DAMAN Cover Story: Rupert Friend

Since Rupert has been chosen DAMAN cover of the year, I thought it was a good moment to remember this article. Posted by DAMAN. August 1, 2015.

IN COOL BLOOD. While his latest onscreen persona comes off as cold and calculating, the real-life Rupert Friend leans much more towards cool and quirky. As well as friendly, of course.

For a lot of people, it’s hard not to think of Rupert Friend as being the prim-and-proper British gentleman type, as the actor is perhaps best known for his performances as prim-and proper British gentleman characters. Most notably, he played the charming George Wickham in the 2005 movie adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” and the regal Prince Albert in “Young Victoria.” Of course, his actual acting range covers a much wider selection of character types and has rather recently expanded to include cold-blooded spies/assassins. Fans of TV series “Homeland” are, of course, familiar with his on-screen alter ego Peter Quinn, and we’ll see Friend’s take on the eponymous bald and barcoded assassin in this month’s “Hitman: Agent 47.”

Off-screen, however, Friend brings funny and gentlemanly in equal doses. The latter comes into play especially when his fiancée is concerned. The English actor, director, screenwriter and producer is currently engaged to an American athlete, actress and fashion model Aimee Mullins. Ms. Mullins, by the way, is also a whiz on prosthetic innovation and a double amputee with three Paralympic records to her name. And that’s on top of a lengthy filmography and her incredible modeling career, which includes being the muse to Alexander McQueen. If this isn’t a match made in heaven, we don’t know what is.


DA MAN: So, the scuttlebutt is that you’re also into video games, including the “Hitman” series. Well, at least “Hitman: Absolution” and, yes, we peeked at your AMA on Reddit. Now, do you feel that “Hitman: Agent 47” is a good adaptation of its source material?
Rupert Friend: I feel that it’s important to reinvent rather than be literal when interpreting existing source material. It’s not so much an adaptation as an extension of the world of Agent 47. This new film is a window into an earlier time in the life of this character.

DA: The character that you play, while definitely a good guy, earns his paycheck by offing people in cold blood. How do you manage to manifest these contrasting traits in your portrayal of him?
RF: I wouldn’t be so sure that he’s a good guy. I always thought anti-heroes were cooler than superheroes, anyway.

DA: You did a lot of your own stunts, right? Were there any particularly memorable sequences you can tell us about?
RF: Breaking a guy’s neck, with my legs, while my hands were handcuffed to a table. [Beat] Fifty-three times.

DA: Of course, we’re also starting to hear about “Barton & Charlie & Checco & Bill.” Can you give us a brief rundown about this upcoming movie you’re directing?
RF: It’s a classic story about con artists, each thinking they’re ahead of the other. At the same time, it’s also a love story about finding out what really matters. “I feel it’s important to reinvent rather than be literal when interpreting source material”

DA: While “Barton & Charlie & Checco & Bill” will be your feature directorial debut, you’ve also directed, written and produced several short films. What is it that you like the most about being behind the camera?
RF: I don’t have to wear makeup.

DA: Will directing become a bigger focus in your career from now on?
RF: Yes, I love making up stories and then writing them down. I also get excited when collaborating with other people. I’m very interested to work on new material, and not just my own.

DA: Moving on to TV, we’re now waiting for the fifth season of “Homeland” to start airing. Is there anything you can tell us about what to expect from the show this time around?
RF: It’s another reboot for “Homeland.” It’s two and a half years on, Carrie is working in the private sector, Quinn’s been in some kind of hell hole for most of the past two years. They’re all reconnected in Berlin. Days are long, fuses are short, fireworks will happen.

DA: After five seasons, what’s the best part of being on the “Homeland” cast for you?
RF: You never really know what’s going to happen next …

DA: What about the most difficult or challenging part?
RF: You never really know what’s going to happen next …

DA: A lot of people know you from titles like “Pride & Prejudice” and “The Young Victoria” where you’re always playing the role of a prim and proper gentleman. And even in your newer and more action-oriented roles, like in “Homeland” and “Hitman: Agent 47,” you tend to fit the “cultured warrior” type. Have you ever played a part that was more laidback, boisterous or all-out crazy?
RF: I wore lederhosen, danced a Bavarian jig, and coughed out my own heart in “The Continuing and Lamentable Saga of the Suicide Brothers,” which you can get on iTunes.

DA: What else do you usually do when you’re not working?
RF: I like building fires and reading, cooking, and watching movies. I also like video games, but have to be careful as I can lose days.

DA: Right now, what’s the most important thing in the world for you? And why?
RF: Aimee Mullins. As if she needed explaining.

DA: Last question: What, do you think, is your most defining trait?
RF: I don’t really know how to answer this particular question. The idea of having a “defining trait” depresses me. I do like doing funny voices though.


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