Originally posted by Interviewly, after the Reddit’s AMA. March 2015
I’m Rupert Friend, you may know me as Quinn from HOMELAND, Agent 47 from HITMAN or Prince Albert (and other jodphur-wearing chaps…). Ask me anything!
What is it like playing such an iconic video game character like agent 47?
The guys who made the game did such an incredible job of creating a world, it was an honour to step into it for a time. The thing that struck me when I played the games was the depth of the gameplay, most of which hinged on the intelligence of the title character. That’s what drew me to him. That and the fact that he’s a total bad-ass…
Why was Quinn so quick on giving up his relationship with Carrie before it even started?
The idea of opening himself to someone, of being vulnerable, is very difficult. It’s a window which cannot stay open for long, and I think for a seemingly pretty tough guy there is actually a lot of sensitivity to being hurt there. So he went back to what he knew…
Hi Rupert, thanks for doing this Q&A. Can you tell us a little bit more about Barton & Charlie & Checco & Bill ?
I’m super passionate about this because I wrote it. I wrote it because I had the best experience directing STEVE and wanted to do it again, and was pretty sure nobody would let me direct unless I wrote it myself… It’s a movie about two con-artists, one-upping each other on a road trip while falling in love. It’s me and Emily Blunt – think The Sting, Paper Moon, and His Girl Friday. But funny.
Rupert, what’s something we’d be surprised to know about you?
I can do lots of voices. People think I am a very serious guy but what I REALLY want to do is silly voices. Monty Python, the Hearthstone characters, Mo-Ca, Animation or just walking along like I usually do!
have to admit Quinn is my first tv character crush in forever! so…what’s something you know about Quinn that we don’t know? (either something you’ve come up with on your own or something the writers/producers told you about him)
He doesn’t really like jelly.
Hi Rupert, What has been your oddest fan encounter?
It’s always odd when people ask for a photo or whatever and then it transpires they don’t actually know who you are – I got chased out of a (really good) local chicken joint by a girl who insisted I was ‘That Guy’ but couldnt elaborate (!) it went from ludicrous to RUN AWAY!! very fast.
Hey Rupert- Does Quinn do anything with his free time? Or does he just,you know,kill bad guys?
He plays a lot of Hearthstone, doesnt tell anyone about that. Makes things out of wood. Is oddly good at ice skating.
Hi, Rupert! What made you start watching Homeland in the first place, was it through word of mouth? What are some of your favorite moments or episodes from that first season? Thanks
When I was building my place, there was no heating -I was living in a building site. I used to have a sunday night ritual of sausages and Homeland and wine. I stopped watching the show when I got the job, but thinking back on it makes me feel warm and tired at the end of a hard day’s work, but it also makes me think of sausages.
Thank you for taking your time to do this! I’m a huge fan of all the stuff you’ve done so far 🙂 I have a couple of questions: 1) Given the fact that Homeland is a “political thriller” were you at all surprised by some audience members’ investment on the Carrie-Quinn dinamic? 2) After last season’s finale, can you say anything at all for what’s in store for Quinn? I heard on PaleyFest LA that Mr. Gansa and the team are already hard at work on season 5!
You know, Claire and I talked about this last year – the truth is, neither of us ever ‘played’ a romance in any of our scenes together, yet I know people felt that there was one there. That’s super interesting to me because it raises the question, do we see what we want to see? In terms of next year, i’m afraid I don’t know if Quinn will be back, but to be fair to Mr Gansa, I doubt he knows either at this stage! We don’t get scripts until very close to shooting. As in: days before…!
I thought he didn’t like donuts?
He REALLY doesn’t like waffles…
What was your favorite scene to shoot in your upcoming movie Hitman: Agent 47? Have you played any of the Hitman video games?
I just got back from doing some additional action photography on the movie with the directors of John Wick – we did some very cool stunt sequences, which I loved. I think audiences today are so smart – I want to give audiences as little ‘cheating’ as possible, so I did as many of my own stunts as I could. Re: playing Hitman, I mostly stuck to Absolution because I loved the way he moves.
If you could play anyone else on Homeland for a day, who would it be and why? You can genderbend it!
I wouldn’t play anyone else on Homeland. I would, however, love to operate the camera…which they actually let me do for a take or two on my birthday last year.
I know you’ve said you weren’t big on TV as a kid but did you ever see My So-Called Life or The X-Files growing up?
I never saw My So-Called Life, but my dad had a big crush on Gillian Anderson so I saw some of The X-Files….but for me, it was all about Quantum Leap
Are you friends with Hugh Dancy through the Homeland experience, and would you ever want to guest-star on his show- Hannibal?
Hugh is fantastic! But who do you think I should play on HANNIBAL…? I’ve never seen it.
What has been your favorite moment in Homeland so far? Where do you hope to see Quinn’s character go in the future? Oh, and what is your favorite wine (or beer or both!)?
Wine: bordeaux or barolo.
Beer: Guinness if it’s cold out. Alhambra from the bottle if it’s warm out.
Do you and Claire talk a lot before a scene or mainly with the director?
Before a scene…? neither. it’s all pretty instinctual…we don’t even rehearse. we pretty much just go for it.
Any pressure in playing the lead in the new hitman movie and possibly launching a franchise?
Of course. This is a beloved character, and I want to do a good job. But: I don’t want to do an impersonation of anything. So, this is my interpretation of a very bad-ass guy who exists in a very cool world designed by some smart folks who love the game and this character. I think it’s important to recognise that films and video games are two different mediums. I recently read something that Neil Gaiman said concerning adaptations, in that it was important to “translate” and not “transliterate”… and I think he is absolutely right.
Thanks for taking the time to do the AMA Have you seen the other Hitman movie? If you have, do you believe the reincarnation Agent 47 takes the character in a new direction or refines the attempt the first movie made? Or even, if you’ve played the original games/know about them, is it comparable to the source material in any way? And as a hobbyist writer myself, what is it that you write?
I havent seen the other Hitman movie as I wanted to keep my first impressions tied to the game and my imagination. I would find it very hard to ‘unsee’ someone else’s version of a character.
How does Claire’s hair stay so neatly parted??
It’s on Xanax
What is the world’s biggest misconception about Brits?
That they’re uptight. Get ’em drunk…
Rupert, do you have any pet peeves or guilty pleasures? What are they?
Pleasures shouldn’t be guilty. How long have you got?!
How did you feel having to shout at a young child in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas?
Horrible. He was a great kid. We were friends so he kept laughing through the takes so we had to ramp it up. Before all that though, he and I had agreed that there was a Bad Guy who lived on set who was simply Not Rupert. By keeping them separate I hope he wasn’t too upset. It’s only a movie, not worth a psychological scarring!
Would you Rupert be able to do QUINN’S job?????
Would Quinn be able to do MY job?????
if you weren’t already the hottest most intriguing actor/director/writer, what would be your day job out of all the roles/professions you’ve played (ie badass cia assassin, prison psych, prince, nazi, badass robot assassin, etc.)?
Badass robot prince liberating Auschwitz
Hi Rupert, what’s your favorite film?
Streetcar Named Desire and Indiana Jones and The Addams Family
What are you the most looking forward to do when you will direct your movie?
You know what I REALLY love? Working with the most fantastic, talented group of people and seeing it all come together. It’s like having the best ingredients and bringing them into an amazing meal. And then eating it. With wine and a fire.
What was your reaction to reading the finale for S4 and what did you think of the overall arc for Quinn and Carrie this season?
I was surprised, but that’s the thing about these writers, and about working in TV generally – you genuinely dont know what your character is going to be doing next week. Like, I really really dont like offal, and they might make Quinn LOVE it, and then I’d be F**KED right??
Do you have any favorite Hayao Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli films?
LOVED Spirited Away, can’t wait to watch more
Who’s perspective is Hitman: Agent 47 from?
It’s from yours, but it’s not a ‘back-of-head’ movie (!). Plus there’s a pretty major twist which shifts your perspective when you least expect it…
Do you have any writing advice?
Ernest Hemingway — ‘All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’
In the old U.S. phonetic alphabet (from 1941), “Peter” and “Queen” are code words for “P” and “Q”. Any idea if the writers used that to come up with Peter Quinn’s (legal) name? Is it safe for me to know the answer? 😉
That’s fascinating. I really hope that is the etymology of his name! My only ‘P & Q’ references are a line of ferries, and an exercise done by ladies of my grandmother’s generation to firm up the under-chin, in which one says ‘Peeeeee!’ and then ‘KyUUUUUU!’ as forcefully as possible. You’re safe, don’t worry.
Agent 47 vs Agent 007 who would kick whose ass?
I don’t know, but Bond would get the girl
The Hitman games have quite a passionate and vocal fanbase, many of whom seem to be in despair about the fact 47 isn’t completely bald or that the barcode is in a different place in this movie. Do you have any reassurances to those folks that this is a faithful adaptation? Thanks for doing this IAMA by the way. I always found Quinn to be the most fascinating character on Homeland.
This is our interpretation of a much-loved character. To me a ‘faithful adaptation’ is very subjective. I prefer to think in terms of spirit, rather than dogged obedience, when interpreting pretty much anything. Which Bond is the most ‘faithful’? Which Batman? Opening conversations like that is one of the best bits about making films. Passionate fans are great, they’re the best, because their responses are passionate. I would say, get passionate one way or the other, but see it before you knock it. Applies to pretty much everything IMO.
Love Homeland so much sir, just curious were you teased as a kid about your last name and where there any funny ones you remember ?
my LAST name?? My first name’s RUPERT FOR CHRISSAKES!!!
Why did you keep the picture of your ex-girlfriend and the baby in Charles dickens book ” great expectations ” ?
Quinn did it so it didn’t get crumpled. On another note, that book was a total favourite of mine too, and one of my childhood nicknames was Pip. The writers had no idea..
Do you have a favorite Monty Python sketch? (not sure if that is possible, they are all hilarious)
I love it when the Roman guard corrects the graffiti writer in Life of Brian. And spare a shekel for an old ex leper. and that Terry Jones gives BJs to all the soldiers. and ‘we’re all individuals!’ and the People’s Front of Judea. Genius
How was filming Starred up? some of the scenes were very intense to watch. Such a good film though!
Loved it. The director did not allow makeup or costume in the room inbetween takes, just the camera and us, and we were free to improvise and it got pretty heated! I loved working with Jack O Connell too.
So, since you prompted the question – Boxers or Briefs for Quinn? Boxers or Briefs for you?
Commando for Quinn. Boxer briefs for me!
Rupert Bear vs. Paddington Bear, who would win?
Rupert Bear is a pacifist.
Hi Rupert! How did it feel to play the iconic charming bad boy Mr Wickham – prototype for all future bad boys after him? Were you afraid that such an iconic early starring role might stereotype you for all roles to come?
Here’s the thing – you don’t actually SEE Wickham being a ‘bad boy’, it’s reported. Interesting example of the difference between what is ‘played’ and what the audience infers. In terms of subsequent roles, Prince Albert was pretty damn decent!
Love Quinn in Homeland, if I hadn’t watched Pride and Prejudice, there’d be no doubt in my mind that you were American. How do you you pull of the american accent with such ease (or so it seems to us viewers?) P.S – Just finished reading ‘I shall note not hate’ based on your recommendation from twitter, loved it. Thank you.
Isn’t that a great book? Doctors don’t ask to see passports before treating sick people or delivering children…
Hey Rupert, I don’t really follow many actors (literally or in the general sense) but you’re one of the few actors who when I hear you’re starring in something, I’ll definitely go to see it. From my fairly minimal knowledge of professional acting, in everything I’ve seen you in you radiate so much sincerity and it’s so great to watch and I have this resounding feeling that you’re a really interesting and lovely human and your general existence is a pleasant thing for mankind. QUESTION: (Gotta get to that bit, right?) I’m studying towards my Politics degree at the moment and I would love to go into the more creative side of getting certain political and social messages across to a wide audience, be that via film, tv or any other artistic/visual medium. Having transitioned from acting, writing and now into directing, do you have any advice on how to forge a realistic pathway from academia and into that sort of creative environment where shows like Homeland are made and real issues can be addressed in a more ‘consumable’ way?
I’m probably the wrong person to ask – but it sounds to me like you want to get into storytelling. Good luck and no halfways~!
Why didn’t you go completely bald for the role? Is your growth too strong or was this an aesthetic decision from the director/producers?
I love the idea that my growth is too strong..>! RE the bald thing in this movie: our 47 is 15 years younger than the one in the game – I wanted to reflect that, and make this character real to me. Shaving one’s head to the skin, when you have hair, felt an odd thing to do; buzzing it with clippers felt practical and less high-maintenance than Bic’ing it every day. This is an assassin, not someone overly obsessed with daily grooming. Also – this is a master of stealth. You try blending in with a shiny head and a red tie in a non video game environment…
I’m a American Actor why are you guys taking all of our roles? I’m SERIOUSLY considering working on my british accent and going into read for american roles and then when I read for the role I would speak in my normal american accent–good idea?
First up, you’re gonna wanna ditch the idea of a ‘British accent’ – that’s like saying a Texan talks like a Minnesotan, and the Welsh and Scots will be furious that you lumped them in with the English!
Would you rather fight 100 rabbit sized pakistanis or 1 pakistani-sized rabbit?
How big is the Pakistani?
Would you rather fight 100 duck sized 47s or 1 47 sized duck ?
Is the big duck bald? As in, ACTUALLY BALD? Or just closecropped. Like 1 millimeter of hair. CHEATER!