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Immortals – Luke Evans on Greek gods and Hobbits

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Immortals - Luke Evans
Zeus (Luke Evans), leader of the gods © 2011 War of the Gods

After a successful career on stage and screen in England, Luke Evans became internationally known with his role of the charismatic god Apollo in the blockbuster Clash of the Titans. He was so good in fact he’s now portraying the Greek god Zeus in the new movie Immortals.

Overseeing the world, Zeus refuses to interfere in stopping King Hyperion’s (Mickey Rouke) brutal army, as they pillage and destroy Greece, in search of the Titans, who has lay dormant for centuries. But once they are awakened, Zeus and the other gods wage battle against them.

We spoke with Luke at the press day for the movie about portraying a god and of his new role of Bard in the most anticipated movie in decades, The Hobbit.

As an actor how do you play Zeus?

Immortals - Luke Evans
Zeus (Luke Evans) © 2011 War of the Gods

For me, when I read a script if I don’t buy it the first time I read it, then it’s not for me.

You’re right, this film is from another world, it’s a different place, it’s Godlike, but the story, the narrative drew me in.

Were you a fan of mythology as a child?

I loved the Ray Harryhausen movies, Clash of the Titan, Jason and the Argonauts, that was my first introduction to it. And when you take on a job, whatever it’s about, you start becoming very interested in it, and ever since the film I’ve learnt an awful lot about Zeus’ journey and the stories behind his character.

How God-like do you have to become when you’re playing the ultimate Greek God?

There is an element where you have to believe what you’re doing. I had to go to that place and I had to channel being a father, a king, an authoritarian and somebody who is thousands of years old. So yeah, you have to get yourself to that place, you’ve got to believe it. We were very lucky, we had incredible sets.

It was green screen behind them, but we were working on amazing sets which really helps to get you in the place you need to be.

What was the experience like shooting this movie?

The gods on Mount Olympus © 2011 War of the Gods
Theseus (Henry Cavill) looses his armour to fight the enermy © 2011 War of the Gods

It was enjoyable but thoroughly hard work. We disappeared for four month into Montreal and did our job, and now the fruits of our labor is on show and it’s a proud moment. I’m really proud of this film and what I’ve done in it. I love that feeling and I try to hold onto that feeling of being like, ‘Oh my God, that’s me.’

It’s a great time to be you – with Immortals opening and The Hobbit coming up – what have you done to deserve all this?

Who knows? Live a good life, that’s all, and hope you have your moment. I waited a long time for mine and I’ve worked very hard, so it feels like all the hard work was worth it. It’s a nice time being me for once!

Are you worried that with The Hobbit you will suddenly be recognized by the public and your life will change dramatically?

What’s important is keeping life real, and not losing yourself in the fact that you’re in The Hobbit. You’re still human. I got on a bus the other day with my face on the side of it (in The Three Musketeers) and not one person even knew.

Immortals - Luke Evans and Isabel Lucas
Zeus (Luke Evans) and Athena (Isabel Lucas) © 2011 War of the Gods

There is an anonymity and I think there is a way to play it, and I think you just have to hold onto that for as long as possible, but it is a funny thing to think that maybe one day you won’t be able to walk down the street without someone coming up to you and asking for an autograph.

That is a strange thing to think of, but it’s part of the job, isn’t it? It’s a high class problem to have.

Didn’t you want to stand next to that bus sign and say, ‘That’s me!’

I actually got a photograph of myself reflected in the bus door with the Musketeers above it. I’m such a geek!

Do you go back to New Zealand soon to shoot The Hobbit?

I do, in three weeks time. Back for another block, then we break for Christmas and then we go back again and carry on through half of next year. It’s the longest job I’ve ever had, probably the longest job I will ever have.

What’s that experience like, ten year later here’s Peter Jackson going back to this world. That means so much to so many people.

Isabel Lucas, Stephen Dorff, Henry Cavill, Luke Evans and Daniel Sharman
Athena (Isabel Lucas), Stavros (Stephen Dorff), Theseus (Henry Cavill), Zeus (Luke Evans) and (Daniel Sharman) © 2011 War of the Gods

Oh, it does. It means so much to me as well. I was a huge fan of Lord of the Rings and I heard that Peter was doing it before I was even offered the role and for me it felt like, ‘This is how it should be.’ It’s Peter’s creation.

Arriving you feel like you’re arriving to a family that you’re being inaugurated into. The Jackson’s and everybody that surrounds them are great people. He works with a team that has worked with him for his whole career.

You’re in Wellington, you are on the other side of the world on this tiny little island, no one has an agenda, everybody’s there to just thoroughly relish this piece of cinematic history. It’s just very, very special.

I had a little bit of a heart flutter the first day They have this thing where they show the new actors around all the sets and I saw Bilbo’s house, and I was like, ‘F-ck, I actually walked into Bilbo’s house!’ It was the most amazing thing. I’ll never forget these moments.

I can’t wait to go back to be honest. It’s a lovely place and I’m glad I get to see New Zealand as well, because it’s an extraordinary country.