent script, the rest is easy. If a director doesn’t want you to improvise because he values his writing that much, then fine. Just learn the script. But a really good director has the capacity to say, “Okay, let’s kick this about.”

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What was the biggest challenge making the film?

No challenge. No challenge at all. It’s never a challenge. My philosophy is don’t take yourself so damn seriously. I guess I’m, as they would say today, ‘cool’, about it… I can’t take it too seriously.

Do you have a favorite Transformers movie?

I love the ones with Shia LaBeouf, especially the very first one I saw because I didn’t know what to expect. The others with Mark Wahlberg too. I’ve seen all of them now. But I can’t really pick one. I actually watched them all again before we started filming just to be fresh. I really think they’re terrific.

Do you have a favorite Autobot?

No, not really. But kids would ask me that when we were in London, when we were filming on The Mall, near Buckingham Palace. You know, all these kids were there and they wanted photographs with me. And they would ask me: “Do you know Bumblebee?” I’d say, “Yeah, very well. We had breakfast this morning!” “Yeah?”

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Michael Bay is known for favoring practical stunts over CGI whenever possible. How did you find that aspect of it?

Love it. I remember going down The Mall that day in one of the cars – we had this great American stunt driver. He tells me we’re going to go 75 mph through Admiralty Arch, which was like going through the eye of a needle in a rocket. And I just thought, well, god, I’ve had a good life… They call action. The car roars.  And the camera is on me as we go through the arch. And then we do it again. I just thought, please don’t ask for a third take, that’s pushing your luck…

What kind of film are we ultimately in store for?

I think it could be one of the best ones and one of his best films. It should be good fun.

– ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ udkommer på 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray og dvd den 9. november.