Posted by The Young Victoria Facebook page. December 4th, 2009
It seems as though you enjoy working on period pieces (The Young Victoria, Pride and Prejudice, The Libertine, The Last Legion, etc.) – what attracts you to these types of films? Do you prefer period pieces to modern day films?
I think it’s just the stories that have come my way that have interested me and in a sense there’s an element of time travel about it that I really like. Being able to really go back in time and see how people lived in other periods is really exciting for me. As different as it can be from my own experiences the better.
To prepare for the role of Prince Albert, you took dancing, calligraphy, archery lessons, and even worked with a vocal coach to capture an accurate German accent. Out of all the lessons, what did you find the most challenging to learn? What was the easiest to pick-up?
The hardest was the piano because I had to learn a piece of Shubert which Albert plays for, well he doesn’t actually play it for her, but he plays it in the movie, and that was really really hard but the most rewarding as well because when I cracked it, it was the best feeling ever, so that was the hardest. The easiest in a way actually was the archery. The guy who was teaching me was amazing and he made me my own bow and my own arrows. It came weirdly quite naturally the whole sharp shooting thing.
Do you have a favorite scene in The Young Victoria?
I really like the scene under the gazebo when she stops him from proposing or rather tells him to wait. There’s a lot unsaid when I read that scene.
What do you find most rewarding when you’re part of a film?
Really experiencing other people doing their work and I get really excited by people that are passionate by their particular job. Whether it’s painting the set or mixing the sound or whatever it might be. It’s really intriguing to me to learn how everybody else does their work and the whole comes together.
Is there anyone you would like to work with in the future?
I would like to work with Paul Thomas Anderson. I think his films are great.
Which is your favorite of his
There Will be Blood.
What other films are you currently working on now?
I just completed a movie called Georgia about the war that Georgia the country had with Russia last year. So I’ve been 7 weeks in the mountains of Georgia with the Army and playing an American war correspondent that gets captured and accused of being a spy. So, very exciting and sort of a recent event that’s still very fresh in the minds of the people that we went to try and explore.
American audiences don’t know as much about Prince Albert and Queen Victoria as British. How do you think the audiences will differ on how they take the film?
Well I wouldn’t know to speak for the audiences but to be honest I didn’t know much about them at all and I’m a fairly sort of typical, regular guy. I think there’s a few historians from both sides of the Atlantic that will know about them already but for everyone else it’s really realizing that these are two teenagers that had to negotiate this incredible political responsibility and still manage to fall in love.
@meganwest (Twitter Fan): What was the process like for learning the accent? Did they intentionally shift it from beginning to end?
Well the thing that I really was keen for was first he was a foreigner so he did have an accent, but secondly, that he was desperate to not have an accent. So I learned a German accent and then from that accent I tried to learn an English accent. If that makes sense – so that’s it’s like you’re trying really hard to fit in.
@nanandbags (Twitter Fan): What did you discover by playing prince Albert? Anything new that you didn’t know before?
I got to know a man very well who I didn’t know before and who I really really liked and would have liked to have known in real life. I suppose rather than learning something about myself I was inspired by his devotion to other people’s causes and I thought his sort of selflessness was very very inspiring.
Lieryn Barnett (Facebook Fan): It seems like there would be more pressure to play someone like Albert because people have preconceived notions of what he was like. What difficulties or challenges are involved when playing a well-known historical figure as opposed to a completely fictional character that you get create yourself?
Well I think it’s a kind of a twofold answer really because oddly enough people don’t really know what Albert was like so my job was to do him justice and to be as faithful as I could to all of the discoveries that I made about him and not skim the surface of this guy who I thought was so fascinating. That was certainly a responsibility, but, if I’m honest, I feel that responsibility about everyone that I play whether they’ve been written, made up, true, false, period, modern, futuristic, whatever. They’re all real to me.
Melody Schnetz (Facebook Fan): I majored in European Studies- German at University so I’m interested if you tried to learn German or perfect a German accent? Did you have a voice coach?
Yes, I had a fantastic voice coach who I love and also I asked the director if I could change the lines to be in German when he’s with his brother at home because it didn’t make sense to me that you would speak in English with your brother if you’re both German. He agreed that he wanted that flavor of this was a melting pot of Europe at that time, with this shifting sands of different nationalities. So we brought a German teacher in and changed some of the lines when he’s at home with servants and with his brother to give that sense of, when he leaves and goes to England it’s a foreign place and home is home.