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*Le sigh* Kids, we were once again graced to be in the presence of the lovely and charming Jim Sturgess.  Jim dropped by to discuss his role as an IRA informer in the thriller, Fifty Dead Men Walking.  With Oscar-winner and Peer of the Realm, Sir Ben Kingsley in the room, I was able to remain upright.


Fifty Dead Men Walking

Jim Sturgess and Sir Ben Kingsley


The Lady Miz Diva:  There’ve been so many films about the troubles in Ireland. What made you choose to join this one?

Ben Kingsley:  Well, Kari {Skogland}, she’s a really brilliant director and like many great, thrilling events, plays or films, if you set them within a specific context, they’ll really take off.  If you set them in a context that’s invented, then you’re into generalising and guessing.  But we knew how tight the constraints were on those two guys at that time; we knew the terrible corners that they could get themselves into and none of this film is fictionalised.  This is great thriller, anyway, and this is a great relationship between two guys, anyway:  You could set it in the Bronx, you could set it in a drug gang war, you could set it in any context, but to choose this amazing sectarian, politically violent context was really a stroke of genius on Kari’s part.  And therefore, we lived in the perfect environment to tell this story about two guys caught in this impossibly gray area, where sometimes you can’t really see where the enemy is, or who the enemy is.  So, it’s very specific and the specifics helped us and fed us and helped our characters enormously and we were in Belfast, which was great.


LMD:  There’s a lot of physical action from both of you in the film, is there anything you remember that was challenging about that?

BK:  That ambulance chase for Jim was extremely uncomfortable and cold, He was wrapped in hot water bottles and blankets. {To Jim Sturgess} You’ve probably forgotten all this, haven’t you?

Jim Sturgess:  No, I remember it very well.  It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  I mean, they basically strapped my head, my shoulders, my arms, my torso, my thighs and my ankles, and so I couldn’t move for hours.  I was stuck there and I had this sticky, cold blood poured all over me…

BK:  I remember the special effects guy; a rather burly Northern Irishman was extremely brutal to Jim.  He was knocking him about.  You were treated like a piece of meat…

JS:  I was, yeah.

BK:  And I was the one saying, “Ooh, be careful. Watch his head.”  It brought out the very caring aspect of my character.  I was actually looking after him on the stretcher.

JS:  You get this moment where you suddenly go, “Actually, I wanna get out of this now.”  I was there for I dunno how long, but then suddenly I decided, ‘Shit, I actually wanna get out of this,’ but you can’t move.  Then I had to stay in it for another hour or so.  It was tough.


LMD:  After the screening I really wondered why exactly the film's subject, Martin McGartland, chose to be a double agent?  There are many sides presented in the film.  What do you think drove him to it, Jim?

JS:  Yeah, I had the same questions, y’know?  And that was what really kind of interested me in the character.  It just seemed I couldn’t find the answer, y’know?  I couldn’t work out if he was just doing it for money, whether he was doing it for this moral high ground, or if it was just the thrill of this underground world for a kid just coming from Belfast, from a poor part of town.  And I think it was all of the above; I think it just wasn’t as black and white as that.  I think it was so many reasons of why he wanted to get caught and put his life on the line and step up to the plate, as well.


LMD:  Fergus seems to portray himself as a surrogate father which seems part of the lure for Martin to work for him, but then he’ll pull back and be businesslike and cold.  I wondered how you balanced that, Mr. Kingsley?

BK:  I think that was in the script and I think also what’s wonderful about film is you can create an emotional relationship simply by what lenses you use.  You really can, it’s all about lenses.  There are times when you’re more vulnerable in close up, or you’re more vulnerable in long shot and I think Kari monitored that relationship and literally allowed the observer to come in and then pull back by her choice of lenses.  I think she’s a brilliant director.  We didn’t have to address that problem, which I think would have been a distraction to us to constantly monitor whether we are being too much of a father and son, or not and artificially pull back or pull in.  No, it’s very much in the script, very much under her guidance and also we depended on and trusted each other as actors, so that dynamic was one that I think in the editing has the perfect movements.


LMD:  Jim, one of your upcoming projects is a horror film?

JS:  Yeah, a film called Heartless, it’s kind of psychological, weird, it’s a very strange film.  It’s all set in East London and it’s done. I think it comes out in February time.



~ The Lady Miz Diva

August 17th, 2009




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Exclusive Photos by LMD

Film stills courtesy of Phase 4 Films



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